We are nearing that time of year where Brighton is flooded with arts and culture festivals. Following shortly after the Fringe, Brighton Festival runs from 4th- 26th May.

This year’s Brighton Festival aims to celebrate the diversity of the arts, delving into not only the racial aspect but all pockets of culture that surround and fill our city.

A perfect example of this is the festival’s partnership with communities in Hangleton and Whitehawk. Following the success of 2017’s ‘Your Place’ which encourages social, not elitist, art on the doorstep of these residential areas. The festival will be carrying this on with a larger emphasis for music and dance.

Guest director Rokia Traoré is going to expand diversity by bringing elements from her hometown, Bamako in Mali, where anything you experience is ‘spirited and inspired’. Traoré is not just working on solo projects but also “bringing our worlds to an audience” with a wide array of artists including, photographer Fototala King Massassy (4th – 26th May, 11-5, Phoenix Gallery) and traditional string and percussion band Ko Saba (22nd May, 8pm, The Old Market).

Traoré goes on to say that issues surrounding diversity are not just “something happening far away or something [you] see on TV but what’s in [your] city.” This striking comment makes you wonder if Brighton Festival is what the UK and the world needs right. A celebration of the vastness of cultures and stories that have been passed on through generations, reminding us to persevere.

The festival opens, on 4th May at 10:30am, with the Children’s Parade from Kensington Street to Madeira Drive – telling stories and folk tales from across the globe.

Other highlights include Newtoy’s ‘Wet Sounds’ at Prince Regent Swimming Pool, a sound and light installation reimagining the experiences of a public swimming allowing a liberating and relaxing experience.

Continuing the legacy from guest director Kate Tempest in 2017, ‘The Storytelling Army’ (18th May, 6:30pm, Queen’s Park & 19th May, 4pm, Worthing Café) is back with music and spoken word performances from local musicians. They will be telling their stories of grief, joy and perseverance.

People of colour magazine, Gal-dem’s Deputy Editor, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, poets Zena Edwards and Roger Robinson as well as Sharmaine Lovegrove present ‘Some Small Isle’ which explores how the black experience is documented (5th May, 7:30pm, Brighton and Hove High School).

Dance collective, TRIBE presents ‘Still I Rise’ an all-female cast paying tribute to Maya Angelou and a desire to continue pushing through the tide (22 May, 8pm, Theatre Royal Brighton & 23rd May, 7:30, Connaught Theatre, Worthing).

For the full listings and more information, visit https://brightonfestival.org/

Photo by Fototala King Massassy

Categories: Music

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