On Saturday 18 January, thousands of people gathered on Olympic Way in Wembley Park to celebrate the launch of Brent’s year as London Borough of Culture 2020 at RISE - a spectacular, free outdoor show hosted by principal partner, Wembley Park.
With the backdrop of the world-famous Wembley Stadium, the stunning mass-participatory performance told the story of the borough’s journey from the margins to impact culture in Britain through its music, activism, and rebellious spirit. Choreographed by Southpaw Dance Company and performed by a community cast of hundreds, people of all ages, backgrounds and origins, the stunning show featured music, spoken word and dance against a backdrop of projections on a custom-built five-storey stage.
The visual spectacular included archive footage of the Grunwick Strikes, the birth of pioneering British record label Trojan Records, and the origins of Metroland. With an explosive live performance from Brent-born ragga deejay General Levy to wrap up the night, the show was truly a proud celebration of all things Brent.
Brent is more than just a borough of culture:
This is the Borough of Cultures.
More than 22 boroughs applied to be the London Borough of Culture 2020. When asked why Brent was chosen, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
A massive thank you to Robby Graham, the creative team, Southpaw Company performers and dance leads, featured performance groups, spoken word artists, General Levy, Trojan Records, production team and stage managers, community cast, volunteers and principle partner, Wembley Park.
Thank you also to the 2020 Community Advisors, Blueprint Collective, Cultural Leads, the Mayor of London, Justine Simons, Carolyn Downs, Cllr Butt, the Mayor of Brent, Peter & Paul, Bad Madam, The Unloved, the Brent 2020 team, and all attendees and the community who came out in the cold in their thousands.
Brent Council, the Mayor of London’s Culture Team, the City of London Corporation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, John Lyon's Charity, Berkeley Group, Infosys, Network Homes, Airbnb, Wates and Quintain Ltd.