This coming week, head to north London to mark the 75th anniversary of HMS Windrush landing on our shores with music, spoken word, art, film, and a family-friendly block party.
This year’s Windrush Festival is curated in partnership with the local community and has a bold programme, inspired by Professor Laura Serrant’s poem You Called… And We Came — a powerful homage to the Windrush generation. It’s taking place from Monday to Saturday with music ranging from reggae to opera, authentic Caribbean cuisine to tuck into and the unveiling of a new art installation.
You’ll find the festival paying tribute to the hopes and dreams of the Windrush generation at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. The week will also have DJs, arts and crafts, pop-up stalls and a photo exhibition as part of the events programme.
A full week of music, art and film
Pegasus Opera are presenting a Windrush Anniversary Concert, hosted by international opera star and company artistic director Alison Buchanan, alongside acclaimed Jamaican folk singer Adwoa Dickson. The evening features gospel, spirituals, opera and musical theatre songs inspired by the Black diaspora — all performed by eminent global majority classical singers with music by composers of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage.
As a bonus, Pegasus Opera are performing an extract of their brand new Windrush Opera. It’s inspired by the stories of the Windrush generation, and the full production’s touring the UK next year. The opera has music by composers such as Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Shirley J. Thompson, Errollyn Wallen and Scott Joplin.
An artwork by artist Elsa James, titled Ode to David Lammy MP, is being revealed just before the concert begins. The piece is inspired by an emotive speech made by the Tottenham MP in 2018, responding to the Windrush scandal.
The Black Lens Windrush Special are screening 1972 crime movie masterpiece The Harder They Come, which was written, produced and directed by Jamaican born Perry Henzell. The classic helped promote reggae and roots as a cultural force. It drove the world to recognise Jamaica as the innovatively creative hotspot it had always been, delivering a soundtrack that remains one of cinema’s finest. The night kicks off with a performance from Reggae Choir, followed by a DJ set from DJ Ayito to end the night on a high.
A festival for all ages
The Windrush Block Party wraps up the festival. This open-air, one-day event is family friendly. In the square, there’s live music, spoken word, arts and crafts, pop-up stalls and workshops. There’ll be artists including Steppaz, Reggae Choir, DJs Chantz Dee, Dionne Reid and DJ Donnie Sunshine to enjoy. Plus, you can tuck into tasty Caribbean and African food courtesy of Black Eats.
BGAC are also marking the occasion by welcoming more than 300 local school children to the venue for their own bespoke festival.
About the Bernie Grant Arts Centre
The Bernie Grant Arts Centre is a unique multi-art form venue in Tottenham, inspired by the vision of the late Bernie Grant MP. It’s housed in an iconic building, that’s designed by acclaimed architect David Adjaye, making it a Tottenham High Street landmark.
BGAC invests in the creativity of Black artists, amplifying Black storytelling across all art forms and develops new audiences for this work by attracting the broadest possible range of people to it. In the process it provides valuable career opportunities within the arts for those from underrepresented backgrounds – addressing the inequity of access that’s endemic in the borough and beyond.
Want to fill your summer with festivals and culture? Head over this way, to get some ideas for things to do and events to check out.
When: 19th – 24th June 2023
Where: Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, London N15 4RX
£: Tickets for events cost from £5 with Pay What You Can and free tickets for over 65s and under 2s to keep it accessible
More info: www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk