GFestival in collaboration with the Simmer Down Festival has concluded arrangement to accord Gambian artists opportunity to perform at an organised two-day event scheduled for 18th and 19th July, 2020.
The Gambian artists to participate in this year's Simmer Down Festival are Attack, Sofia Diva and Royal MesenJah. They will have the opportunity to perform alongside other international well-known UK artists. Performances will be part of the online Simmer Down Lockdown Festival.
This will be filmed at the Jakarlor Centre Stage but due to the current State of Public Emergency in the country, the event will not open to the public but will be streamed over the weekend of 18th and 19th July.
This is the first time Gambian artists will be performing in the SDF with the hope that the country's rich musical heritage will be an ongoing addition to the festival's roster.
James Jamal Simmonds of GFestival said we "understand that the global Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have been difficult on artists globally; especially those whose music and public performances have been their main source of income."
He said hopefully, artists will have the opportunity to use the Simmer Down platform to market themselves to a wider global audience.
Aboubaccar Dem said "in The Gambia, we have been looking for different ways to support, develop and promote artists, and this includes avenue to reach a wider audience."
He revealed that they have been in discussion with GFestival to possibly arrange a similar concert in The Gambia with a larger number of Gambian artists to perform and have the event stream to a wider audience which might be held in later part of the year.
Meanwhile, Simmer Down, in North Birmingham located in the beautiful surroundings of Handsworth Park, is a free family music and arts festival, which celebrates Birmingham's rich cultural diversity by paying tribute to the centrality of reggae and other musical genres that have contributed to Birmingham as an international city of culture.
The festival's inter-cultural programme features internationally acclaimed artists alongside the very best in home-grown talent. The programme is delivered across a number of stages including the bandstand and marquees and, consists of live music, dance, spoken word, plus educational workshops and participation activities.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Simmer Down Festival. Over the last 10 years SDF has grown to become the biggest free reggae music and arts festival in the UK. In 2014 SDF paid tribute to Birmingham's 'Reggae Greats' as part of its 'Home Coming' theme, in 2015 Maxi Priest headlined attracting over 22,000 people and in 2017 Freddie McGregor attracted record numbers with coach parties from Bradford, Leicester, Derby, Bristol and Glasgow. As one of Birmingham's best-loved festivals, SDF is regarded as a flagship festival which personifies the vibrancy and diversity of the city.
JAZZ APPRECIATION: GILL SCOTT HERON