Monday, 25 February 2013

‘The Big Festival’ uses music and art to connect communities

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Nearly 1,400 young people took part in ‘The Big Festival’. A total of 15 festivals were held during half term across London, Surrey, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. The aim of the festivals was to use art and music to bring local people together and provide an opportunity to signpost our young people towards volunteering and social action opportunities within their local area.  

Each event was held in a creative community hub or arts space, including The Public art gallery in West Bromwich, Only Connect in Kings Cross and Acklam Village Market just off Portabello Road.

Young people sampled a feast of unique workshops, included beat boxing, capoeira, costume making, Bollywood dancing, African drumming, song writing and samba drumming. Many of the festivals culminated in a showcase, where performances included Sikh martial arts and various acoustic sets by our very own graduates. The Birmingham festival even ended in a carnival parade through Cannon Hill Park, featuring a 50ft caterpillar which had been made on the day! 

Carnival procession in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

Many young people signed up to volunteering opportunities with local community organisations and a group of young people from North London visited the Peel Centre in Camden to take part in a workshop facilitated by North London Cares, which explored music across the ages.

Drama therapy session at Croydon festival

Our Youth Boards played key roles in helping to organise and market the events. Amadea Finch and Joseph Brennan are part of the Croydon and Sutton Youth Board. They helped to organise the Croydon festival and had the chance to talk about the event on BBC London radio in collaboration with beat boxers Bass6 and YasSon who ran workshops and performed at the Croydon and Peckham festivals. Amadea said “For me, being a member of a Youth Board is a wonderful opportunity to bring the youth of the area together with other members of the community. ‘The Big Festival’ provided the chance for young people to meet and partake in new experiences, whilst also sharing in the skills and talent that young people have to offer to the local community”.

Drumming workshop

Well done to all our young people who helped to organise the events and a huge thank you to all the community organisations and artists who ran workshops and performed on the day.

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