Gravesend town centre was brought to a standstill on Friday evening as over 600 schools children, teachers, parents and members of the public were involved in the Festival of Light parade in the second Gravesham Festival of Light parade. The project involved work with 13 schools from Gravesham in the build up. The schools worked with renowned arts company Samesky. In total over 450 young pupils benefited from arts workshops. The children made lanterns and torches which they carried in the parade.

The aim of the Festival of Light was to bring the communities of Gravesham together through the arts, and has been inspired by the Cultural Olympiad which promotes the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship and the Paralympics values of empower, achieve and inspire.

Youngsters danced through the streets with 2 parades starting simultaneously from the front and back entrances of the Saint George’s Shopping Centre. They met at the cross junction outside Woodville Halls before going towards the Woodville Halls Theatre to the sound of drums with Bloco Fogo Samba, Blazing Brass, Four by Four Bhangra and Lucky Moyo African Drummers.

The celebration continued inside the theatre as they enjoyed performances by DJ Lethal Soundz, Four by Four Bhangra, Gravesend Grammar School for Girls and Live Politics as well as interactive activities and exhibitions.

Gurvinder Sandher the Director of Cohesion Plus who co-ordinated the event said “The response we had from the communities of Gravesham was again so positive. I was not sure how the 2 parades would work, but from the feedback I have had it worked really well. There was a real positive buzz in the town centre and it was so pleasing to see the communities of Gravesham coming together as one”

Cabinet Member for Communities Cllr David Turner said: “What a fantastic event this year’s Festival of Light was.

“The balance this year was better than ever. The music and dance was fantastic, it was a very colourful event that everyone seemed to enjoy.”

The Festival of Light has been organised by local arts organisation Cohesion Plus in partnership with North West Kent REC with the support of Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council.

Here are some photos from the event, please click on the photos to make them larger.