2023 FESTIVAL EVENTS LINEUP

AUG
27
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GRAND OPENING
PIER HEAD

BlackFest is kicking off this year at the Pier Head with our Grand Launch supported by the Museum
of Liverpool as part of the SRD Slavery Remembrance Programme showcasing a delightful mix of
black talent and creativity with an assortment of performances, participatory acts and workshops for
all the family and Local traders will be presenting a range of artisanal products and goodies for you
to treat yourself or a loved one to.

We will be joined by Afrodance Academy who are known for bringing Afro Dance to Liverpool, led by
a wide range of instructors and special guests. People can learn rhythm, technique and structure
whilst building confidence and having fun. A great way of meeting new people whilst exploring some
of the African Culture!

Powerhouse vocal group, Soul City Voices are covering an eclectic mix of classics, from old soul to
pop and disco.
Join BlackFest as we mark the beginning of the festival celebrating black arts, culture and trade, see
them all or pick a section that suits you! But be sure to be at the Grand Launch to be first in line to
see BlackFest’s amazing cultural offer to Liverpool and support black business.

Contact BlackFest to see how you can get involved Info@BlackFest.co.uk
Follow us on Instagram for updates as we release the lineup for the day @blackfestcreatives.

SEPT
25
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'LOCKS' BY ASHLEIGH NUGENT
LIVERPOOL LIGHTHOUSE

Want to be an author? Here is your chance to here from Ash.

BlackFest 2023 presents: Literature

This event is an in conversation with our long time artist: Ashleigh Nugent about his book ‘Locks’ exploring the prison system, growing up, wising up, and
finding your place in a world of opposites.

Ashleigh Nugent, an award-winning author, playwright and rapper is a mixed-race man from
Northern England who found himself in a Jamaican prison.

Ash is the Founder of Riseupcic and works with prisons, schools, the long term unemployed and those at risk of offending within the wider
community. Today Ash is touring his book Locks that was published by Picador in July 2023.

BlackFest commissioned his one-man play in 2019 based on his memoir ‘Locks’ at Unity Theatre
which details his experience of incarceration. Ash performed extracts from his book and touched on themes of race, sexuality, gender and identity.

We launched his self-published book ‘Locks’ in our 2020 digital festival. We are proud to present his journey in becoming an author and being published with Picador followed by a post-show discussion.

SEPT
26
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BLACK BOY JOY GONE
UNITY THEATRE

Directed by Ashley Karrell & Isaac Ouro-Gnao and funded by BFI Doc Society blending interviews, poetry, dance and storytelling.

Black Boy Joy Gone captures the lives, realities, and the hopeful perspectives of men in the North, the Midlands and London in the United Kingdom.

The individual and collective accounts inform the narratives with the addition of layers of imagery,
poetry, and dance. The dance sequences draw from Hip Hop, Popping, Waving, and West African & western Contemporary techniques.

Working collaboratively with mental health organisations and individuals in the UK, including Mind
charity, The Survivors Trust and Black mental health professionals.

This project has reached out far and wide, to amplify the voices of Black men who are often marginalised and underrepresented in accessing support and wellbeing services.

The title ties in with the celebration of Black men through the Black boy joy motif. It is a play on how
we’re never ‘too far gone’ if we seek the right help.

This year BlackFest and Panoptical are teaming up to deliver #Realise compiling the experiences of black men in Liverpool into theatre pieces inspired by the original campaign. The new works created will air as devised LIVE theatre and film pieces as a creative response to the themes of BBJG, plus original dice-poem screening Black Boy Joy Gone, followed by a panel discussion. The ambition is to create a legacy of a national tour to create awareness of Black Men’s mental health.

Join this important discussion centring Black Men.

AUG
27
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THE TUNG AUDITORIUM LUNCH TIME CONCERT SERIES
THE TUNG AUDITORIUM

BlackFest are partnering with Tung Auditorium to bring Satin Beige with a solo concert to the Lunch
Time Concert Series.
The Lunchtime Concert series allows everyone, whether students, staff or members of the public to
experience the fabulous acoustics of the state-of-the-art Auditorium completely free of charge every
Wednesday afternoon.
Her music has been described by Getintothis as “cello infused, lyrically soulful R ‘n’ B” with
“something of an Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys lovechild vibe”.

She has received a special mention award at the UK Music awards (2017), opened the main stage at
Africa Oye (2019) – The UK’s largest African music festival, performed in the critically acclaimed
production of An Octoroon at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin (2022), supported Roachford on his UK
tour, regularly opened for blues singer Connie Lush, performed with Tommy Scott from Space and
played sessions for local BBC radio stations and Scala Radio in London.

AUG
27
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JAZZ CONCERT WITH YOLANDA BROWN
THE TUNG AUDITORIUM

BlackFest are proud to present YolanDa Brown in partnership with the Tung Auditorium.
Double MOBO Award winning artist YolanDa Brown is performing for BlackFest 2023 in The Tung
Auditorium. She has toured with The Temptations, Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Billy
Ocean and collaborated with artists such as Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, Snarky Puppy’s Bill
Laurance, Kelly Jones from Stereophonics and Rick Astley. She is currently composing music for the
iconic Sesame Street and an animated series called Bea’s Block, as well as the Netflix Series
CocoMelon Lane.

She was awarded an OBE for services to music, music education and broadcasting in the 2023 New
Year Honours List by his Majesty the King. In July 2022, YolanDa was appointed Chair of BPI – the
representative voice for record labels in the UK. BPI organises The BRIT Awards, The Mercury Prize
and co-owns The Official Charts. The Lord Lieutenant of Greater London appointed YolanDa as a
Deputy Lieutenant in October 2022.

A champion for the importance of music education, YolanDa is Chair of Youth Music, sits on the Arts
Council National Council, is a trustee of the PRS Foundation, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust
and London Music Fund and sits on the advisory board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In
2021, she was invited by the Department of Education to sit on the advisory panel of the National
Plan for Music Education. November 2022 saw YolanDa awarded the Music Week – Women in Music
“Music Champion Award”.

During the pandemic with Sony Music and Twinkl, YolanDa rolled out her bespoke online music lesson plans for teachers, parents and pupils in primary schools nationwide, an
estimated 30 000 children have used the resources. In 2018 along with James JP Drake, she launched the “Drake YolanDa Award” offering grants to emerging musicians between the ages of 16 – 30.

SEPT
28
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SPOKEN WORD POETRY NIGHT
PALM HOUSE

BlackFest 2023 presents Spoken Word Poetry Night this year at the palm house.
The night will feature an exceptional line up of Liverpool’s emerging and established poets touching
on unseen narratives and shining a spotlight on Liverpool’s black poets and nationally. Join BlackFest
for a night of collective conscious, wonderful woke wordsmiths that you definitely won’t forget and
will learn from.

SEPT
30
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RIDDIMS NIGHT - CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF HIP HOP
PHILHARMONIC HALL

Join BlackFest as we bring you another rendition of our iconic Riddims Night this year celebrating 50 years of hip hop. Headliner Testament will be providing an hours set, a hip hop history and beatbox workshop as well as hosting a cypher. Testament is a Hip-Hop MC, writer, theatre maker and world record breaking human beatboxer. Born in North London and growing up Manchester, moving onto to study in West Yorkshire where he now currently resides. As a lyricist his critically acclaimed work together strands of rap, song and spoken word. Testament’s work includes the celebrated Hip-Hop album Homecut: No Freedom Without Sacrifice, as well as several spoken word performances for BBC TV and BBC Radio (1xtra, Radio 4 and 6Music). In 2019 he was Channel 4 Writer in Residence at Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester.

Come see the exciting new acts including a legendary B-boy battle between MD Creatives’ Miguel Doforo and AfroDance Academy, a brilliant Afro Dance company committed to connecting people to their roots through movement. Miguel is passionate about community work, dance, equality and diversity and supports many important causes to help break down barriers and help people achieve
their goals. He has developed the Doforo dance technique over 25 years of industry experience.

OCT
1
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DIASPORIC DIALOGUES - CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF LEROY COOPER
MUSEUM OF LIVERPOOL

After the tragic passing of Leroy Cooper earlier this year, BlackFest wanted to pay tribute to him and
the life he led by exhibiting his paintings with Smithdown Social Arts Hub and screening Leroy’s
interview with BlackFest on his journey and experiences as an artist and activist. BlackFest will be
covering his experiences in his own words in the last recorded interview from 2022 and the people
that knew him best.

OCT
11
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BLACKFEST FASHION FEST
ZENN

BlackFest is delivering a brand new fashion segment to the festival. Grab a seat and a drink as we showcase the beautiful work of our amazing cohort of designers in the wonderful location of Zenn Liverpool.

Seven Streets Studio is a fashion designer boutique located on Smithdown Road supporting the work of local fashion designers. They inspire sustainable purchasing whilst also giving access to in-accessible fashion and luxury from lounge wear to the races, wedding guest outfits to evening wear.

Pop in and check out their range of indie brands including exclusive celebrity drops. They promise
quality designs made with the future in mind.

Cultureville is an ethical, sustainable, award-winning fashion brand that specialises in hand-crafted clothing and accessories that feature bold African wax prints in contemporary designs. Their prints are ethically sourced from West Africa, where they are proud to work closely with tailors, artisans and suppliers in the local community.

OCT
17
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VISUAL ARTS LAUNCH
SMITHDOWN SOCIAL ARTS HUB

We are launching our visual arts exhibition supported by Smithdown Social Arts Hub this year as part of the festival, we will be working closely with our exhibitors to provide art workshops based around them and their practice. Come and visit the gallery in the heart of Smithdown to see all our artists have to offer and book yourself onto one, or all of their workshops for a deeper insight into their practice.

Helen is passionate about using photography as a visual tool to tell stories about people and their
relationship with the natural world. Oke Ugonna would categorise his art practice into three parts
landscape, portraits and the work he does on African masks and sculptures. Tony is a is a DJ,
Broadcaster at Melodic Distraction and an Amateur pencil artist. Petronelle leads the Merseryside
Congolese Association and will be presenting a series of artifacts she has collected.

OCT
19
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VISUAL ARTS LANDSCAPES WORKSHOP
SMITHDOWN SOCIAL ARTS HUB

As part of the Visual Arts Programme this year artist Oke Ugonna is leading a visual arts workshop
exploring the process of creating landscapes and teaching you his methods and techniques. Oke Ugonna though goes by the artist name Oksy. He would categorise his art practice into three
parts landscape, portraits and the work he does on African masks and sculptures. Oke has been presenting work on Merseyside for about ten years after completing studies in Liverpool.

His practice now has moved from very couched in the abstract expressionism of 1950’s New York to a more figurative style. He is interested in the buildings of Liverpool and the more suburban feel of the Wirral. Oke feels part of the art community in Wirral. He was born in Nigeria so part of his heritage is from that culture. He is very interested in the masks of Africa specifically that of the Igbo people of South Nigeria.

This is where Oke’s paternal ancestry stems from. He is not only fascinated by how they look but also of their spiritual connotation within the cultures and how they are used in rites and ceremonies. Each mask and sculpture has a visual language that relates to the beliefs and history of the people of the culture. Oke is trying to learn the language of these artworks.

OCT
21
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VISUAL ARTS FORAGING WORKSHOP
SMITHDOWN SOCIAL ARTS HUB

Join BlackFest for some Foraging and fresh air this year as our visual artists Hellen Songa guides us
through a foraging workshop that will tie into our visual arts programme. Hellen wants others to
becomes empowered and involved with food and land related projects.

Hellen Songa is Rwandan-Zambian food grower, community activist and socially engaged
photojournalist focused on environmentalism. They work, volunteer and sit on the board of L8-
community food organisation, Squash Liverpool, and is passionate about using photography as a
visual tool to tell stories about people and their relationship with the natural world.

OCT
26
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VISUAL ARTS WORKSHOP WITH DJ SOULFULTIZ
SMITHDOWN SOCIAL ARTS HUB

Tony also know as DJ Soulfultiz will be leading a workshop covering pencil drawing at Smithdown
Social Arts Hub. SOULFULTIZ is a DJ, Broadcaster at Melodic Distraction and an Amateur pencil artist. His passion and love for music saw him connect with the collective, Soul Inspired Events – the team behind Soul4Soul and Liverpool SoulFest. They’ve also curated stages for Liverpool Pride, Threshold Festival, LIMF and Liverpool Loves to name a few.

Soulfutiz has recently brought his Afrosentrik Radio show to life in the form of Connecting To The Source. The event explores the Electronic Sounds of the Motherland with an array of genres like Amapiano, Afrobeats and Afro House.

OCT
27
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CELEBRATION NIGHT
PALM HOUSE

Join BlackFest once again as they close the festival with a bang, featuring an exciting line up of your
favourite artists and performers.

Come and celebrate Liverpool’s top talent and the nationwide artists that help make the festival
happen. Featuring LIVE music, entertainment, and community performances to bring people
together and celebrate the diverse multicultural city we live in.

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