BlackFest is a grassroots Liverpool Black arts festival founded in 2018, providing a platform and showcasing an eclectic mix of work from Black creatives, across community spaces and established venues.
Taking place from Monday 23rd September and offering an event every day of the week until Sunday 29th September, Blackfest is all about celebrating arts and inclusion and provides a platform for anyone who is marginalised for their race of ethnicity.
With community at its heart, Blackfest 2019 events aim to start conversations and collaborations with new and established artists and arts organisations as well as drawing people from the Liverpool area together.
We caught up with Blue Saint, one of the Blackfest Co-founders to find out more. Blue said: “I met Jubeda at a slate night at the Unity Theatre and when we realised just how much talent there was in the BAME community, we knew we had to create a platform and community for artists to thrive.
“Blackfest 2018 was more of a pilot really, we financed it out of our own pockets. This year, it’s grown so much, we’ve got such an amazing line up which represents lots of different art mediums such as dance, music, film, spoken word, film, theatre. There’s something different every day.
“If there was one event I would love people to get involved with it’s the Diversity Dialogue session at International Slavery Museum on Sunday morning. We’re going to be talking about how we can continue to create diversity, how can we as a city come together more and develop opportunities for everyone.”
The Festival answers a crucial need in the city’s cultural offering, celebrating Black arts and inclusion. This year’s festival, BlackFest will encompass active conversations and collaborations with established arts organisations.
Blackfest is delighted to have a number of official supporters on board this year including The Arts Council England, LCVS, Awesome Liverpool and more. Host venues include; Blackburne House, Everyman Theatre, The Bluecoat, 24 Kitchen Street, International Slavery Museum and more have pledged their support.
To kick start the Blackfest celebrations, Unity Theatre is hosting a Scratch Night from 6pm on Monday. This opening night, 20 minute immersive exploration of Black experiences includes dance, excerpts of spoken word poetry, music and two plays. Tickets here.
It’s all about the big screen at BlackFest on Tuesday. From 10am – 12pm Blackfest Independent Film presents First Take’s ‘Pink: Past and Present. An award-winning film-making and digital art organisation, First Take is working within diverse communities creating films that tell authentic, edgy, untold stories. Get your tickets and find out more here.
The main aim of Blackfest is to unite communities and in keeping with that, Blackburne House is hosting a healing day. Open to everyone of all ages and free to attend, the Healing Day is a chance for the community to come together, network, view and shop local businesses at a range of stalls including Lush! Find out more here.
You’re invited to enjoy a night of music and rhythms from Liverpool’s best up and coming artists as part of a Blackfest celebration for original music. Get to 24 Kitchen Street from 6pm on Wednesday to see the likes of Blue Saint, KYAMI, Day Seb, PAPER PLATES perform live. Tickets here.
Blackfest presents: Hear Me Now at the Everyman Theatre on Thursday from 7pm. Committed to showcasing the exceptional talent of BAME actors, this performance of monologues is taken from a book of 80 audition pieces written by and for actors of colour. Tickets here.
As an official sponsor of Blackfest, Arts Council England is providing open surgeries for artists of colour seeking development, guidance and funding opportunities. All 7 places for this event have been allocated. Good luck to everyone taking part.
The historic Bluecoat is your Saturday Blackfest venue host. Five spoken word artists take you on a journey through Black British experiences, as they bring their identity and culture centre stage.
The readings will cover social, political and economic issues that are webbed into poets lives, creating a co-existence that reflects their dual identities and the multiple layers of what it means to be British today. The performance will be followed by a discussion. Tickets here.
You’re invited to join panel members Cheryl Martin, Curtis Watt, Lateisha Davine Lovelace and Gemma Bodinetz at International Slavery Museums on Sunday from 10am. Diversity Dialogues is an open discussion about the arts scene in Liverpool, focusing on BAME visibility and engagement. Join in the conversation and find out about the cultural offering of diverse arts in the Liverpool area. Tickets and more info here.
Following a whirlwind week of insightful, engaging and entertaining events, Blackfest will close its festival seasons with a huge community celebration at the Royal Philharmonic Hall. Taking place on Wednesday 2nd October, the beginning of Black History month, the Blackfest closing event line up includes community performances and entertainment to bring everybody together to celebrate the multicultural city we live in. Find out more and buy your tickets here.
Sign up with us to receive the latest news, straight to your inbox!