Celebrating Community: Highlights from the 14th Armenian Summer Festival in the UK

June 20, 2024 – London, UK – The Armenian Summer Festival, the biggest event for the UK Armenian community, celebrated its 14th anniversary on June 16th with resounding success. Held under the auspices of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland and organised by the Armenian Church Trust Ltd., this family-friendly event brought together guests from Armenia, the United States, Switzerland, and across the UK, offering a day filled with vibrant entertainment, cultural performances, and community spirit.

The official event commenced with a heartfelt thank you speech by His Grace Bishop Hovakim, the Primate of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland, and Mr. Keghvart Vartanian, a trustee of the Armenian Church Trust UK. Following their opening remarks, greetings were delivered by Archbishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Rupa Huq, further emphasising the spirit of unity and community. The event was flawlessly emceed by Shakeh Major Tchilingirian.

The festival featured a diverse range of entertainment, including a contemporary interactive puppet theatre Heqiateren, funfairs for children, and performances by guest singers Hakob Hakobyan and Armen Hovhannisyan. Local talents also shone brightly with performances by the Akhtamar Armenian Performance Group, who captivated the audience with their traditional dance routines. The GMP Dance group, led by Maria Petrusian, delivered energetic and mesmerising performances that highlighted the rich cultural heritage of Armenia. Additionally, the newly formed Norahrash Choir, led by Hasmik Harutyunyan, showcased beautiful folk and spiritual music, adding a harmonious touch to the event.

Furthermore, the stage saw performances by London-based artists originally coming from Stepanakert, Artsakh, with singer Laura Avetisyan delivering a heartfelt folk performance while guitarist and musician Robert Melkumyan energised the public with his electric guitar song covers.

The event’s success was made possible by the dedication of over 50 volunteers. Key contributors included Zorik Gasparian, Rita Barseghian, Teni Matian, Andre Simonian, Sophie Grant, Aleksandra Markaryan, Razmik Navasartian, Karina Avakyan, Bedros Aslanyan, and many youth members Sasha Agajanyan, Laura Avetisyan, Maria Soraghan, and Aleene Boyadjian. Notable efforts were made by Razmik Navasartian’s team in preparing delicious Khorovadz, and Jeanine Sevadjian Gulvanessian’s team in organising the VIP Corner.

Special acknowledgements go to those who helped set up the marquees, including Nairi Afrikyan, Hratch Koudabashkian, Keghvart Vartanian, Zorik Gasparian, Matthew Ward, and Vahe Hovnatanian. The festival also received significant support from young volunteers, demonstrating a beautiful collaboration between generations.

The festival’s culinary offerings were a highlight, featuring freshly prepared Khorovadz, cakes, pastries, and oven-warm Lahmajun, all meticulously prepared and served by volunteers. Special thanks are extended to the food prep and cooking teams, as well as those serving the attendees.

In addition to the many community volunteers, the festival received support from various organizations, including St Sarkis and St Yeghiche parishes in London, the Armenian parish in Dublin, NYRAFF, AGBU London, St. Sarkis Charity Trust, Armenian Relief Society, Bar du Champagne, Tapas Stories, Avobar, Fast Credit, F Jewellery and many others. The list of supporters is extensive, reflecting the strong community bonds that underpin the festival’s success.

The Norahrash Choir, established under the auspices of His Grace Bishop Hovakim, the Primate of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland, and led by the talented operatic soprano Hasmik Harutyunyan continues to welcome new members for their Sunday rehearsals at St Sarkis Church.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to making this festival a memorable celebration of Armenian culture and community. For more details and updates, follow the official account at Armenian Summer Festival London.

Facebook: / ASFLondon
Instagram: @ ASFLondon
Email: info@asflondon.co.uk

For further information, view the festival booklet: Festival Booklet.