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Spirit of Friendship Festival reaches a crescendo

19 July 2002

The most ambitious multi-cultural festival linked to a sporting event ever held in the UK reaches its peak in the lead up to the Games.

picture of hi-tech, Modern Architecture

The magnificent Bridgewater Hall, host to the International Festival of Rhythm

As anticipation builds for the start of the Commonwealth Games, the Spirit of Friendship Festival is adding to the party atmosphere with a series of exciting events across the country and locally in Greater Manchester.

Since March, over 2,000 events have taken place from jousting days to performances by world-class stars such as Courtney Pine and the unveiling of the biggest bronze sculpture dedicated to sport in the UK at Sportcity.

The festival will ensure that the Games experience reaches far beyond the north west of England and accounts for much of the colour and spectacle off the sporting field.

Forthcoming highlights include:

Pulse - International Festival of Rhythm - presented by the Bridgewater Hall, Pulse celebrates the rhythm of life by rejoicing in the rhythms of the world. Running until 26 July, it includes performances, workshops, story telling and free events. Hosted by percussionist Evelyn Glennie and organist Wayne Marshall, Pulse promises an array of stars from across the globe performing jazz, orchestral and world music. The highlight of Pulse is the Spirit of Friendship Royal Gala on 26 July when Manchester’s Halle orchestra will be joined by soprano superstar Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to perform pieces by Elgar, Gershwin and Puccini.

Spirit - a free outdoor music and arts festival in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park, featuring Zimbabwe’s acappella and dance group Black Umfolosi. On 20 July, the park will come alive with diverse music, visual arts displays, workshops and a procession.

Aquafest - the biggest gathering of boats ever in Manchester. Aquafest is a summer of celebration on the city’s waterways including Waterfire on 11 August, a spectacular day of entertainment and fireworks by the canalside at Piccadilly Basin, and a pro-celebrity fishing gala.

Active Sport Talent Camp - taking place in Preston and Somerset this weekend, the camps are the final sessions of a pioneering £3m scheme to inspire young athletes. Launched by Sport England, the two-day residential camps include high quality coaching, physical testing and competitions. Over 10,000 youngsters are learning what it takes to be a top sports star at nine camps across the country.

Children’s Tapestry of Hope - on display at the Manchester University Refectory on Oxford Road from 25 July to 4 August. Created by 37,000 children from nursery, primary and special schools, this will be the first time that the entire tapestry can be seen in one place. Over 1,000 metres of individually designed squares will produce a dazzling display of creativity.

Manchester Mega Mela 2002 - a unique weekend-long festival of traditional and modern Asian culture including fashion shows, music and community events.

Festival Live - at Games time, the excitement won’t just be at the venues. Festival Live will see the squares of Manchester city centre come alive with street entertainment, big screens showing all the sporting action and a carnival atmosphere.

The Spirit of Friendship Festival is a catalyst and banner for a vibrant, visual and engaging celebration of the modern Commonwealth, generating enthusiasm for community celebrations, excitement and awareness in the lead up to the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It will leave a lasting legacy of diversity and inclusion nationwide and regionally.

During the Festival hundreds of communities have got into the spirit of the Games by taking part in a range of pioneering projects. Activity is grouped into four strands linked by the common themes of diversity and inclusion. The strands are: sport, education, arts and culture and community events linked to the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

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