Hull700, Red Hot Fiesta, Wilberforce 2007

Red Hot FiestaSo, I shut down my computer at Hull City Council for the last time last week, after over 24 years of managing some ace projects and working in some top teams there. While clearing my drive I found dozens of great photos, all sorts of things including the Red Hot Fiestas – the city carnival and festival I put together with Dave Porter when I was Hull700 Celebrations Manager in 1999. Thousands of people including over 60 community groups joined in each parade and party in Queens Gardens – such a good vibe!

The photos brought back lots of great memories. It was the start of a time of change for Hull. Being Hull700 Celebrations Manager for our year to mark the 700th anniversary of the granting of our Royal Charter was brilliant. Pete Allen put a great team together and I loved working with everyone. I wanted to engage as many diverse people and communities as possible. It was a challenge at first, but we were a fantastic Hull700 team and it was amazing. Desmond Tutu, the Queen and John Peel came to the party but the highlight for me was that so many people joined in with open hearts, taking the initiative to create their own events and projects to celebrate.

Hull700 Lou at work
Hull700 Lou at work

When I was asked to lead the community element of the city’s activity to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade – Wilberforce 2007 – I wanted to learn about and respect the feelings of so many people affected by slavery not just historically, but in the modern world. Raising awareness, getting the right messages across and ultimately making a difference were most important and especially challenging around the Freedom Festival, a legacy of Wilberforce 2007. The highlight for me was our city celebration of African culture, the Sankofa Sunsplash. Hosted by Rita Ray and with fantastic performances in Queens Gardens from musicians who we brought over especially for the festival from Sierra Leone, DR Congo, The Black Atlantic Project, Capoeira, and a host of fabulous local African and African Caribbean artists. Fantastic vibes on the sunniest day of the year.

See who you can recognise in the photos. First up Hull700 and the first Red Hot Fiesta. It really was red hot. Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through.

Here’s the Sankofa Sunsplash. Click & scroll on…

See who you can spot in this gallery of photos from the second Red Hot Fiesta.

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