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Liverpool Blackfest reveals its 2023 programme

Liverpool’s Blackfest returns for 2023 with a wide range of talks, performances and workshops.

Double MOBO Award winner YolandDa Brown, writer and rapper Ashley Nugent, singer-songwriter Satin Beige and Testament are among the line-up for this year’s event with the main festival programme running from September 25 to October 29.

The award-winning grassroots Black arts festival is set to be officially launched at the Pier Head at noon on August 27 as part of the city’s annual Slavery Remembrance programme and which will showcase what is to come.

Afrodance Academy and Soul City Voices are among those taking part.

Meanwhile award-winning author, playwright, rapper and founder of Rise Up CIC Ashleigh Nugent comes to Liverpool Lighthouse on September 25 to launch his memoir Locks in a special ‘in conversation’.

Locks, published by Picador and which was released in July, explores the prison system, growing up, wising up and finding your place in a world of opposites.

Black Boy Joy Gone, at the Unity Theatre September 26, is a documentary directed by Ashley Karrell and Isaac Ouro-Gnao which blends interviews, poetry, dance and storytelling to capture the lives, realities and the hopeful prospects of men in the North, Midlands and London – amplifying the voice of Black men who are often marginalised and underrepresented in accessing support and wellbeing services.

Then on September 27, Lunch Power Hour at the Tung Auditorium at the University of Liverpool features RnB cellist and singer-songwriter Satin Beige in a free lunchtime concert.

The venue also hosts an evening concert on the same day by double MOBO Award winning YolanDa Brown.

Along with touring and working with legendary names like The Temptations, Jools Holland, Billy Ocean and Dave Stewart, Brown also composes music for TV and is a champion for music education. This year she was made an OBE for services to music, music education and broadcasting.

Sefton Park Palm House hosts a Spoken Word Poetry Night on September 28 featuring Alexis Chioma Maxwell, Naami Soya, Sian the Visionary and Sydney Conteh, while Riddims Night at the Philharmonic Hall on September 30 celebrates 50 years of hip hop with a line-up including headliner Testament.

Moving into October, Diasporic Dialogues at the Museum of Liverpool on October 1 celebrates the life of prolific artist and activist Leroy Cooper.

A sustainable cooking workshop takes place at Granby Winter Garden on October 2, and on October 11, Zenn Liverpool in Victoria Street hosts Fashion Fest, featuring a host of award-winning fashion designers based in Liverpool and Manchester.

Smithdown Social Arts Hub supports this year’s Blackfest Visual Arts programme which is launched at Gallery 455 on October 17, and which is followed over the next week by three workshops – with Oke Ugonna, Hellen Songa and Tony aka Soulfultiz.

The festival concludes on October 27 with a Celebration Night at the Palm House, featuring an exciting line-up of favourite artists and performers.

Blackfest was founded in 2018 and aims to empower and develop work by Black artist across community spaces and established venues, nurturing a vibrant arts community, fostering artistic excellence and bringing people together for powerful shared experiences that aim to inspire social change in the ecology of arts in Liverpool.

Tickets are available for individual events or a festival pass is £85.

Blackfest runs from August 27 to October 29. More HERE


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