25 June 2014

Africa Oyé Celebrates Record Crowds At 2014 Festival

Africa Oyé Celebrates Record Crowds At 2014 Festival

 (Image courtesy of Tim Edwards)

Africa Oyé Celebrates Record Crowds At 2014 Festival

Africa Oyé - the UK's biggest and FREE annual festival of African and Caribbean culture and music - celebrated record crowds of between 70,000 and 80,000 people across the weekend at its 2014 event.

In typical Oyé fashion, the masses in Sefton Park were an eclectic mix of every age, race, colour and creed, all brought together to celebrate in one of Liverpool's most beautiful environments. Oyé's Artistic Director, Paul Duhaney said that this year's festival was 'beyond his wildest dreams'.

"Seeing so many people from all walks of life smiling and dancing and generally having a good time was just a dream come true for all of us involved in the festival" Duhaney said."It's what the Africa Oyé movement is all about".

The family-friendly festival was headlined by a fantastic set from Finley Quaye on a warm Sunday evening and also featured sets from acts across Africa and the wider diaspora, including Mose 'Fan Fan' and Jupiter and Okwess International from DR Congo, reggae legends Misty In Roots and an homage to the late Somalian legend, Magool featuring vocalist Farxiya Fiska.

There was also a local flavour to the performances as Liverpool's own percussion troupe Beatlife took to the stage on Saturday and as Toxteth-based BrazUKa presented a vibrant performance of music and dance on the Sunday.

Providing the beats in between the main stage acts were South Africa's own DJ Esa and BBC Radio 1Xtra's DJ Edu - both proving big hits in their first Oyé appearances.

The Oyé Active Zone was incredibly popular throughout the weekend with festival-goers of all ages taking part in free workshops - learning skills in music, dance, percussion and singing. The Active Zone was hosted by Movema and also featured teachers from Merseyside Dance Initiative.

On top of all the music and dance there was a whole host of stalls and food for the audience to enjoy as well as some brand new additions for 2014 - a kids' funfair and the 'Trenchtown' area, which featured the Oyé Inn, Caribbean cuisine and more DJ sets in a chilled, relaxed setting.

It was the first year since Oyé's founder, Kenny Murray retired from the organisation and handed over the artistic reigns to long-time colleague, Paul Duhaney. The new Director dedicated the event to Murray in this year's programme:

"Few would have imagined that Kenny would succeed in building an annual celebration of Africa that is now the biggest of its kind in the country and one that is attended by people from all walks of life" Duhaney, said. "We dedicate Oyé 2014 to this unique man whose 'crazy dream' has become this amazing reality".

Africa Oyé would like to extend their thanks to its funders, sponsors, partners, supporters and of course, the Oyé audience, for helping to ensure the festival remains free and open to all.

For more information on Africa Oyé and Oyé Touring & Trading, check out the links below: / / @africaoye #africaoye

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