Black Country Festival set to see celebrations across the region
The colour and sounds of the Black Country are set to be celebrated as a commemorative day reaches its 10th birthday.
There will be events and celebrations across the region to celebrate the 10th birthday of Black Country Day, which was first held on July 14, 2013, a date chosen because it is the anniversary of the invention of the world’s first steam engine, which was erected in the area.
A decade after the first day, which was organised by Steve Edwards and agreed by the Black Country Living Museum and the Black Country Society, the celebration has grown from a day of celebration to a fortnight of events all paying tribute to the people and the region.
The Black Country Festival starts on Black Country Day on Friday, July 14 with an afternoon of music and entertainment on Stone Street Square in Dudley hosted by Black Country Radio and featuring presenters from the station, as well as special guests.
The event, which starts at 12pm, will also coincide with the Dudley Grand Prix cycling event taking place in the town, which starts with the community ride at 3pm and continues throughout the day to the women's race and men's race in the evening.
The festival then kicks into gear with a number of events over the weekend across the Black Country.
There will be three Black Country Day events in Dudley borough, Sandwell and Wolverhampton on Saturday, July 15.
The first event is on Somers Square in Halesowen and is being organised by Black Country Radio and Halesowen BID.
Running from 10am to 5pm, the free event will have market stalls, local offers and a chance to try Faggots and Peas, as well as live music from a UB40 tribute band and a performance by Bhangra Smash Up, plus special guest appearances and a range of games.
Across the region in Tipton, Tipton Town Library will be hosting a range of cultural events about the history of the region, organised by the Tipton Town Libraries Local History and Friends of Tipton Library Groups.
Starting at 10am, the event will feature a talk on the history of Stourbridge Glass by Dr Kate Round, then a reading of Black Country poetry by Brendan Hawthorne, along with local history stalls and refreshments.
Finally, Bilston town centre will put on a free event in association with Discover Bilston.
Starting at 10am and running until 2pm, the event will feature the Harry Jones Fun Fair, free face painting for people of all ages, local charity and community stalls and appearances by the Fizzogs and the Black Country Brass Band.
There will also be a wild weekend of entertainment at Himley Hall as the popular Black Country Musicom returns to the park for two days of music and comedy, as well as a host of family entertainment throughout the day.
Saturday, July 15 sees a day of dance anthems and club classics from the likes of Stuary Ojelay, Seb Fontaine and Tall Paul, while Sunday, July 16 brings some of the best tribute bands in the country, playing classics by the Eagles, Madonna and the Rolling Stones.
Tickets to the Saturday event cost £35 for adults, £23 for children aged five to 17 and Sunday tickets are £27 for adults and £18 for children, with under fives going free.
The celebrations continue a week later back at Somers Square in Halesowen with the Black Country Multicultural Day, including a performance by Bhangra Smash Up.
Other activities will include music, dance, stiltwalkers, mascots and workshops and a chance to get together with people of different backgrounds and cultures from across the region.
The Black Country Festival will culminate on the weekend of July 29 and 30 with a weekend of folk fun at Himley Hall and fun days in Brierley Hill and Sedgley.
The Black Country Folk Festival combines the talents of some of the Black Country’s most successful independent artists of the last ten years for a weekend-long event at Himley Hall.
Acts performing at the festival will include The Empty Can, Eddy Morton, The Emma Linney Band, Man The Lifeboats and Attila The Stockbroker, with weekend tickets starting at £25, Saturday tickets starting at £15 and Sunday tickets costing £10.
The two fun days in Brierley Hill and Sedgley will feature a day of activities at the Moor Centre in Brierley Hill on Saturday, July 29 and All Saints Garden in Sedgley on Sunday, July 30.
Starting at 10am in Brierley Hill and 12pm in Sedgley, the events will be hosted by Black Country Radio, with a radio stage on site, and will include market stalls, street entertainers and face painting.
A full guide has been published about the festival and the different events taking place and can be read at blackcountryfestival.co.uk/magazine/