BlackFest – Liverpool’s grassroots Black arts festival – has revealed a packed line-up of multi-arts festivities taking place across the city in September and October.
The award-winning organisation is celebrating their recent double prize at the Merseyside Women of the Year Award as well as 5 years of platforming Black artists across Liverpool and beyond, by creating a festival programme that spans ten venues, showcasing art exhibitions, music nights, spoken word and poetry, theatre shows and much more.
The Liverpool grassroots organisation prides itself on nurturing a vibrant arts community throughout the year via educational and empowering projects, and Director, Jubeda Khatun is delighted to be able to finally reveal the lineup of events – kicking off with their biggest opening event ever at the Pierhead.
The Pierhead show on 24th September will feature acts such as Afrodance Academy bringing AfroAmpiano dance piece and fierce drumming troupe Katumba bringing fusions of UK big beat Carribean Calypso and Carnival of North East Brazil.
Some of the brightest up-and-coming musical talent and poets in the city will also feature on the line-up, including Shak Omar, AMBA, Lumenaates, Bluboy, Pari, as well as returning artists from BlackFest’s nationwide creative pool such as Sarah Louise, Vivi and more.
Between the live acts, beats will be provided by Papu Raf; a renowned DJ, producer, event manager at Cool It, and Co-Founder of House of ZuZu. Expect afrohouse, afrobeats, funk, bass, kuduro, garage, house & more.
Local traders will also be providing Afrocentric handmade goodies, cards and prints, jewellery and fashion throughout the opening event.
Jubeda said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating our award win and 5 years of BlackFest. Liverpool is a vibrant port city with so much to offer from local talent as well as taking pride in welcoming new works into the city from the North West and nationally. There’s so much to choose from over the festival period and there really is something for everyone. And so much of it is free entry too!”
The theatre offering this year features an unflinching and thought-provoking piece from Zimbabwean writer, Mandla Rae at the Unity Theatre on 26th September, entitled As British as a Watermelon, fresh off a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Emerging musical artists have always been at the forefront of BlackFest’s artistic output and the 2022 festival is no different with this year’s ‘Riddims Night’ at the Philharmonic Music Room on 27th September featuring the likes of young Liverpool rappers P3Lz and Koj, along with singer-songwriter, Shoa Osborne and multi-artist, Tee.
BlackFest’s much-loved spoken word and poetry night returns on 28th September, with The Hope Street Theatre showcasing a range of local poets and wordsmiths, who will also take part in a post-show discussion following their performances with an open mic for audiences to participate in too. The night will feature Spoken word poets, Samuel Ameiza-Djabli AKA ChiefUncleSam, Tahja Edwards and will also welcome talent from Manchester Poetry Place, Gabriel Oyediwura and Cherelle Anne.
Granby Winter Garden will welcome BlackFest on World Heart Day on 29th September for an educational workshop with themes of environmental responsibility and sustainability, in collaboration with BayTree Cookery Academy. BayTree will explore how to reduce single use plastics and create dishes accessible to low income families, whilst B4BioDiversity will be holding a beeswax candle workshop, giving insight into supporting the bee population in your areas.
Independent film returns to the festival for 2022 as FACT will screen ‘Displaced’ – the cinematic reimagining of Akeim Toussaint Buck’s one-man dance theatre show, Windows of Dispalcement, on 30th September.
Akeim himself will also be holding a workshop on voice and movement at VideOydyssey Studio Toxteth TV on 1st October.
Gallery 455 on Smithdown Road will play host to BlackFest’s visual arts offering this year, featuring work from the likes of Leroy Cooper and Jioni Warner, along with returning artists Layla Gibiliru (2019) and – after an acclaimed showcase last year – Gold Akanbi.
All four artists will also be hosting workshops as part of the festival in October as part of Black History Month.
BlackFest’s annual discussion panel also makes a welcome return, rebranded as Diasporic Dialogues, and will take place at the Museum of Liverpool on October 2nd. Hosted by prolific L8 activist, Ray Quarless, the panel this year will also feature Jimi Jagne, Professor Stephen Small and more talking heads to be announced very soon.
Many of the festival events are free to attend (with donations hugely appreciated) and those wanting to attend all the ticketed events can save up to £50 by purchasing a Festival Pass.
BlackFest 2022 runs from 24th September until the 29th October and tickets for all events are available now via Eventbrite.