Liberty Festival returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

24 July 2015

Mbongwana Star, the acclaimed new seven piece band from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, are to headline the music stage at this year's Liberty Festival, which returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 26 July. The free event, organised by the Mayor of London, will be the cultural highlight of this weekend's Sainsbury's Anniversary Games and National Paralympic Day. With debut album 'From Kinshasa' now released, and fresh from a European Tour, including a performance at Womad, Mbongwana Star are bringing their energetic meshing of percussion, guitars and voices to the popular and trailblazing showcase of Deaf and disabled artists. They are part of a genuinely eclectic and entertaining line-up of live music, theatrical spectacle, dance, comedy and more, with something for everyone to enjoy. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'We've a fantastic variety of artists and performers at this year's Liberty Festival, with a little bit of something for everybody to enjoy. It underlines why London is not just at the vanguard of disability arts, but is one of the great cultural capitals of the world. This superb line-up and the addition of top-flight sport is another reason to visit this beautiful park.' Also on the line-up is the brand new dance work 'Louder than Words', which has been created by award-winning choreographer Cathy Waller. It features two dancers competing, testing and aiming to outdo each other, whilst being challenged by the beat-heavy instrumentation and percussion played live by the musician on stage with them. The pioneering dance company StopGap are paying tribute to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, with the quirky show 'Bill and Bobby'. Another highlight, 'Weighting', is a thrilling aerial show by Extraordinary Bodies, a collaborative partnership between Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, which will be accompanied by a five-piece band playing an original score and a community choir from Southwark. The day includes premieres of two new works that have been specially commissioned for Liberty with Arts Council England funding. Extant, Britain's leading professional performing arts company of visually impaired people, are creating a new work with playful public realm arts company, Bureau of Silly Ideas. 'ComBUStion' invites audiences to form an orderly queue at the bus stop, and wait for the chance to participate in a London Bus ride with a difference... The second new commission is 'Shamal', a collaboration between visual artist Rachel Gadsden and Alan Parkinson's Architects of Air who are bringing their 'Arborica' Luminarium to Liberty. This newly designed inflatable structure, full of light and colour and borrowing from Islamic architecture, provides a luscious backdrop to host Gadsden's multidisciplinary performance including live painting. 'Shamal' is inspired by the Middle Eastern desert winds and stories of migration. Other music on the day includes Revenge of Calculon, who perform wearing Mexican wrestling luchador masks and are bringing their own unique dirt-synth sound, combining lo-fi beats, funk, radio static and 1970s analogue synths. Indian music maker Baluji Shrivastav, who has brought together talented musicians with visual impairments from around the world, is also performing with songs from India, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Nigeria and America. Irish born singer Joan Coffey is performing her distinctive style to contemporary acoustic folk, whilst Ivan Riches supported by Drake Music will be creating big beats for Deaf access, collaborating with a troupe of musicians including Deaf rapper MC Geezer and vocalist Mik Scarlet, who has become a television regular in the last few years. Moroccan maestro musician Hassan Eraji is also bringing his jazz inflected sounds to the music stage. Other activities at Liberty include a pop-up art studio from Ifeoma Orjiekwe, fusing influences from Nigeria to Deptford; 'Around the World in 80 Days', an interactive digital photo booth by CoolTan Arts; 'Soundlab, a digital music making project by Heart n Soul; and 'Acts of Memory' in association with award-winning disabled theatre company Graeae, which features a collective, multilingual and signed recitation, from memory, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights originally devised by artist Monica Ross. Children's activities include Kazzum's storytelling performance and social event 'Nana's Jumble' and there will be a giant Inuit puppetry walkabout from Sophie Partridge with 'Song of Semmersuaq'. There will also be film screenings in a mini-cinema, DJ sets, plus community arts from Newham based Together 2012! and displays and taster sessions with the Wheelchair Dance Sports Association. The Liberty Festival takes place in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park alongside National Paralympic Day. Anyone visiting the park, whether disabled or non-disabled, will also have the opportunity to join in a variety of "come and try" sports activities – all for free – as well as meet some of their sporting heroes. The park is also hosting top-flight sport on the day, with Paralympic champions, including David Weir, Ellie Simmonds, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Ollie Hynd, returning to the iconic venues of the London 2012 Games for a day of fantastic sporting competition. It includes international para-swimming competition in the London Aquatics Centre and the final day of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games, incorporating the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final, in the Stadium. With just over a year to go to the 2016 Paralympic Games, it offers sports fans a chance to cheer on our Paralympic GB heroes as they prepare for Rio! There will also be a chance to meet some of the athletes! The sporting competition is ticketed. Liberty is organised by the Mayor and supported with Lottery funding by Arts Council England; Unison and Transport for London. The event is assisted by an advisory group which includes: Attitude is Everything, Shape, Artsline, Heart n Soul and Graeae. Liberty is organised by the Mayor and supported with Lottery funding by Arts Council England; Unison and Transport for London. The event is assisted by an advisory group which includes: Attitude is Everything, Shape, Artsline, Heart n Soul and Graeae. Deputy Mayor of London Roger Evans, who will be attending Sunday's event, said: 'The Mayor’s Liberty Festival alongside National Paralympic Day will provide a thrilling climax to a fantastic weekend of sport at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park . I encourage people to come and visit the park on Sunday for what will be a wonderful day event.' Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: 'The Mayor of London's annual Liberty Festival provides an amazing platform for audiences to engage with first class arts and we are pleased to be able to support it through our Grants for the arts programme. From Congolese band Mbongwana Star to 'Shamal', a collaboration between visual artist Rachel Gadsden and Alan Parkinson's Architects of Air, the programme is diverse and inspirational. This year's programme includes a wealth of high profile work, premieres and world music by Deaf and disabled artists. Whether you are forming an orderly queue at the bus stop with Extant and the Bureau of Silly Ideas or marvelling at 'Weighting', an aerial circus show by Extraordinary Bodies, a partnership between Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, the Liberty festival will be a wonderful experience for all. For information about Liberty and the sporting competition in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this weekend go to www.london.gov.uk/liberty. Event: Mayor's Liberty Festival / National Paralympic Day Date: Sunday 26 July 2015 Time: 11am-6.30pm Venue: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Entry: FREE Information: www.london.gov.uk/liberty Notes to editors The Mayor of London's Liberty Festival has for more than a decade been the UK's most high profile outdoor platform for Deaf and disabled artists, helping pave the way for events such as 'Unlimited', which was staged as part of the London 2012 Festival. Liberty is organised by the Mayor and supported with Lottery funding by Arts Council England. More details about this year's event will be announced shortly. For more information please contact Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 / email [email protected]. www.london.gov.uk/liberty. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park London's newest visitor destination, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is a place unlike any other. Visitors to the Park are able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, world-famous sporting venues, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. As a new heart for east London, the Park will also provide new homes, jobs and a cultural and education quarter. The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Stadium is owned by the E20 Stadium LLP which is a joint venture Limited Liability Partnership between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council specifically set up to transform and manage the Stadium. For more information visit QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter @noordinarypark and like us on Facebook facebook.com/QueenElizabethOlympicPark. The British Paralympic Association The British Paralympic Association is the National Paralympic Committee for the UK, responsible for the promotion of the Paralympic movement in Great Britain and selecting, entering and funding the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic team. ParalympicsGB is the name for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic Team that competes at the summer and winter Paralympic Games. The Team is selected and managed by the British Paralympic Association, in conjunction with the national governing bodies, and is made up of the best sportsmen and women who compete in the 22 summer and four winter sports on the Paralympic Programme. There is only one Paralympic team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland; ParalympicsGB. There is not a Paralympic swimming team or Paralympic tennis team. The individual sports join to become ParalympicsGB, the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic Team. We are proud of our tradition of outstanding performance at the Paralympic Games: ParalympicsGB finished second in the medals table at three consecutive summer Paralympic Games and won 120 medals at London 2012. The BPA would like to thank the National Lottery and our official partners adidas, ASOS, BP, BT, Deloitte, EDF Energy, Hogan Lovells, Mondelēz International, Nissan and Sainsbury's for their support. National Paralympic Day is supported by Spirit of 2012 Spirit of 2012 was established by the Big Lottery Fund in November 2013 with an endowment of £47m. Spirit invests in happiness. Its vision is that all people are equally empowered to get out, be involved and feel better. It recreates the spirit that radiated from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by investing in events as catalysts for change for people and communities across the UK. We promote wellbeing and social cohesion and challenge limiting perceptions of disability by funding partners that provide opportunities in sports, physical activity, arts and culture, volunteering and social action. www.spiritof2012trust.org.uk @So2012Trust Sainsbury's Anniversary Games The Sainsbury's Anniversary Games event weekend includes a two-day Diamond League meeting on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th July, the Sainsbury's IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final taking place on Sunday 26th July, and the 5x5k Diamond Relay road race on the evening of Monday 27th July. Sainsbury's Sainsbury's is proud to be a long-term supporter of British Athletics and a champion of inclusive sport for all, from grassroots to elite level. The partnership with British Athletics builds on Sainsbury's support for the 2012 Paralympics and recognises that sport can unite and inspire children of all ages and abilities. In addition to being the Major Event Series partner of British Athletics, Sainsbury's sponsors the Sainsbury's Schools Games, which sees millions of school children take part in competitive sport each year, with 1,600 young elite athletes competing annually in a high level multi-sport event. Through the help of customers, Sainsbury's has donated over £150million of sports and activity equipment and experiences, through its Active Kids programme. The company also proudly supports Comic Relief and raised £6.7m for its Sport Relief campaign in 2014. For more information on Sainsbury's commitment to inclusive sport visit: www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids UK Athletics UK Athletics is the national governing body of the leading Olympic and Paralympic sport in Britain. British Athletics is the sport we represent, the people, the athletes, the fans, the team. We work closely with the home countries to develop and grow all areas of the sport including elite performance, coaching, major international events, competition and grassroots programmes within schools and clubs. For more information visit www.britishathletics.org.uk Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/britishathletics Twitter – @britathletics Youtube – youtube.com/britishathleticstv Arts Council England Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 or email [email protected] (press only - not for publication). PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000