‘We’re proud, and we’re grieving’: London Vault festival to close as charity funding falls through

The Vault Festival has announced it will be closing after failing to secure the funding needed to relocate to a new site.

The festival, which was hosted in performance spaces beneath Waterloo railway station, had been under threat after its venue-landlord decided to pursue alternative uses for the tunnels the festival has used since 2012. 

Vault Creative Arts, the charity behind Vault Festival, launched a fundraising campaign in 2023 and had secured a new long-term home in central London that was due to open later this year. 

But last week the organisation learned that it had failed to secure the principal funding required to deliver the new home and future festivals. 

Redundancies have been made across the organisation.

The charity has also contacted donors who contributed to a campaign in December 2023, which raised more than £20,000 for access equipment at their planned new venue and will be returning the donations.

The Vault Festival was one of the capital’s biggest festivals of theatre, comedy and performance, with hundreds of shows packed in from January to March each year.

Chief executive, director and co-founder Andy George (Picture: Vault Creative Arts)

Since its creation the festival has given a platform to more than 3,000 shows from about 12,000 emerging artists to more than 465,000 audience members. 

The festival provided a platform for upcoming artists and companies to put on short runs of shows  including Ella Hickson, George Mackay, Police Cops, Tatenda Shamiso, Desiree Birch, Joe Lycett, Mae Martin and James Acaster.

The charity said it was preparing to announce the return of VAULT Festival and a new model which would have seen two five-week festivals take place each year, one in spring and one in autumn.

The new model was hoped to enable more than 1,700 artists to begin their careers and provide the charity with long-term stability after it struggled to recover from the impact of Covid and the loss of its original home last year.

The charity will continue to operate the venue The Glitch in Waterloo, which particularly supports emerging artists and LGBTQ+-led collectives.

Chief executive, director and co-founder Andy George said: “We are devastated, we’re proud and we’re grieving. 

“We had an exceptional team, we had a fantastic new home, and we had the vision of how to get there. To come so close but ultimately fall short is agonising. 

“We are grieving what could have been and what will be lost for future generations. I am certain that the impact from the loss of VAULT Festival will be felt across the entire UK creative sector for years to come.

“The irony that our platform that sought to support artists who have been failed and disenfranchised by the current funding, education, and institutional systems ultimately being undone by that very same system is not lost. Something needs to be done.”

Pictured top: The Vault Festival has announced it will be closing after failing to secure funding (Picture: Vault Creative Arts)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.