The Art in the Park festival finally returns to Milton Keynes this month, promising a feast of colour, music and more.
The festival is organised by Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture and comes back after two years of postponements to celebrate its 20th anniversary and mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Milton Keynes will once again experience cross-cultural musicians, international artists and carnival entertainment, alongside live demonstrations, community stalls and creative workshops at Campbell Park during the weekend of Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15.
The festival’s theme this year is Venturing Out, offering a chance for friends and families to come together and celebrate the rich and diverse communities of Milton Keynes after a turbulent two years.
Anouar Kassim MBE, founder-director of MKIAC, said: “We are so proud to bring back MKIAC’s Art in the Park Festival, after a two year hiatus.
"This year has special significance for all of us and we promise an inclusive, joyful celebration. Art in the Park is a unique event for Milton Keynes’ vibrant cultural scene because we represent everyone. With performers, food, crafts, arts and music from Milton Keynes’ diverse cultural backgrounds, this festival is a shining example of how we can bridge divides through arts and culture.”
Milton Keynes mayor Cllr Mohammad Khan said: “MKIAC brings diverse communities together through their meaningful and inclusive arts and culture programmes. I have seen first-hand how they inspire young people to embrace their cultural heritage and how they provide creative outlets which have positive impacts on their mental health. This is why I chose them as my Charity of the Year in 2021- 2022.
"Established 20 years ago in response to rising hate crimes due to 9/11, they have been able to bring communities together successfully in Buckinghamshire and neighbouring towns.”
The ‘performance village’ will provide visitors with memorable shows from local and international musicians, dancers and storytellers. These include Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, giving a spectacular celebration of their vibrant and colourful lifestyle, their music and dance, as well as Modou Touré, of Dakar, Senegal, known for playing highly-groovy rhythms all inspired by his West African heritage, along with Kefaya, an award winning international collective performing global folk.
The ‘art village’ will host various interactive workshops for all to get involved and learn a new skill. Workshops such as calligraphy, Turkish marbling and geometry will be available at £2 per person for a 90-minute session. Four exhibitions of MKIAC projects will also be on display to showcase the diverse range of arts projects aimed to promote shared learning, community cohesion and cultural understanding.
Led by London based carnival company Kinetika Bloco and Milton Keynes based outdoor arts company Festive Road, the Carnival of Colours promises to be an immersive experience for visitors, while the ‘food village’ will host a number of exotic and cultural food stalls such as Flavours of Zanzibar, Kiln Farm Gurudwara and Cafe Crema.
Visit mkiac.org for details.