This year Leicester will welcome the first Westival event, a potentially annual community event that comes as part of significant developments to the West End area of the city. Braunstone Gate is set to host the one-day festival on 4th May, which will include separate day and night-time activities.
The area will be closed to traffic and there are opportunities for market traders to sell their wares, with a selection of goods on offer at the numerous stalls, from local produce to arts and crafts or vintage treasures.
Christian Dezelu, the council’s Press Officer, said: “We hope that the festival showcases the uniqueness of the West End and brings in more people to use the West End for shopping and leisure.”
“The aim is to get as wide a range of music and dance as possible. The bars and restaurants will be open and we are looking for a relaxed, chilled atmosphere.”
The organisers are keen to promote home-grown artists at the festival, and music will be its main focus. There will be an eclectic mix of styles, including steel drums, live bands and choirs. It will also give the city a platform to display its performing talents, by incorporating different forms of dance and street entertainment. The day-time is designed to appeal to people from all backgrounds, and attendees can move between the main stage and the two performance areas from 12noon-6pm, depending on their personal tastes.
Things will liven up in the evening, when festival-goers are expected to descend upon the local bars, pubs and restaurants. Owners have been encouraged to source their own acts so that guests can sample a range of entertainment as they go in and out of the venues. The night-time itinerary also includes comedy and poetry, showing that the festival will celebrate a variety of art forms.
Westival has been funded through the city council’s Gateway Improvement Scheme, an incentive which aims to help struggling areas that have been affected by difficult trading conditions. The festival will cost an estimated £225,000 but it is hoped that events like this will bring economic growth as well as cultural recognition to the region. Mr Dezelu is confident that Westival will become a tradition within the city, commenting that “Hopefully this will become an established part of the May Bank Holiday activities for the residents of Leicester.”
For more information on Westival and to apply for a market place, visit: http://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council-services/ep/economic-regeneration/regenerationnews/west-end/events/