Summer just wouldn’t be summer in Cambridge without the highlight of the city’s free outdoor events – The Big Weekend and Cambridge Mela, City Events provided by Cambridge City Council and organised by Cambridge Live.
Headliners ABC kick off the weekend with thousands expected on Parker’s Piece to enjoy a dazzling array of entertainment. Beginning with an 80s bonanza on Friday, tribute band Wham Duran get the crowd in the mood for some New Romantic magic with ABC performing hits including Poison Arrow, Look of Love and All of My Heart, all followed by a spectacular summer fireworks display to round off the night at 10pm.
And on Saturday, there’s so much to enjoy! Whether it’s mouthwatering treats from the French Market, the food stalls and Cambridge Live Bar (present for the whole weekend); local short films in the fabulous Cinemobile; screen time in the ARM Gaming Hub in partnership with Cambridge Regional College; getting messy making and creating in the University of Cambridge’s Fun Lab; enjoying some storytelling and writing tips for budding young writers in The Big Read & Write as part of its project with local primary schools; facepainting; finding out more about French language and culture with Alliance Francaise; getting active in the Sports Zone; throwing some shapes on the dancefloor in the silent disco or celebrating diversity with some Pink Festival cabaret fun, Saturday offers 10 entertainment and activity packed hours of free entertainment for all.
The event’s theme this year is Building New Communities and as ever, live music is at the heart of The Big Weekend. Whatever your taste, there will be something worth hearing. Showcasing partnerships with Cambridge Regional College, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Band competitions and Subterranean Festival, acts featured in the Local Band Marquee include Hollowstar, SJ & The Flying Pigs, Dan Wilde, Gravy Train Trio and Sure-Can Playboys. Also look out for local community choirs and a long list of acts on the Main Stage: In celebration of Cambridge’s 30 years twinning with Szeged, Hungary, Hungarian folk band Mentes Maskent have a slot on the main stage on Saturday, there will also be Hungarian storytelling as a part of the Big Read and Write on Saturday, and Hungarian folk dance in the World Dance Marquee on Sunday. Other musical highlights include: Maroon Town’s unique blend of classic ska, street rap and Latin funk; 60s/70s funk and soul with a Bollywood twist from Botown; to Cajon box player, Heidi Joubert (formerly of Cambridge favourites Ferndando’s Kitchen) playing a seamless world music blend of Latin, jazz, funk, blues and soul. In the evening, the two big headliners – reggae stars, Aswad followed by glam rockers T.Rex feat. Paul Fenton finish off a day of incredible world music.
As well as community choirs, the Sports Zone and French Market, Sunday at the Big Weekend, will feature the ever popular Cambridge Mela, celebrating Asian culture. Music, song and dance can be enjoyed in the Mela Performance Marquee, hosted by Sanskruti School of Dance, and the Bangladeshi Welfare and Cultural Association Marquee with stars of the Asian music scene also performing on the Main Stage, including J Royale. There will also be a Mela traders Marquee full of Asian arts and craft stalls, charity stalls and activities.
Dance lovers can look forward to Sunday’s Dance Marquees, with demonstrations and workshops throughout the day in the World Dance Marquee, with music and dance displays from Scottish, Polish and Greek dance to belly dance, classical Indian and Cuban salsa and more.
Acts performing throughout the afternoon include Elementz, the LGBT Choir, Cath Coombs and the ASC (Awesome Soul Collective) singing vintage soul and blues with swinging gypsy jazz from Django’s Tiger.
An entertainment and activity packed Big Weekend with something for everyone, looks set to be an unmissable highlight in the city this summer!