Sheffield comes together to ensure Peace in the Park 2016 goes ahead

Peace in the Park is a free, community centred festival in the heart of Sheffield. It focuses on supporting and encouraging peace around the world and brings communities together with art and music. The whole festival is organised by volunteers, including musicians, artists, students and Sheffield locals.

It will be on the 11th June this year in the Ponderosa. It’s completely free to locals and funded by money raised beforehand.

This year music events such as RiteTrax at Golden Harvest, Fez Underground at Viper Rooms and many more helped to raise money for the festival.

The festival has a strong music focus with three different stages and a DJ tent. As well as music there are kid’s activities, workshops, a wide variety of stalls, a healing area and an environmental area.

Some of the music artists on the day include Bison, Smiling Ivy and Mango Rescue Team.  There is also the Community Stage that will be showcasing a wide variety of local talent.

Davo Smith has been involved in the festival since 2008. He’s in charge of the general IT side of the festival, involved in the year round planning and on the day will be part of the stewarding team.

Davo explained how “the festival started as a protest against the Iraq war in 2003, as a way of empowering people who felt ignored by the politicians who were taking our country into a war that many did not want”.

“This year there’s a focus on supporting those who are fleeing war zones from around the world. We hope to be raising awareness of the flight of refugees arriving here in the UK”.

This is all part of the festivals aim of supporting peace in the world and standing against violence.

The festival is completely free on the day so lots of fundraising events have taken place over the year.

On the 28th April University of Sheffield Music students organised a Peace in the Park fundraiser at the Harley called Don’t Kill My Vibe ft. Portmanteau. The night was hip hop themed and the Leeds funk band, Portmanteau performed at the start of the night.

One of the organisers of the night was third year music student Oliver Smith.

He said, “We heard about Peace in the Park from one of our lecturers and it sounded like a great event that really supports local music talent”.

RiteTrax is a community interest company that aims to provide opportunities for underground musicians and artists. Company founder, Michael Thompson explained how he’d known about Peace in the Park since he was a student.

He said, “Since now we’re a social enterprise it seemed logical to hold and fundraiser for the festival and get involved wherever possible”.

“In April we held a fundraiser at Golden Harvest. There will also be a RiteTrax DJ set at the dance tent of the festival and I’ll also be DJing at the after party at Yellow Arch”.

In 2003 the event was on Devonshire green and local bands, musicians, artists, campaign groups and the public came together in protest for peace.

The festival has grown and grown since then and thousands of pounds has been raised for 21 different charities. These include Self Help Africa, Sheffield Mind, Village Aid, ASSIST, which helps asylum seekers and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

However the festival has struggled in recent years, and in 2013 the festival had to be postponed. It relies entirely on money raised before and during the event, and drops in donations meant it couldn’t be funded.

In 2014 the festival was a huge success, with £3000 being raised for Sheffield charities ASSIST and Roundabout. However in 2015 the festival didn’t run and the money was saved to ensure the 2016 Peace in the Park can happen.

Davo said “the people of Sheffield have been great supporters of the festival over the years, however in the run up to this festival we are still very much on the lookout for people to get involved”.

To get involved in this year’s Peace in the Park get in touch with Kinder on 07592829884 or kinder@peaceinthepark.org.uk

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