Late last year when Omicron came outta nowhere, Forest Gate local Lou hit me up to see if her newly formed community band Foresters could play an impromptu gig outside our arch Tracks for some much needed Christmas cheer and festive family fun.

As was the week before Christmas and locals panic-visiting fam across the country incase they contracted Covid, I was worried there wouldn't be an appetite for this but woah was I way wrong as the station strip was a road block with the who's who of Forest Gate turning out to show their support! Their Christmas carols and seasonal singalongs channelled an amazing festive feeling to Forest Gate - add mulled wine to the mix which was flowing freely and this was just the lil' local escape we all needed from reality.

After a hiatus for further band rehearsals, we welcome back Foresters to the Tracks station garden this Friday 8th July for another local live showcase. Here's how they sowed the seeds and how the band blossomed...

Cast your mind back to Christmas 2021, when we were all grappling with the rapid re-emergence of Covid, trying to find a plausible antidote to it all.

A shout out on social media to join a band came with perfect timing for a group of local Mums and Dads. The ‘Foresters’ was born inspired by living in Forest Gate and the charms of nearby Wanstead Flats.

With a fervent attitude and warmth, the six members – Josie (a children’s physio), Justin (a film director), Lou (a producer), Ali (a provider of local garden construction), Alex (a social work manager) and Tom (a creative director of content) – navigated their way through family commitments and work to meet once a week in Justin and Josie’s kitchen to rehearse, a true testimony to their passion and love for music. The band members enjoyed the rehearsal sessions so much that they now continue to practice there with great compliments from their very patient neighbours. It's rekindled the flame for Josie:

"I grew up in a musical family singing around the house with my sisters. There was always a performance of some kind going on. I’ve sung in bands before and I’m loving reigniting the experience again. The best part is having the band over to our house to jam and rehearse. It's a social evening that I can enjoy without having to get childcare and I get to sing some of my favourite songs and sing harmonies too."

For Lou her new passion is a welcome distraction from a hectic home and work life:

"I’ve always loved singing and used to sing in a choir years ago. I was Annie in a school show once but thats been it! I’ve not had any previous experience singing in a live band so its been amazing so far. We’ve only played in a few gigs but the buzz from playing to a live audience is both terrifying and brilliant! Rehearsal nights are now one of my favourite times of the week, a real tonic when its super busy at home or work."

With a focus on harmonies and covers the band are building up their repertoire from Blur’s ‘Park Life’ to the harmonious Beatles’ ‘Black Bird’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice’ and have so far played gigs at the Forest Tavern, Tracks, and a local street festival to much applause from audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Their next gig is outside Tracks on 8th of July from 6.30pm where Jonny, a local musician from the established band Cult With No Name, will be joining them on keyboard as a special guest.

The band enjoy playing locally, helping to provide some fun and happiness for all so grab a drink down at Tracks on Friday early evening and enjoy the music – the antidote we all need.

Contact Josie on 07986 558607 or Lou on 07866 468740 to find out more or book a gig.