The Mid­lands’ premi­er fest­iv­al of Black Music and Arts returns for the fifth year this May with its biggest line up so far of unmiss­able artists, DJ’s, comedi­ans, mas­ter­classes, work­shops and dancers.

Festival2Funky, which runs from the 21–27 May 2018, will encom­pass a diverse and vibrant selec­tion of Black Music and Arts designed to allow vis­it­ors the chance to chal­lenge their ears and explore a world of music­al styles includ­ing Afrobeat, Reg­gae, Grime, Gos­pel, Jazz, Soul, RnB, Dub, Jungle, UK Gar­age, Bass and Drum & Bass.

Along­side exhil­ar­at­ing live per­form­ances and open mic sets, fest­iv­al goers can take part in mas­ter­classes and work­shops from industry heavy­weights as well as attend graf­fiti work­shops, DJ sets, urb­an com­edy nights, spoken word per­form­ances and exclus­ive after-partieswhich are all included for the costs of a fest­iv­al wrist­band – just £10 from www.2funkytickets.co.uk.

Fest­iv­al founder, Vijay Mistry, has hand selec­ted some of the UK’s very best BAME musi­cians and artists for this year’s fest­iv­al. “This year’s fest­iv­al is all about giv­ing people the oppor­tun­ity to dis­cov­er new genres and try some­thing new. For just £10, the Festival2Funky wrist­band will give you access to some amaz­ing artists from the fore­front of black music. We want vis­it­ors to go from try­ing one of our Graf­fiti work­shops to wit­ness­ing some amaz­ing live Jazz per­form­ances before sampling a night of Grime or Drum & Bass.”

High­lights of this year’s fest­iv­al include per­form­ances from Lon­don based sax­o­phon­ist Yolan­Da Brown (Monday 21 May, 8pm), whose crit­ic­ally acclaimed work com­bines soul, jazz and reg­gae. Har­leighblu (Tues­day 22 May, 8pm) who com­bines a clas­sic yet truly dis­tinct­ive soul­ful voice with a love of bass and eclect­ic future beats.  ‘God­fath­er of Brit­ish Hip Hop’ Rod­ney P will be per­form­ing (Sunday 27 May, 6pm) with Skitz, plus Skinny­man. The first to rap in his authen­t­ic Lon­don accent, he has gen­er­ated a homegrown hip hop/ reg­gae vibe that is firmly rooted in the UK. Along with Rod­ney P, Brit­ish DJ Skitz pro­duced the first ever track to be played on BBC 1Xtra when the sta­tion launched in 2002 whilst later in the even­ing Sharky Major and Nasty Jack AKA Exclus­ive Grime Ori­gin­als (Sunday 27 May, 11pm will be head­lining, with sup­port from fel­low grime vet­er­ans Fumin, and Dis­cardaDJ Dok and spe­cial guests.

Oth­er key high­lights of Festival2Funky include the Big Fish Little Fish Fam­ily Rave (Sat­urday 26 May, 1.30–4pm), Women In Music, A Debate & Industry Pan­el (Wed­nes­day 23 May, 6pm).    2Funky Com­edy Jam (Fri­day 25 May, 7.30pm) fea­tur­ing -Dizzle The Comedi­an (Best New­comer, Black Com­edy Awards), Aurie Styla, the man who brought you the vir­al com­edy per­form­ance known as ‘Sniper Pose,’ and the sold-out road­show ‘Com­edy Mania. Baba­tunde (Best New­comer, Da Com­edy Fun House), who has fea­tured on BBC 1Xtra, and per­formed at Broad­way Theatre and Hack­ney Empire and Glenda Jack­son, who deliv­ers effort­lessly relat­able anec­dotes and has been hailed as The Queen of Com­edy on the Black com­edy circuit!

 Festival2Funky runs from 21–27 May 2018 at 2Funky Music Café, New Park St, Leicester. For updates on acts and gig times, vis­it: www.2funkymusiccafe.co.uk

 Fest­iv­al wrist­bands (£10) for access to the full 7 days, are avail­able on the door and via www.2funkytickets.co.uk. Selec­ted indi­vidu­al events will be £5 entry (sub­ject to capa­city), and mas­ter­classes & the industry debate will be free.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.