Pentecost Festival first took place in 2008. In its inaugural year 10,000 people took to the streets in celebration of the birth of the church. Christian organisations and churches united to bring an overwhelming array of different events to the streets, bars, clubs and parks of London on a sunny weekend in May.
In 2009 the festival grew to 16,000 and the streets of Central London buzzed with activity as musicians of all styles, painters and graffiti artists, comedians and scientists, dancers and actors took to the stage. The centrepiece of the festival invited everyone to ‘have a go’ with a huge variety of free events on Saturday afternoon including the lively urban stage at Leicester Square. Festivities were held over a week with Tuesday to Thursday evening events around the capital including comedy, science, film, theatre and music. Friday and Saturday nights brought more excitement with award winning speakers and performers, sizzling salsa and films for all the family.
In 2010 over 20,000 people attended Pentecost Festival explored God’s heart for justice with a march offering 1000 young people the chance to make a stand. Leicester Square was buzzing with lively music again whilst the surrounding venues hosted challenging, inspiring and celebratory events of every kind. Weekday events were popular again with Laughter lounge pulling in crowds alongside brilliant drama and fascinating lectures and debates. Bill Johnson and Shane Claiborne crossed the Atlantic to share inspiring messages and HTB, Hillsong and Jesus House collaborated to fill Hammersmith Apollo in a great night of celebration.
The programme of events in 2011 expanded to ten days with a spectacular finale at the O2 Arena, which exceeded all expectation and was truly alive in the Spirit. 2011 was also the year that Share Jesus International partnered with its first Pentecost Festival Coalition Member, Christian Aid.