Simmer Down

Partners: Art Council England, Perry Bar Arts Forum, Birmingham City Council

Aim: To provide a relevant, credible, engaging family arts festival in North Birmingham (Handsworth Park) linking arts organisations with low engagement audiences.

Project description:

Simmer Down is a free family music/arts festival held in Handsworth Park and rooted in the diverse communities of Birmingham. The programme uses Reggae as a hook for audiences to experience the diverse range of cultural activity in the region, including music, dance, visual art, workshops and outreach. Simmer Down connects with ‘hard-to-reach’ audiences with attendance growing from 2000 to 6000 between 2010 -2013. It was my role to deliver the festival in 2014. I successfully secured funding and sponsorship for the festival. This was the first year the festival had received any funding. I expanded the festival to include a new commissioning strand, a six week schools programme and a 2nd ‘world of music/dance’ stage. The festivals theme in 2014 was ‘home coming’ and was headlined by Steele Pulse performing on the 20th Anniversary of their famous Handsworth Park gig. We achieved and audience of over 15000.

‘The Best Simmer Down by far’ – Sharon Palmer, Chair Simmer Down CIC – (Regional Action West Midlands)

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