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Bradford Council staged a colourful and entertaining programme of high quality local, national and international acts at the Bradford Festival over the three days in July 2016. 

Over 100,000 people flocked to City Park braving seasonal showers and rain to take part in Bradford’s premier arts and entertainment festival. 

There was an enormous range of fun things to see and do for young families including flamboyant street theatre, arts and crafts activities, music and dance, and new for this year, poetry, storytelling and readings. 

British theatre troupe, Ramshacklicious staged Mr. & Mr. Burn, an explosive, chaotic and offbeat double act mixing trombone, tuba, ukulele, and electronic drums with clowning, puppetry and pyrotechnics. 

Innovative London troupe, Wet Picnic performed The Lift where audience members were invited to step inside, select one of nine different ‘floors’ and take part in comical and quirky acts. 

A clevercomedy routine featuring contortionism and bottle balancing was  played out on a large half moon slack rope frame in George Orange’s Man on the Moon and Todmorden-based creators, Spacecadets, paraded their four metre tall, Indian Elephant which stopped for photographs. 

The Rat Race by outdoor puppet company Frolicked, was a darkly funny commentary on modern life which was told by puppets through the holes in a giant wedge of cheese. 

Dance lovers were treated to a quirky new piece by celebratedNew Zealandchoreographer,Corey Baker. 

Featuring an iconic vintage red telephone box, and an athletic solo performer, Phone Box was a vibrant, energetic and surprisingly fun contemporary dance piece. 

In 2016, organisers from Bradford Council joined forces with the Ilkley Literature Festival to bring a range of new spoken word events to Bradford. 

Internet sensation, Hollie McNish who set the spoken word scene alight gaining millions of YouTube views with her sharp take on modern life, appeared at the Bradford Playhouse and some of the UK’s most exciting spoken word performers, beatboxers and DJs performed on the festival’s temporary gardens stage. 

Disk jockeys from DisOriental & No Hands, world record-holding beatboxer and rapper, Testament and BBC 1xtra Words First finalists, Asma Elbadawi and Isaiah Hull appeared alongside local poets Javaad Alipoor, Becky Cherriman, Chijioke Ojukwu, Christian Watson and Rhubarb poets and young poets from London’s Roundhouse Collective. 

Highly acclaimed theatre company, Chicken Shop Shakespeare brought the Bard’s work to life with several pop-up performances across City Park. 

The festival’s main stage in Bradford’s Centenary Stage hosted a vast range of music from dance, brass, folk, Asian pop and bhangra, ska, jazz and Baulkin gypsy music. 

The line up included dance duo, Sam and The Womp, rousing and energetic folk music by Eastern European band, Paprika and local musicians from the Topic Folk Club in Bradford. 

Asian pop sensations, Stereo Nation and Jay Kadn brought an eastern flavour to the music programme whilst ska and reggae lovers enjoyed, London-based, Chainska Brassika and classic 80s roots band, Talisman. 

Brilliant, upbeat and comical Leeds-based, Hope & Social delighted festival audiences who braved the weather to dance in the rain. 

Several colourful marching brass bands surprise people with their strolling music antics. 

The festival opened with over a 1000 young artists from local schools staging an eight hour programme of music and specially created musical and dance pieces. 

Festival goers tried out a whole range of arts and crafts including painting, paper craft, calligraphy, poetry, sewing, textile and ceramic tile making, African drumming and chapatti baking. 

Children enjoyed storytelling sessions and creative writing workshops. 

People indulged in large range of international food from Italian wood fired pizzas, Chinese noodles, Indian and Caribbean curries, and American hamburgers and donuts. 

Craft beers and South American cocktails and mocktails were served at a pop-up New York style ‘dime bar’. 

Screams of delight could be heard from the funfair rides stationed in Bradford’s Norfolk Gardens. 

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