Steve Lazarides plans his annual art fairground for April 2016

Great news from London. Art fair in a different shape. And we all know we need it:


London dealer puts the fun back into fairs

Steve Lazarides plans to open a temporary fairground—complete with rides, music, street food and, of course, art—next to the O2 arena

by ANNY SHAW  |  6 August 2015

London dealer puts the fun back into fairs
Steve Lazarides (right) with the Parisian photographer JR, who is due to take part in the fairground project


The London art dealer Steve Lazarides plans to open a very different kind of fair at the end of next April. The former representative of the street artist Banksy is due to build a temporary funfair on a ten-acre site next to the O2 arena in southeast London

Designed by artists, the functioning fairground will include a wall of death, carousel, shooting ranges, music acts and gourmet street food, but it will also act as “one big performance piece”, Lazarides says. There will also be an over-18 section for adults.

Around 20 artists, musicians and performers are due to participate including the Parisian photographer JR, Robert Del Naja of the music group Massive Attack and the DJ and producer James Lavelle, who is co-organising the show with Lazarides. “I wanted to include people who have pushed the boundaries of culture,” Lazarides says.

JR is due to create a giant snow globe; while the Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto (who goes by the name of Vhils) plans to carve a face into the ground that will double as a maze.

Tickets will cost around £15 and the fairground has a maximum capacity of 5,000. None of the works will be for sale, according to Lazarides, who says that he hopes to recoup costs via ticket sales. There are also plans to send a core element of the fair on a tour around the world, possibly starting in the Middle East.

Knight Dragon, the company that is developing the Greenwich Peninsula where the fair will be installed, and the events and festivals firm Vision Nine are supporting the project, which is expected to cost in the region of £1m.

Inspired by traditional British fairgrounds such as Bartholomew’s Fair, which was established in London in the 12th century, this is Lazarides’s most ambitious project to date. The dealer previously transformed the Old Vic Tunnels into immersive installations during Frieze week in October. “The fairground idea has been 25 years in the planning,” Lazarides says. “It’s time to bring some fun to town.

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