Over 1400 local artists both young and old are set to showcase their talents alongside national and international acts at this year’s Bradford Festival.
The Bradford Council organised festival opens on Friday, 8 July with over a 1000 young artists from local schools staging an eight hour programme of music and specially created musical and dance pieces.
Highlights will include the district’s top youth ensemble, the Bradford Youth Orchestra who will perform a Bollywood dance version of Bizet’s opera Carmen, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Elgar’s Chanson de Matin, a James Bond medley, and themes from Pirates of the Caribbean
There will also be woodwind and junior orchestras, rock and samba bands, dance troupes and percussion groups.
Over 900 school children from 14 schools will combine to perform a Big Sing, a mass choir performance of I’m A Believer by The Monkees, I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas, Rockstar by Vaccarino/Axel and Sing by Gary Barlow.
Later that evening, Bradford band, Nervous ‘Orse will perform a wide range of songs with powerful four-part harmonies.
Bradford Playhouse will debut an original interactive piece of theatre, Escape from the Invisible Zoo.
Children attending the festival will be called upon to use their collective imagination and knowledge to the get the ‘escaped animals’ back into their cages.
Bradford author, Irene Lofthouse, will bring ghosts, headless horsemen, phantom carriages, brownies, boggarts, hauntings and time-shifting gargoyles to life in a selection of spooky stories inspired by local myths, legends, landscape and history in Strange Tales in a Tent.
Shipley arts company, Q20 Theatre, will delight audiences with a mad-cap interactive street theatre piece, The MirrorMen, where the characters reflect each other and everything around them, including their audience.
Puppet and lantern makers, Cecil Green Arts, returns to the festival with a brand new colourful giant puppet performance, Out of the Ashes, which is inspired by the Drummond Mill fire in which they lost all their artworks.
Inspired by Where’s Wally?, Where is Wendy? by local theatrical company, Same Difference, is an interactive street theatre piece where the audience helps two lost characters to find each other.
Bradford-based visual artist, Zareena Bano Saeed, brings a spiritual Eastern flavour to the festival with Sufi Soul workshops where painting and music will be combined to evoke lands of the East, Persia and Andalusia.
Proving Bradford produces interesting and unusual cultural fusions, Shah-e-Mardaan band members of Pakistan Muslim, Punjabi Sikh and Polish Catholic descent will play ‘Qawwali’, a form of mystical Sufi devotional music.
People will have the opportunity to learn spiritual and therapeutic rhythms of the ancient Ibos from Eastern Nigeria in African drumming workshops run by Bradford-based musician, Moses Ekebuisi.
African outfits will be available for those who want to dance to the rhythms.
Discarded fabrics will be transformed into reusable shopping bags in sewing workshops by Bradford textile arts company, Creative Flare Yorkshire.
Festival goers will be able to see beautiful charcoal drawings created right before their eyes in Lou Sumray’s Promenading Artist.
Folk music fans will enjoy the York-based multi-award winning Irish folk musician, Paula Ryan and celebrated Leeds acoustic band, Phil Cockerham Trio.
Local favourites Gerry Cooper and Phil Snell bring their repertoire of blues, rags and hokum songs from the 1920s and 1930s.
Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This year’s festival is packed with interesting things to see and do, and we are delighted to see so many local artists taking part.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to work alongside, national and international artists and showcase Bradford’s vibrant music and arts scene.”
The Bradford Festival will be staged in Bradford City Park from 8 to 10 July.
For more information visit www.bradfordfestival.org.uk or follow the Bradford Festival on Facebook and Twitter.