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Local talent to shine at Bradford Festival

Hundreds of talented local artists are set to perform alongside the national and international line-up at this year’s Bradford Festival.

Bradford Council has commissioned a wide range of local acts in a programme packed with innovative street theatre, music, dance and creative workshops which will be suitable for people of all ages.

Some of Bradford’s most talented children take to the stage on the opening day in an event featuring music, dance and celebration. Local school children will take part in a mass dance and a mass sing, and in workshops and taster sessions organised by the Bradford Local Cultural Education Partnership.

Multi award-winning singer-songwriter and powerhouse of blues and rock, Chantel McGregor, returns to headline the opening night on the festival’s main stage in Centenary Square.

Childhood friends, Ned Archibong and Nicholson Davids, who grew up making music in Frizinghall, and fellow Normanton Street band member, Phoebe Freya, will join Bradford Youth Orchestra to create a brilliant new collaboration fusing a full orchestra with jazz guitars, warm bass grooves and tight rhythmic drums.

Celebrated local Irish music band, notorious for their famous Thursday nights in the Midland Hotel, JB’s Wine Bar, Maguires, Scarlet Heights will headline Sunday evening’s music line-up.

Formed in Bradford 1983 to perform at marches organised by the peace movement, The Peace Artistes have built a reputation all over Europe for vital, energetic performances at festivals, carnivals and indoor events. This flamboyant and fun roaming band brings their irresistible blend of African, Salsa, Folk and Funk to the Bradford Festival.

Bradford World Music People will perform Egwundu incorporating African spiritual music which promises to energise and uplift audiences.

Local artists will again play a significant role in staging a vast array of workshops and activities which can be enjoyed by adults and children of all ages.

People can discover the beauty and majesty of Japanese Enso calligraphy by drawing a circle, triangle and square using large brushes on canvas and paper sheets with artist, urban designer consultant, and teacher, Mahmud Manning.

Shipley-based artist, Morwenna Catt brings Ministry of Bees where visitors can meet the militant bee representatives in a colourful garden tent. Their mission is to help Bradfordians plant as many pollinator friendly plants as possible and lead fun craft activities to remind everyone how important it is to keep bees busy.

Highly talented puppet makers from Cecil Green Arts will teach the necessary skills to make fabulous hats and cardboard masks. Participants will be invited to parade their bespoke creations to express their individuality and flare.

People can discover the ancient Oriental art of lantern making with help from professional Chinese artist Ping Kelly. Ping will teach simple traditional paper cutting and paper folding techniques and so people can create their very own works of art to take home.

Freedom Studios based in Forster Square, will use words, images and objects to help people make their own mini-dramas.


Bradford artist, Zareena Bano will help people make their own hero-themed cuffs, capes, masks, gliders, shields and frames in an inviting atmosphere full of fun, vibrant colour and creativity. Participants are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite hero.

There will be an opportunity to learn the spiritual and therapeutic rhythms of the ancient Ibos people from Eastern Nigeria at Traditional African drumming workshops with local musician, Moses Ekebuisi.

Bradford-based Bloomin' Buds Theatre Company will help create wellbeing first aid boxes in fun and interactive workshops. Festivalgoers can add their favourite things to a giant first aid box while creating their own to take home.

Local artists Musarat Raza and Nasreen Akhtar will help participants to make and decorate beautiful delicate hand-crafted personalised jewellery and unique trinket keepsake boxes using colourful beads and craft materials.

Festivalgoers can help create a giant collective artwork with Mussarat Rahman and Douglas Thompson. The Labyrinth! will feature a series of winding interactive pathways, leading to a central maze which requires teamwork to solve its mysteries.

People can release their inner rock star with workshops by the Bradford School of Rock and Media. This will include the basics in drumming, guitar, bass, and DJ and music recording sessions.

Experienced multimedia artists from Q20 Events in Shipley will offer chances to have a go at turning the old into something new by up-cycling discarded and recycled objects.

Festival-favourite, Lou Sumray will invite people to join her in tracing what they see of Bradford onto special semi-transparent screens.

A family-friendly space where children can play, enjoy books and enjoy a picnic together will be created by BHT Early Education and Training. There will be lots of age-specific activities including a finger gym, Playdough, book sharing, and music making.

The Bradford Festival takes places in City Park from 12-14 July and entry is free.

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