Thousands of children across Leicester have been getting involved in music and the arts at the annual Spark Festival, the largest children’s arts festival in England and Wales.
And students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Square Mile have been helping behind the scenes.
Making music: Helena with Eyres Monsell pupils Holly Harding and Lila-May Leson, with percussionist Adriano Adewale
Among them is Arts and Festivals management student Helena Fewkes, who has been working for Spark Festival and is also a volunteer with DMU Square Mile’s team leader programme, one of three DMU students helping support Spark Arts.
This week she has been working on a project to introduce children from three city primary schools to live music venues and working with musicians. Sessions were led by Brazilian percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale.
Pupils from Eyres Monsell, Charnwood and Rushey Mead primary schools came to the 2Funky Music Café in Braunstone Gate, Leicester, for the sessions and Adriano and his band gave a performance on Thursday aimed at families of all ages.
Helena said: “I did a placement with Spark last year looking at marketing and was asked to come back and do the project with the children.
“It has been amazing. I’ve loved this, it’s completely new to me to be working with primary school pupils but it has been such fun as well as linking in with my degree.”
Adel Al-Salloum, director of the Spark Festival, said a focus of this year’s festival was introducing children, young people and their families to see the wealth of live music and performance venues in and around the city, such as the 2Funky Music Café.
She said: “It’s good that they get theatre and dance into the schools but to visit music venues and experience them for themselves is a real focus.”
The Spark Festival, aimed at children aged 13 and under, carries on until 4 June.
Square Mile students have also been involved in projects around the city including:
• Festival 2Funky, a week-long celebration of music and arts including reggae, soul, Afrobeats, spoken word and DJ sets based around the 2Funky Music Café, in New Park Street.
• Helping local charities and community groups by offering their skills at Leicester’s Social Media Café, run by Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living at its centre in Leicester’s West End. Students give their time to help groups share their message and report events on social media.
• Clearing up a stretch of the River Soar. Working with the Canal and River Trust, students clear litter and pull rubbish from the water, making the space better for residents and helping the environment.
Posted on Friday 27th May 2016