In this blog post, our producer Oli Page reflects on his experience programming the music for past editions of Journeys Festival International ahead of #JFILeics 2019. Read his thoughts below.
I have been fortunate enough over the last three years to curate a programme of music for Journeys Festival International. Each year presents a new challenge to discover gifted individuals or groups and provide the platform that they deserve to showcase their incredible talent.
I joined the ArtReach office in May 2017 and this was one of the first tasks assigned to me, which allowed me to hit the ground running. However, I’m no stranger to the JFI stage having worked as the stage manager since 2015 on a freelance basis. During this time, I have been able to work with not only talented performers, but absolutely outstanding human beings who bring such positive energy and charisma to the Festival.
Ranging from emerging artists like Leicester’s own Lydia Lutudi to internationally established groups such as Kudaushe Matimba + Harare and Aar Maanta. There have been some who have gone on to make such a big splash in the UK and further European festival scenes such as Afrikan Boy, JP Bimeni and the Black Belts, 47 Soul and Namvula.
Now that the Festival has been running in Manchester and Portsmouth for the last few years, we’ve been able to expand our pool of performers and get to know locally based artists in different places. They all come with their own stories representing themselves as individuals and the tales of their home countries.
It has been such an honour to be a part of this wonderful Festival for so many years and to see it grow from strength to strength has been encouraging and heart-warming. We’ve taken the live music stage to various locations in Leicester. Originally, we set up in Town Hall Square when I had just started out as a volunteer to Orton Square in the Cultural Quarter to its current home on Jubilee Square.
I hope that as we found a place to call home for our Festival, the amazing artists and performers have found theirs too.
Journeys Live will be taking place on Friday 16th August at Jubilee Square with the programme starting at 4pm. The programme will feature US soul singer Lydia Lutudi, Mozambican MC Mohammed Yahya, Scottish-Zambian band Namvula and Zimbabwe’s Kudaushe Matimba + Harare.
For more information on 2019's events for Journeys Festival International Leicester, read our guide below.