The Live Streamed Show was broadcast from our local community library hub making use of their excellent performance spaces and great customer support. Being in the heart of Crystal Palace was important for the Festival as we are of the community for the community! The programme featured high quality diverse artists, with a particular focus on emerging and young artists. The Arts Council grant received in February 2020 had specific provision for fees for deaf, disabled and LGBTQi artists and we were able to retain most of the artists we had originally booked for the live park event.
Universal themes of creativity in the face of adversity
Themes that came out loud and clear from the artists were the importance of creativity in the face of adversity with many expressing the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement to their lives. There were many profound and moving moments with young artists referencing Nelson Mandela and BLM, and the tributes to Ty the rapper who sadly died of COVID by the Ragtime to Grime crew and Blak Twang. LGBTQi spoken word artist Lisa Luxx performed her powerful set in a post-explosion Beirut and sent us her film to show during the Festival. Comedic lesbian poet Barbara Brownskirt, in contrast, held forth on her concerns in our studio, making us howl with laughter.
Supporting young artists
We continued our support for young artists, giving them a totally new experience as performers in a studio as opposed to a stage in a live park event. We kicked off the show with the wonderful Crystal Palace based Panash Steel Orchestra, followed by spoken word and music performances from C3 Collective from Croydon, psychedelic jazz from West Norwood’s Azad and Croydon based rappers AR and Kenzo from Croydon Legacy joining the Ragtime to Grime Jam.
On Sunday Jamal Hassan the spoken word artist who won our talent call out wowed the audience with his talent. We showed two films made by Youthsayers, the Brixton based reggae youth band of their versions of A Change is Gonna Come and Racist Friend featuring Rhoda Dakar from the original artists the Special AKA, made during lockdown. Local young singer Jadene Prospere had performed as part of Crystal Palace Lockdown Live, a local online weekly concert during lockdown and now joined us in the studio to perform with Rockaoke as her backing band.
Championing deaf and disabled artists
When we first programmed deaf and disabled artists for the 2017 Festival, Jo Verrant, producer with Unlimited the support organization for these artists said “There is little point programmes like Unlimited funding disabled artists to create exceptional work, if festivals, venues and programmers don’t take the next step and actually book it. To have work placed in the centre of Crystal Palace Festival – and not a single work, but multiple examples of what is possible – is critical for Unlimited. This is the evolution we have been waiting for.”
The latest evolution of our diverse programming for the Festival included dance company Moxie Brawl, spoken word artists Zoe McWhinney and Rinkoo Barparga and cabaret artiste Ebony Rose Dark. Rinkoo’s powerful evocation of growing up south Asian and deaf elicited many emotional responses from our audience. Zoe’s explanation of BSL and poetry as part of her set was both educational and inspiring. Moxie Brawl were prevented from performing live due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel from Manchester but created a fantastic film of their dance theatre piece from looking inside the life of pre-Raphaelite artists’ muse Jane Morris.
Crystal Palace FestivalCrystal Pace
Crystal Palace FestivalCrystal Pace