Youth blaze back to town

The Colours performing at Blaze in Blackpool
The Colours performing at Blaze in Blackpool
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BLACKPOOL’S award-winning festival, Under The Town, is back for its second year on Saturday August 4 at the Grundy Art Gallery on Queen Street in Blackpool.

The event is organised by a group of young people completing their Arts Award with Blackpool Arts Service and will form part of the Blaze summer programme of activities.

Under The Town will showcase an exciting line up of musical talent with 10 bands and singer-songwriters from Blackpool and the North West playing sets of original music.

Headline acts include The Colours and sets from DJ Ben Marshall and the Boom Bike Big Band.

It will also feature films, visuals and fashion shows – all created by the young festival producers with guidance from professional artists.

The fashion shows and visuals will use special lighting techniques to create different atmospheres in each of the spaces, including a chill out den with fairy lights.

The young people have produced the content for the festival in response to the centenary of Blackpool Illuminations and the current exhibition at Grundy by major UK artist Brian Griffiths.

Blaze is an ambitious culture and sport programme led by 13 to 19 year olds which has been running in Lancashire since 2010.

Blaze has been commissioned for We Play, the North West cultural legacy programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.

Blaze is funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from London 2012 by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture with Blackpool Council, remembers last year’s inaugural Under The Town Festival: “It was marvellous to see the young people so focused on making the festival the spectacular success it was.

“They created their own platform to showcase young people’s talent creatively and I am looking forward to seeing what they have planned this year.”

Also being performed at the festival will be Move Off.

The event producers commissioned dance choreographer Sarah Jane Lockwood to work with Blackpool Athletics Club, Blackpool Keidokwai Judo Club, Dance Place and Fusion dance group to create a new performance piece based around their sporting movements and particular dance styles.

Move Off was premiered as one of only a few performances included in the Torch Relay celebrations in June.

Blackpool-born Chris Seddon, 15, is one of the 28 young producers organising the festival. Each of the organisers is aiming to achieve bronze, silver or gold Arts Awards and Chris is going for gold – one of the biggest accolades to recognise the abilities of a creative arts leader.

“It was great to be involved in Under the Town festival last year and this year

“ I have been making lots of the decisions, which is amazing,” he said. “We have been working hard to get everything right for the day and really excited to see it all come together.

“We have really listened to the ideas from our peers in Blackpool about what kind of festival they want Under The Town to be. I can’t wait to see people enjoying themselves.”

Sara Domville, programme manager at Blaze, added: “The group working on Under The Town has done an incredible job.

“They came up with all the ideas and have made them all come to life. It’s setting up to be another great event and they should all be proud of their achievements.

“I wish them all good luck with their Arts Award. “

Under The Town starts at 3pm and finishes at 10pm, with music sets every half an hour until 6pm and then longer sets on the hour.

Tickets are £3 and available from the Grundy Art Gallery before and on the day, but numbers are limited.

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Other Blaze events include Street Quest, an interactive street game created by New York-based games artist Tom Russotti, taking place on September 8 and 9 in Preston city centre.

The summer programme concludes during the final weekend of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with Blaze Festival, bringing an explosion of urban art, music and performance to the WE PLAY Expo celebrations at Preston’s Avenham and Miller Park, part of Preston Guild 2012 and the North West’s closing event for the Games.