Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Patti Smith to headline new one-day festival in London

The godmother of punk will top the bill at Higher Ground Festival in July

By Joe Goggins

Patti Smith performs in Finland, 2007
Smith returns to the UK for the first time since being awarded the keys to New York City. (Photo: Beni Köhler/Wikimedia Commons)

Patti Smith will headline a new one-day festival in London in July.

The legendary punk rocker will top the bill at Higher Ground festival on July 24, at a site set on the slopes of Alexandra Palace and its surrounding park. Joining her on the line-up are Nadine Shah, Spelling, Connie Constance, Nabihah Iqbal, and Joviale. 

“Higher Ground is a one-day festival with an artistic scope,” said organisers Serious in a statement, “including singer-songwriters, genre defying acts and contemporary sounds, taking a wider and fresh approach on music Serious presented though the years.”

The statement concluded: “In addition to powerful live sets from leading international names, the event will feature DJ sets, workshops, talks and readings, and the audience will enjoy a pleasurable festival atmosphere with delicious food, bars and activity areas.” Earlybird tickets for the one-day event are available now, priced at £40 before booking fees.

The festival will mark Smith’s first live appearance since she was awarded the keys to her adopted hometown of New York City late last year. In a ceremony on December 7 presided over by the outgoing mayor Bill DeBlasio, Smith joined filmmaker Spike Lee and U.S. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer in receiving the honour. “Some have called Patti Smith the godmother of punk,” said DeBlasio. “I think it’s a fair phrase because she inspired so many people, helped shape a whole artistic movement, and in many ways a political movement as well.” 

“I wish I could give New York City the key to me,” Smith laughed as she accepted the honour, “because that’s how I feel about our city. With all its challenges and difficulties, it remains – and I’m quite a traveler – the most diverse city, to me, in the world.” Born in Chicago, Smith moved to Manhattan in 1967; her formative years in New York, and her tumultuous relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, are chronicled in her much-lauded 2010 memoir, ‘Just Kids’.

June 1 will mark a decade since Smith last released a studio album, 2012’s ‘Banga’. However, she did put out an EP of live recordings, ‘Live at Electric Lady’, exclusively on Spotify last August. It contains new versions, cut at the legendary New York studio, of five of her own songs, plus covers of Bob Dylan’s ‘One Too Many Mornings’ and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Blame It on the Sun’.