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First acts announced for the Bradford Festival

Bradford Council has announced a host of high quality acts and workshops for this year’s Bradford Festival.

The 2018 festival will feature over 20 musical acts, 16 street theatre shows, five dance pieces and 13 workshops. 

The Council will stage lots of highly innovative and colourful street theatre during the festival.

Brilliantly creative Bradford arts organisation, The Brick Box will perform The Little Bubble which has been developed specifically for City Park.

People will be able to relax and rejuvenate in a very special durational ‘spa’ experience. Water diviners and bubble queens will welcome festivalgoers into a watery world which celebrates Bradford’s deep connection to H2O.

Expect colourful costumes, playful water-based activities for families, magical cleansing rituals, watery cocktails and the chance to learn and perform a special watery dance.

Hilarious mad-cap Welsh company, Kitsch & Sync, return to the festival with Babs and Stella’s Intergalactic Spectacular. Conjoined cosmic space cadets from ‘Planet Kitsch’ have crash landed in Bradford. The twins go on a mission to find the evil Dr D. Dreadful and take revenge. But who is good? Who is evil? These cyber siblings will call on audiences for help.

Celebrated Bristol-based street theatre company, Frenetic Engineering, bring Talent Show an interactive piece where anything goes. There will be no nasty judges here and the audience claps to activate the clap-o-meter to decide the winner. Each performance ends with an amazing, no expense-spared awards ceremony to We Are The Champions complete with a party popper pyro finale.

Audiences will be able to experience BBC Radio 4’s first venture into immersive 3D storytelling in “Tell them I’m here!” Quake, Trapped Man by BAFTA Award-winning video production company, BDH Immersive and BBC Radio Drama North.

Trapped Man is a 360-degree, 3D film and is the first episode of a pioneering on-line BBC audio drama series Quake, inspired by the remarkable digital revolution in International Search and Rescue.

Dance lovers will enjoy Culinary Duel by highly innovative, Etta Ermini Dance Theatre.

Based upon the familiar format of cookery shows, Culinary Duel recreates the popular family TV experience animating its absurdity with physical humour, high energy dance, acrobatics and innovative audience participation.

This year’s musical line-up includes an eclectic range of local, national and international music which will suit a wide range of tastes.

Up-and-coming indie folk band, Huw Eddy & The Carnival from Leeds will light up the main stage in Centenary Square with energetic songs with vocal melodies that will tug at the heartstrings. The band blend indie folk with rock and roll and Americana influences finished off with the soulful and uncompromisingly powerful voice of lead singer, Huw Eddy.

Valentino’s Street Band will play a variety of international musical styles with insatiable energy as they parade around City Park. Powerful horns, sizzling accordions, burning rhythms – Valentino’s will dance in the street, propelling festival processions with lively jazz, funk, calypso, New Orleans, Latin and cumbia.

Traditional folk band, Anjaana, were formed in the late 1970s in Bradford and promote understanding, appreciation, and development of Panjabi culture and language. Anjaana will play traditional Bhangra, rustic village music, rhythmic dance songs, folk tales and ballads using authentic Panjabi folk instruments.

Chaotic Klezmer carnival punks, Buffo’s Wake promise to get festival audiences up on their feet with high energy sets containing Eastern European, Balkan, Russian folk, punk rock and cabaret. Band members draws from their diverse backgrounds ranging from Drum ‘n Bass DJ’s to classically trained string players, punks and poets.

The festival will offer a wide range of arts and crafts workshops to get people’s creative juices flowing.

Shipley-based internationally exhibiting artist, Morwenna Catt will set up a Viking-themed tent where people can make magical runes, an ancient script used to cast spells and provide protection in battle, and colourful flags based on fabulous and fearsome Nordic myths and legends. 

People will be able to create themselves in miniature in a unique crafting workshop by local arts company, Creative Flair. Everyone in the family can make and keep a colourful rag doll that resembles themselves in creative sessions designed to send out a positive multicultural message.

Festivalgoers will also enjoy a range of fun fair rides and buy specialty foods and unique gifts from a food, drink and craft market.

In 2017, the festival attracted over 150,000 people into Bradford city.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Environment, Sport and Culture Portfolio Holder, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to come into Bradford and enjoy three days of high quality entertainment.

“The Bradford Festival has a rich variety of street theatre, music, dance and workshops.

“This year’s line-up looks particularly good and there should be something here for everyone. 

“The festival is part of a programme of events and activities designed to bring people together and support economic growth in the city centre.”

The Bradford Festival will be staged in the award winning public space, City Park, from 13-15 July and entry is free.

For further information and updates, visit or follow Bradford Festival on Twitter and Facebook.

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