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Arts In the Park Festival – July 1st and 2nd

Milton Keynes explores Migration in Art in the Park Festival


Art in the Park Festival, organised by Milton Keynes Islamic Arts Heritage and Culture (MKIAC) returns to Campbell Park for its eighth successive year with the theme of Migration from Saturday 1st July (1-7pm) to Sunday 2nd July (1-6pm).  

This celebratory multicultural festival has grown to attract over 11,000 people annually and provides a platform for local emerging talent to share a stage alongside internationally respected musicians, dancers, visual artists, chefs, storytellers and poets.  

Art in the Park is delighted to be included in the MK50 major event program – to mark the city’s anniversary. In light of it being such a historic year, festival organisers have prepared their most ambitious event program to date.  

On Saturday 1st July, the Festival bursts into life with a vibrant Parade of Colours setting off from Christ the Cornerstone Church at 1pm and making its way across through the city and concluding at Campbell Park at 2pm. The parade will be managed by carnival education company Route Canal Arts who will seamlessly integrate the acrobatic and musical talents of London’s Kinetika Bloco with a supercharged street festival troupe made up of performers from local schools, MK Dhol Band and Wolverton Samba Band.

The Mongolian Yurt will play host to some exceptional spoken word artists, poets and storytellers sharing their thought provoking material and inviting specially invited panel members to share their views on some urgent and topical issues. This year we are looking forward to welcoming Swedish journalist Caroline Hobkinson and learning about the background and inspiration that has propelled British Syrian artist Maya Yousseff to international fame as one of the only female musicians in the world to play the Kanun- a traditional Syrian instrument- usually played by men.  There will also be discussions around food stories from Sudan with Omer Eltigani and the history of the migration of coffee with Abdul-Rehman Malik. The program wraps up with a conversation with performers from the London Syrian Ensemble.

The main stage will offer festival goers a chance to see highly acclaimed singers, bands, musicians and dancers showcasing some of the finest diversity arts, including Shaam the UK’s most accomplished Nasheed group and two exquisite Yemeni groups.  The inclusive live music stage will also showcase so of the best of local and community performance groups.

The headliner on Saturday will be Hawidro an enchanting Egyptian band with a strong Nubian traditional influence.  This will be followed on Sunday by the Birmingham based Aashiq Rassoul, an all-male music ensemble who deliver a repertoire of classical Qasida, Hamd, Naat, Qawaali and modern Nasheed.  

Two powerful verses in the Koran have been examined by two female artists to produce Beehive Visual Art; Geometry in Embroidery. Dutch born Artist Maryam Smit who specialises in Mathematics and Geometry worked with Textiles Artist Shaheen Kasmani and a group of multicultural women from the local community to explore the theme of Migration and their shared values through needlework and embroidery.


Food lovers are in for a treat with a generous range of multicultural cuisines available at the Art of Food Festival consisting of mouth-watering food demonstrations and live cake-decorating competition by participants from the local community. There will be 1-minute omelettes whipped up students cooking alongside established chefs overseen by award winning Chef Alan Paton of Layla Beaumont. If the rising food envy makes you peckish, then pop over to the food quarter to sample an interesting range of multicultural cuisine from over 10 foodstalls.

Alongside all of this Art in the Park Festival will also include community stalls, food stalls, a live art installation by RARA, funfair and interactive activities.  

To find out more visit www.mkiac.org.uk or follow #ArtMK on twitter.