Some of Liverpool’s most iconic venues set the stage for a huge Black Arts festival in the city, showcasing award-winning artists such as YolanDa Brown OBE DL. BlackFest 2023 will feature live music, theatre, film, spoken word, visual arts, fashion and more — with an exciting programme of Black Arts celebrating, centring and representing cultural diversity in Liverpool.
BlackFest has recently been inducted as a portfolio organisation for Liverpool City Region. The multi-award-winning festival, now in its 6th year, is showcasing some incredible talent at venues such as Unity Theatre, The Palm House, Museum Of Liverpool and The Philharmonic Hall in August, September and October 2023.
The festival kicks off on Sunday 27th August from 12pm, when the Museum Of Liverpool will come alive with colour, live music and celebration! The day will consist of an array of live music from the likes of Djembe Drumming, performance from the likes of Afrodance Academy and independent black businesses presenting a range of artisan products. A free family friendly event with something for everyone, it’s one of the events of the year in the city!
BlackFest Visual Arts will be hosted by Smithdown Social Arts Hub with a series free visual arts workshops and a 2-week exhibition. The programme will feature artists such as Hellen Songa presenting Mwalula: photography on sustainability and environment, DJ Soulfultiz as a visual life drawing artist, Petronelle showcasing precious Congolese artifacts and Okechukwu Ugonna landscape art of the Wirral. From foraging, landscape and life drawing fine art, there’s an interactive workshop for everyone. Dates available are the launch on Tues 17th Oct and workshops on Thurs 19th Oct, Sat 21st Oct and Wed 25th Oct.
A fascinating night of conversation and book launch with award winning author, playwright and rapper, Ash Nugent is taking place at Liverpool Lighthouse on Mon 25th Sept. A literary powerhouse, Ash is the author of Locks — a profound book based on his life — and is also the Founder of Rise Up CIC, where he helps reform prisoners. A night of literature and conversation to spark the imagination!
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 film, plus screening of original dice-poem film Black Boy Joy Gone, followed by a panel discussion at Unity Theatre on Tues 26th Sept. A profound night that captures the lives, realities and hopeful perspectives of black men in Liverpool, this powerful production features interviews, poetry, dance and storytelling. A gripping mental health related production that will have a lasting impact on the audience.
A very special free concert sees Satin Beige perform at the grand Tung Auditorium at 1pm on Wednesday 27th September. A supremely talented artist, she has received an award at the UK Music awards (2017), opened the main stage at Africa Oye (2019) and played sessions for the BBC. A free event featuring one of Liverpool’s finest vocalists.
Meanwhile, at 7pm at The Tung Auditorium Double MOBO Award winning artist YolanDa Brown OBE DL comes to Liverpool for one night only! Having toured with The Temptations, Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and Billy Ocean and having collaborated with artists such as Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, Kelly Jones from Stereophonics and Rick Astley, YolanDa Brown OBE DL is a force of nature!
A magical night of poetry at The Palm House on Thursday 28th Sept will feature an exceptional line up of Liverpool’s and Manchester’s emerging and established poets Naami J Soya, Sian the Visionary, Sidney Conteh and Alexis Maxwell. Join BlackFest for a night of collective conscious and wonderful wordsmiths, with an open mic for any budding poets in the audience.
On Saturday 30th September, Riddims: Celebrating 50 Years Of Hip Hop is taking place at The Philharmonic Hall. This exciting showcase features headline artists Testament, a world record breaking beatboxer who will be hosting a hip hop history and beatbox workshop and DJ Andy H. The night will also feature artists Remee, Yilly and Conduits and Bboy battles between award winning MD Creatives’ Miguel Doforo and AfroDance Academy. A night of hip hop, beatboxing and intense energy, Riddims Night brings all the energy!
Thanks to Community Foundation Lancashire & Merseyside, BlackFest are hosting a huge fashion festival at the plush Zenn venue — featuring award winning fashion designers such as Tayamika Fashion, Tare Isaac, Enadia and Cultureville, Lohi Founder of Afrofashion UK. A must for fashion afficionados, this event brings two cities closer together — featuring 5 designers from Liverpool and 5 from Manchester.
Join BlackFest once again as they close the festival with a bang, featuring an exciting line up of incredible artists and performers including Rokaya, Andre Jahnoi, Keith Coker, Tyrone Lewis, Wxndchxme, Cherelle, Gabriel Oyediwura, Sian The Visonary, Be Manzini, Elizabetta, Nzanzu , Kingfast, Interstella global CIC Benji Effect and more. A party like no other featuring live music, entertainment and community performances!
BlackFest’s Creative Director, Jubeda Khatun, said: “We’re now in our 6th year of BlackFest and we’re very proud to have won awards for our work. Our aim is to educate, empower and inspire, whilst promoting cultural diversity and bridging the gap. We’re really excited about this year’s showcase, with some fantastic new additions such as the fashion festival and something for everyone, and it is a great honour to welcome Yolanda Brown OBE to our city.”
Liverpool’s multi-award winning Black Arts festival, BlackFest, returns for its 6th year — with a diverse programme of live music, theatre, spoken word, art, fashion and more. Events will take place at various venues throughout the region during August, September and October 2023.
For tickets and Information visit BlackFest’s Website
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Image Credit: YolanDa Brown