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Cumbria Unity Festival: Barrow

Cumbria Unity Festival is an event hosted by AWAZ Cumbria which is the first ever countywide self described Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) organisation in Cumbria that’s been going for over 18 years.

AWAZ Cumbria’s aims are to create strong and vibrant global majority communities that everyone can live, learn and work in, celebrate diversity and maintain heritage and work with local marginalised ethnic communities to tackle prejudice.

AWAZ Cumbria supports these communities in complex situations by signposting them to the right support and connecting them with other people who may have a shared experience.

The festival itself exists to celebrate the strengths and diversity of people in Cumbria by building community cohesion, advancing equality and social integration.

The Festival:

Cumbria Unity festival west edition kicked off with a parade starting from Derby Inn in Barrow and ending at The Forum, an arts centre at the heart of Barrow high street where the rest of the event took shape.

Young people enjoying the free gaming station at the Forum

The festival was packed with food, workshops and fun for the local community;

There were a couple of stalls where you could sample a variety of international cuisine for free for anyone to feast on and learn about other cultures' food, our personal favourite being Syrniki, a fried cheese dish from Ukraine.

Some of the free food for sample including Syrniki the fried cheese from Ukraine

There was plenty for young people to get involved at The Forum in such as banner making workshops, free game stations and face painting.

Music was central to all of the things going on and there was a stage set up outside The Forum featuring local acts for people to enjoy.

The immortals are a Cumbrian based cover band

There was a whole host of Cumbrian cover bands such as Becca Graham, dad rockers The Immortals and The Sick Notes.

On top of all this a local drumming ensemble Boom Dang All Stars who’d only just formed four weeks ago performed which really built up the crowd.

To finish the event Swerve and JJ a rap duo offering up some serious bars which broke up the repetitive nature of cover bands.

The final act to perform at Cumbria Unity Festival Barrow was rap duo Swerve and JJ

It would have been nice to hear more original Cumbrian bands and singers then just talented Cumbrian cover bands to represent the diversity of music the county has to offer.

Janine one of the organisers explained us why the unity festival was special to them: “It makes a stronger safer community, It brings people together that don’t normally get to see each other, speak to each other and we get to try new things, I love it and I think it’s what makes communities better”.

The drumming ensemble Boom Dang All Star performing outside The Forum

If you liked the sound of Barrow’s fest, the next Unity Festival is heading North to Carlisle and will be hosted in Tullie House from 10:30am - 4pm this Saturday 15 July.

If you don’t live up that way there’s also a Unity Festival in Kendal which will take place at the Birdcage/Kendal town hall on 22 July from 10am - 4pm.

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