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A Magazine for Sheffield

CitizenFest 2020

Festival celebrating human diversity and positive social change to take place online with 70 events across 7 themes: Love, Life, Home, Freedom, Help, Purpose and Money.

Calum ingram cellist

Cellist Calum Ingram, who is performing at CitizenFest 2020.

‘2020 will be the best year ever!’ said no one in the UK since March of this year.

Yet some of the more determined folk within the creative community have kicked back against all odds - none more so than the people behind the daring and unique CitizenFest 2020.

Following the success of the inaugural We Are One Festival in August 2019, the team behind it have united with No Labels No Walls to create a tri-city celebration that will take place across Helsinki, Los Angeles and Glasgow.

CitizenFest 2020 invites citizens from around the world to come together online to “celebrate human diversity and to create positive social change” by connecting through art, culture and action.

The festival’s programme, all to be streamed live online, will consist of a huge 70 events designed to entertain and engage. Each event will be broken down into easily digestible 30-minute segments, featuring debate, discussion and music.

CitizenFest 2020 aims to embrace both local and international content, balancing emerging and established performers with thinkers and activists. Content will take the form of art, music, dance, discussions, workshops and talks focusing on seven key themes that the team have determined to be fundamental for everyone who wishes to play their full part within society; Love, Life, Home, Freedom, Help, Purpose and Money.

Some of the festival’s musical highlights include an exclusive live set from Nigel Clark of ‘90s top 40 mainstays Dodgy, Finnish hip-hop artists CNF (Community Neglects the Facts), and internationally-renowned cellist Calum Ingram, once selected for broadcast by David Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti.

Amongst those giving talks are: Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform, UBI trailblazer, and friend of Opus; Michael Byrne, Founder and CEO of mental health training and support agency LETs and survivor of the Clutha disaster; and Bill Scott, Chair of Scotland’s Poverty and Inequality Commission.

The people and organisations behind the festival are Kukunori (Helsinki, Finland), The Strindberg Laboratory (Los Angeles, USA) and the We Are One community (Glasgow, Scotland).

Markus Vähälä, coordinator of the No Labels No Walls network, says: “When the Corona situation happened we started to think of opportunities to create a festival in a safe way. Our starting point was that the festival must happen, because these dire times demand the feeling that we are in this together.”

As an organisation that has always focused on and celebrated the potential for a collective realising of ideas through art, discussion and debate, we at Opus feel like it’s more important now than perhaps ever in our lifetimes to engage with this ambitious project and what it hopes to achieve.

Learn more

CitizenFest 2020 will take place from 14 to 19 September.

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