Tag Archives: Stilt Walkers

Fusion Festival Lights up Gravesend Town Centre

The colourful and vibrant Cohesion Plus produced Fusion Festival came to Gravesend Town Centre on Saturday June 15. The pop up street festival showcased a range of artists and art forms including a roaming elephant, dancing lions, mime artists, samba, bhangra, brass, choir and calypso.

The aim of the festival was to bring culturally diverse arts to the heart of local communities and to showcase new performances especially in an area like Gravesham which has had traditionally low levels of engagement with the arts.

The Festival also saw the premiere of Cohesion Plus’s new production working with Festive Road the “Dancing Maharaja’s” which brought the Town Centre to a standstill. The show features a large colourful elephant accompanied by an entourage of bhangra dancers and dhol drummers from Four by Four Bhangra. The show was part processional and part static performance with lots of interaction with the crowd.

Other highlights included performances by Bloco Fogo Samba, No Street Limit Band, Dancing Chinese Lions and the Rock Choir as well as stilt walkers, mime artists and LV21 who delivered interactive arts workshops for young people.

The festival was organised by Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council, and was supported by Gravesham Borough Council and Arts Council England.

According to Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus “There was a real positive vibe in the town centre during the Fusion Festival and I am very proud of what we achieved. I believe strongly that the arts is a great way of bringing communities together and the Fusion Festival is an example of this. We had some great culturally diverse artists performing from different genres and the response to the Dancing Maharajas show was excellent.”

Gravesham Fusion Festival 2019

The popular street based Fusion Festival will be taking place in Gravesend Town Centre and the Gravesham Borough Market on Saturday 15th June between 10.30am to 2.30pm. The festival will bring exciting street artists and art forms to the heart of the local community with performances taking place around the Town Centre including on the High Street, King Street, new Road as well as in Gravesend Borough Market and Windmill Street.

Highlights include Gravesend based No Limit Street Band, Bloco Fogo Samba, Chinese Lions, The Rock Choir, Phase 5 Steel Band and an array of street performers including stilt walkers and human statues. The Festival will also see the premiere of Cohesion Plus’s new production working with Festive Road called the “Dancing Maharaja’s” which will feature a large colourful elephant accompanied by an entourage of dancers and drummers.

The festival is organised by Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Gravesham Borough Council and is supported by Arts Council England.

According to Gurvinder Sandher the Festival Producer “The Fusion Festival has always been a stellar day out for the family and builds upon our recent successful Saint George’s Day celebrations which highlighted the positive community relations enjoyed in the borough. Watch out for the roaming elephant, the giant stilt walkers and the amazing human statutes as you make your way through town! The festival brings an exciting array of culturally diverse performers into the heart of Gravesend transforming the town into a hive of creative activity. We hope the local community will come down and enjoy what promises to be an amazing day out.”

St Georges Day 23rd April

Preparations are now at an advanced stage for some of the biggest Saint George’s celebrations in the South East taking place in Gravesham and Dartford on Saint George’s Day itself Tuesday April 23rd. This year 22 local schools across the 2 boroughs have been taking part in arts workshops run by arts organisation Same Sky in the lead up to the parade and will display what they have made during the parade itself. The ethos of the event is to celebrate diverse England in the context of 2019 and to educate young people about Saint George the patron Saint of England.

Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “At a time of great division in our country I believe that it is important that we celebrate events like Saint George’s Day as there is more that bind us together as communities than divides us. I am very proud of what we have achieved over the last 10 years in Gravesham and Dartford with the celebrations and I hope like previous years that the local community will come out and wave the flag of Saint George with pride. The young people from Gravesham and Dartford who will participate in the parade have been working very hard over the past few months in preparation and this is a great example of how the arts can be used to bring people together.”

The celebrations in Gravesham will take place between 10am and 11.30am and in Dartford from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. Entertainment including Big Fish Brass Band, DDFK and Premier Brass Bands, West Hill Morris, Hartley Morris Men, Saint George’s themed Stilt Walkers, a Saint George in full armor and a large scale dragon will feature.

The annual celebrations are organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership Kent Equality Cohesion Council, supported by Gravesham Borough Council, Dartford Borough Council and Arts Council England.

The arts brings communities together for Saint George’s Day

The arts brings communities together for Saint George’s Day

Some of the biggest celebrations in England to commemorate Saint George’s Day took place in Gravesham on Monday April 23rd. 600 Children from 14 local schools took part in the event which was organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council supported by Gravesham Borough Council. The aim of the event was to celebrate the patron Saint of England and bring together the diverse communities in a large scale celebration.

The day kicked off with celebrations in Gravesend Town Centre with performances from Brass Volcanoes, Premier Brass Band and Saint George themed stilt walkers who entertained large crowds.

The highlight of the celebrations was the schools parade which was led by Saint George enacted by Gravesham resident Russel Palmer who was followed by a large scale dragon. They were followed by the Mayor of Gravesham Harold Craske and local dignitaries and partners including the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott and Deputy Lord Lieutenants of Kent, Dr. Bhargwara Vasudaven and Rosemary Dymond.

The 14 school paraded behind accompanied by Premier Brass, Brass Volcanoes, Folkin Fusion Drumming Collective, Stilt Walkers and artistic partners LV21 and Same Sky.

The Parade went up the High Street into King Street, through Saint George’s Shopping Centre and then headed back through town before finishing on Community Square. Throughout the parade members of the public waved their flags of Saint George and encouraged the children as the parade went by.

Once the parade climaxed on Community Square the 600 school children sang Happy Birthday to HM The Queen to celebrate her 92nd birthday. The festivities climaxed with a special rendition of Land of Hope and Glory performed by Premier Brass Band and the Folkin Fusion Drumming Collective before the flag of Saint George was raised high above the Community Square as the national anthem was played by the Borough Band.

Gurvinder Sandher Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “I am humbled by the positive response we received today not only from the participants but also from our partners and members of the public. So many people came to congratulate me on the successful celebrations. I passionately believe that events like Saint George’s Day should be celebrated as a means of bringing communities together. If anyone wonders about the benefit of events like Saint George’s Day they only had to be in Gravesham this morning to see.”

Dartford Festival of light poster

Dartford Festival of Light 2017

The annual Dartford Festival of Light which is now in its 9th year will take place on Friday October 20th between 6pm and 7.30pm. The aim of the Festival is to bring the communities of Dartford together through the arts and promote key British values of respect, excellence, friendship and equality.

The Festival is organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council with the support of Dartford Borough Council and Arts Council England,

Work has already taken place in the build up with artistic partners Same Sky Arts having delivered creative workshops in 9 local schools with some 450 young people from across the borough benefiting.

The Festival will feature entertainment on Dartford High Street between 6pm and 6.30pm including performances by Brass Volcanoes Jazz Band, Folk in Beats African and Asian Drumming Collective and colourful Stilt Walkers. Entertainment will also take place outside Dartford Train Station where Bloco Fogo will welcome train commuters with their high energy Samba drumming performance.

9 local schools will then take part in a lantern parade starting around 6.30pm which will also involve the musicians and stilt walkers. The parade will be led by the Mayor of Dartford Rosanna Currans, Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus Gurvinder Sandher and the Leader of Dartford Borough Council Jeremy Kite MBE and will start on One Bell Corner in the High Street. It will then go via Hythe Street, the Orchard Shopping Centre and Market Street to Central Park where it will climax by the Band Stand.

Once the Festival reaches Central Park after a series of short performances and presentations to the schools, there will be a spectacular fireworks and lights display to climax the celebrations delivered by the awards winning Phoenix Fireworks.

According to Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus “I am very grateful for the ongoing support provided by Dartford Borough Council and local schools which has allowed the Dartford Festival of Light to become one of the key annual artistic celebrations in the Borough. I believe events like this are important not only to showcase the positive contributions the arts can make in bringing communities together but also as a means of celebrating our shared values which make Dartford the borough that it is.”