Birmingham Was where the party was most definitely at this first weekend in August as the city centre had a complete Jamaica takeover with 3 full days of celebrations with Reggae, live music and conscious poetry as well as incredible local talent that made debut on the stage.
Victoria Square was piled in with not only the local Jamaican community but revellers that had come from across the country to join what was the UKs biggest Jamaican Independence Day celebrations. As the island celebrated its 55 year birthday the joy and spirit of the community coming together in Birmingham’s centre was capped with moments of magic with local support of jamaican causes, family businesses and community initiatives as well as the stage hosting and showcasing both local talent, traditional vibes and giving support to the young talent that both the Jamaican community and birmingham has to offer. At one point saturday evening the whole square was singing to the a newly married couple and their wedding party on the balcony facing in to the square because they waved and danced after they’d got hitched. It’s moments like this, a whole community acting in love and welcoming to share in the joy of music, dancing and coming together, that makes us remember the importance of independence as well as acceptance in our modern lives. This festival really captured something special.
Whilst the square was set in a constant plume of smoke rising from the sizzling Jerk BBQs the mix of home made Jamaican food was the best Jamaican food festival we’ve been too – and the queues were testament to the flavours. During the day the Black International Film festival made the Square an interactive festival film experience as they live screened Festival favourites, past winners and spotlighted essential Jamaican history shorts… there was nothing better to do on a sunny afternoon than drink rum and mix with the community whilst also watching Marley on the big screen. As for how a film festival can work inside a music festival, Black International Film Festival are making new waves. Check out some of the coverage here