Here’s a few words from Sarah Napier, who’s a volunteer helper for a forthcoming event in Leeds…
Planet Leeds multicultural street festival returns to Leeds city centre on Saturday 16 June 2012, 11am-4pm.
It’s a free annual street festival, featuring performers from diverse cultures and communities across the city.
And everyone’s invited!
The festivals have previous featured: Iranian guitarists, homeless theatre groups, belly-dance, Congolese drummers, Chapeltown poets and hip-hop artists, Irish and Indian dance, Eastern European klezmer music, folk, and much more. And Planet Leeds 2012 promises to be even bigger and better!
How did it start? What’s it about?
Planet Leeds started life in 2007 as a positive response to unease and disconnection between the diverse communities of the city: showcasing the high-quality talents of people from a range of backgrounds, and especially those who are typically marginalised, unseen or under-valued. Instead of focusing on the negatives, Planet Leeds provides a positive platform for a range of performers – new and established, young and old, mainstream and niche. And by hosting it in the city centre, it’s an event for all; we live in a fantastically culturally rich city, and have much to celebrate! Indeed, Leeds is the most culturally plural UK city (that is, we have more cultures and ethnicities living alongside one another here) outside of London. Yet too often, we don’t get the opportunity to see, enjoy and appreciate that diversity! Together, we can make a more mixed, connected and vibrant city.
There’s nothing to do but shop…
As well as celebrating Leeds’ diversity, the free festival also aims to help ‘reclaim’ the city centre. Many people are frustrated that the city centre isn’t family-friendly, isn’t a civic space – and is only good for shopping.
So, by taking place in the very heart of the city (Briggate), Planet Leeds seeks to revitalise the city centre: bringing different people together to enjoy themselves at a vibrant, community-led event – without needing to spend a penny!
And we’re looking to work with others over the coming years to develop a summer-long programme of similar events that bring life, colour and community spirit back into the heart of Leeds.
Planet Leeds is an increasingly established event on the Leeds calendar, bringing together some of the city’s most diverse performers.
It’s community-led, run on a shoestring budget by volunteers.
It’s an event for everyone.