By Maanik Chadda: Park Live! Music Trail provided the perfect spring afternoon in Stoke-on-Trent’s Hanley Park.
The free event returned for its second year to showcase a diverse range of acoustic music across several locations at the park.
The Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University organised Park Live! in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Friends of Hanley Park group.
Senior Lecturer Penny Vincent, 42, said: “We’ve had an amazing day! The sunshine really helped – we could not have had better weather for March.
“People told me they could hear music as they came into the park, and followed the sound to find performances by the lake, at the pagoda and in the Love Letters.”
The day included opening act the Alison Parker Trio, the Clay Chorus community choir, Hume’n Beans and Helen Brown among others.
Park Live! began in 2011 with small one-hour events on Hanley Park’s bandstand featuring music, dance, poetry and storytelling.
“Judyta Warzecha, my colleague working with me for three months on a visit from Poland, organised the event and looked after the acts in other areas of the park.”
North Staffs African Caribbean Association (NORSACA) provided the food for performers and sold snacks and drinks.
“I’ve had lots of comments about the great food, so that went down well.”
Closer to Home Walks and Staffordshire University students volunteered to help make the day run smoothly.
Visitor Charles Woolward, 21, said: “The afternoon was a huge success. It’s great to see Hanley Park being used to showcase impressive local entertainment.”
The park has been criticised for not providing enough entertainment for the community.
Last year, British rapper Chipmunk performed at the centenary finale alongside Katy B and Diagram of the Heart on March 26.
Penny added: “It’s important that events in the park are suitable for the whole community, particularly people who live nearby. We also need to make sure the park attracts visitors.
“One thing that would make future Park Live! events even better would be for a wider range of performances from local people. If anyone wants to put on a short play, mime, play Steel Band, rap, or anything else, please let me know!”
The Friends of Hanley Park group want to organise a regular bandstand programme over the next few months.
To find out more about Park Live! contact the Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University by phone on 01782 294793 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org