SouthWestFest is a fusion of great ideas, fun activities and engaging events. We aim to produce a community festival to showcase arts, culture and support sector groups and community services which take place in SW1.

In the last thirteen years SouthWestFest has been enjoyed by an estimated 120,000 people in the Westminster area. SouthWestFest a celebratory and creative festival event which programmes shows, events, workshops and activities based at multiple venues in the South Westminster area.

We build harmonious relationships in the community through events and workshops and engage over 10,000 people per year in our projects and activities enabling celebration of the SW1 area and increased community connectivity.

Our audience reach spans across Westminster and its bordering boroughs including; Lambeth, Vauxhall, Chelsea and Kensington. As well as working with the general public, we support a network of over 60 local organisations, businesses and cultural venues in the Westminster area and collaborate with these organisations in order to produce a variety of events each year.

Meet the Team

Catherine Drake Wilkes

Festival Chair

Catherine has worked in Pimlico with the Sure Start Children’s Centres since 2003 and is now the manager of Bessborough Family Hub. Catherine has been involved with SouthWestFest in many different ways through the years and stepped up to be the Chair in 2015. For Catherine, the best things about being part of SouthWestFest are the sense of community and being able to give more people the chance to participate in the many opportunities on offer in SW1.

Jane Buttigieg

Festival President

Jane was the Chair of the festival for many years. After stepping down as the Chair of the festival, we honoured Jane’s many years of hard work and volunteering at the festival by giving her the title of Festival President. She continues to sing onstage at every Proms event and help us raise the money needed each year to put the festival on.

Joanna Hedges

Festival Director

Jo came on board as the new Festival Director in January 2015. She has spent the past 10 years producing festival and events in the creative and charity sectors and absolutely loves bringing energy to the Festival Programme, building on the amazing work which has already been put in place.

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Dodie Finamore

Festival Coordinator

Dodie joined SouthwestFest in 2018 as Festival Coordinator, bringing her fantastic producing skills and love for theatre and performance to the team!

Patricia Alert


Pat got involved with SouthWestFest many years ago, through her work as Outreach Manager for what was then known as Sure Start South Westminster. Although she has since stopped working in Westminster she is still committed to the families of the South. For Pat, the Festival is a favourite time of year, giving her a chance to reconnect with the many children she has worked with in the area over the years.

Sara Wheeler MBE

Vice-Chair, Trustee

Sara has been a trustee for SouthWestFest for several years and as a lifelong Pimlico resident has fond childhood memories of the old Pimlico Festival: that’s what drew her to getting involved in SouthWestFest.

A married mother of three, Sara works for the Department for International Trade in Whitehall.  She looks forward to the Festival each year and tries to get involved with all the different events, especially the Family Day which has gone from strength to strength and allows her the chance to dress up for the occasion. Sara feels that Gala Day is the one day of the year that brings the whole community in South Westminster together. Of the Festival, Sara says It’s fantastic to see such a diverse group of people all coming together and making the festival the success it is today!

Laura Buttigieg


Laura owns and runs a local business called Occasions, which is  a party shop specialising in balloons, party entertainment and costumes. Laura has been involved helping at the festival for as long as she can remember,and especially loves to help at our children’s events providing face painting, entertainers and games for all to enjoy.


Anna Whelan

Artistic Associate

Anna Whelan first started working with SouthWestFest in 2017, bringing her art collective Shambush on board to create community centred interactive art and performance projects for the festival programme. Anna now joins SouthWestFest as an artistic associate.