We are Beatroots, a new social enterprise based in Walthamstow. Our purpose is to develop high quality music programmes with the communities of Waltham Forest and the surrounding regions. Our Community Interest Company registration has just gone through and we are excited to get started! In this our first blog, we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves and share some of our initial plans.

Who are we?

We are Nick Bason and Emma Betts and we share a love of music, community and all things Waltham Forest. Between us we’ve worked in a variety of sectors including communications, arts and community development, policy and public relations. We’ve come together to form Beatroots as we feel there is so much potential to further grow the burgeoning and vibrant music scene in this area and ensure that it can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.

Why are we doing this and what are we about?

While Beatroots is a new enterprise, we have both been working in this area for a long time, establishing the annual music festival, The Stow Festival, together with many others in the community back in 2011. This multi-genre festival, which takes place in venues all around Walthamstow, provides a platform for local established and emerging musicians as well as staging acts from further afield. The festival has grown significantly over this period and one of our aims through Beatroots, is to put it on an established and sustainable footing.

Our approach is inspired by Asset Based Community Development which focuses on identifying and mobilising a community’s strengths. We already know from our work with The Stow Festival over the past five years that Waltham Forest is an area rich in assets with a strong sense of community and has both a past as well as present that is steeped in music. Through Beatroots we hope to open up opportunities to make this more visible and to celebrate and further develop the music life within the area throughout the year.

So what’s in the pipeline?

We are currently developing a series of programmes throughout the year in which local people can engage with music as performers, producers and audience members as well as shape and contribute to The Stow Festival. In our first year, we are focusing on developing and delivering programmes for young people in particular.

We are very excited to be curating the News from Nowhere stage at the Walthamstow Garden Party over the 16th - 17th July weekend and partnering with a range of music collectives to showcase local talent - We will also be giving a taste of this year’s Stow Festival programme through staging some of the acts set to perform at this festival later on in September.

We are deep into planning for this year’s Stow Festival together with our fellow festival committee members Julian Marszalek and Kat Richmond. This year the festival takes place on the 15th-18th September and we have a number of exciting headline acts lined up already. We are also in the process of going through the fantastic selection of applicants to this year’s festival. Please keep an eye on the website – – for further updates!

How do I get in touch?

If you are interested in finding out more about Beatroots or in working with us please email us at and . We’d love to hear from you!