Communities and pride all part of meaning of Black Country Day for organisers
The organisers of the annual festival celebrating the Black Country have spoken of what the event and the region means to them ahead of the big day.
Steve Edwards and Dave Brownhill have been working to get the Black Country Festival up and running, starting with a launch event at the Black Country Living Museum and day of activities in Dudley on Black Country Day on Friday, July 14.
The event at the Black Country Living Museum will see the Mayor of Dudley Andrea Goddard and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street in attendance, alongside other invited guests, to mark the 10th birthday of Black Country Day.
The festival itself will see celebratory events across the region, including Musicom and the Folk Festival at Himley Hall and a multicultural day in Halesowen, and, as Steve Edwards said, it was about celebrating the people and community.
He said: "Black Country Day is about bring the community together to show pride in the region and the working class history of the region and just get everyone together to promote the day in a really positive way.
"By having people from across the political and cultural spectrum come together to promote everything that's great about the region, it shows that after 10 years, everybody's on board and no matter what walk of life they come from, they have pride in the Black Country."
Mr Edwards said part of the idea of Black Country Day was to get away from negative stereotypes of the region and spoke about how people from the Black Country have a great sense of humour and a sense of pride.
He said: "Don't get me wrong, people from the Black Country like to take the mickey out of ourselves and we've got a great sense of humour, but we need to speak about the positives of the region and stop the jokes and negativity about it.
"This is what has happened for years and years and we were the butt of jokes, which we didn't mind, but no one was ever speaking about the good side and contradicting the negative stories.
"That's why we have set up Black Country Day and the Festival and it has helped people realise there is a lot to be proud of in this region.
"To me, the region is the epicentre of the Industrial Revolution and where the modern world was formed and we should be immensely proud of that and Black Country people should be proud of their industrial and working class backgrounds."
Dave Brownhill said the Festival was building each year and spoke about how he wanted other parts of the region to get involved in the festival in the future.
He said: "Black Country Day is the main day we use to promote the festival and encourage event organisers to do things and we want to encourage more towns across the Black Country to get involved.
"Dudley has very much got behind it, but we would love to see Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Walsall get involved and do a lot more events.
"Black Country Day, for me, is about bringing the communities together and we are all so proud of where we come from and we want to share that with other people, so this is just another way of show our pride in the region."