Africa Oyé – the UK’s largest free African music festival – returns to Liverpool’s Sefton Park this June. Now celebrating its 14th year, the event has attracted a wealth of international stars to Merseyside, looking to make Africa Oyé 2007 the most spectacular yet. Running all day Saturday 16th June and Sunday 17th June, the family-friendly celebration of cultural diversity has become an annual must-see in Liverpool’s social calendar.
2006 saw 40,000 people in attendance for the weekend, and organisers believe that this year is set to draw even bigger crowds, taking in the the finest African music, dance and performance. Artists including Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective (Belize), Papa Noel & Bana Congo (Cuba/DR Congo), LA 33 (Columbia), Culture (Jamaica), The Ghana All Stars (Ghana), and Daby Balde (Senegal) are all confirmed to play this year’s event, with more to come
In recent years, artists including Femi Kuti, Baaba Maal, Habib Koite, and Tinariwen have taken to the stage. This year, aside from the musical programme, festival-goers must be sure to make time to look around the many stalls of the International Village, where food and crafts from all around the world are on offer. Clothing, hair demonstrations and face painting are also available throughout the weekend, along with many other activities – including a climbing wall and moonwalker dome – to suit the whole family.
In its 14-year history, Africa Oyé has played host to artists from Benin, South Africa, DR Congo, Guinea, Lesotho, Somalia, to name but a few. Its organisers say: “Africa Oyé concentrates on portraying the continent in a positive way. There are too many stories of war, AIDS, poverty, and famine. We wish to concentrate on the incredible range of musicians and artists who hail from the continent.’’