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Woodbridge Festival of Art and Music has announced a summer programme marking the 75th anniversary of Windrush, as one of the selected recipients of the National Windrush Day Grants scheme.

The programme celebrates the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush, which landed in Essex on 22 June 1948, with 500 passengers from the Caribbean.

National Windrush Day recognises the incredible contribution Caribbean communities have made to Britain - and continue to make to this day. Woodbridge Festival’s programme will feature themed events celebrating UK Sound System culture, Caribbean and Mexican Street food and live music. Launching on 18 June and running until 30 August - in venues across Woodbridge and at EartH in East London - it leads into the Festival’s annual, much loved, Elmhurst Park events, taking place on the first week of September - headlined by Jazzie B.

Featuring national and local acts, the line-up includes legendary UK reggae band Aswad, and London Sound System pioneer Ashley Beedle. They’re joined by Ipswich Sound system DJs, including Boppa Ranking and Nicky Rasta Yard.

A photographic exhibition will showcase images commissioned by Aspire Black Suffolk and celebrated photographer John Ferguson’s Black Britannia collection.

More bands and DJs are set to appear alongside steel pan band and drum workshops, a celebration of Caribbean food and projected audio visuals on the town's iconic Tide Mill, with a series of creative workshops on art and audio-visual skills. Local people are being invited to contribute their own images and memorabilia of sound system culture for inclusion on the day.

This exciting calendar of events will celebrate the huge impact that sound system culture has had on multiple musical genres in the UK and internationally; including hip hop, jungle/ drum n bass, rave, two tone, dub step, trip hop, the Bristol sound and much more.

Confirmed music acts

  • Aswad, formed in Ladbroke Grove in 1975, were one of the first home-grown acts to help Caribbean music take root in Europe - working with legendary artists such as Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Reggae hits in the 70s, such as Back To Africa, Love Fire and Warrior Charge, were followed by chart-toppers like Don’t Turn Around in the 80s and 90s.
  • Ashley Beedle and Shock made their mark as the first sound system to play House music at Notting Hill Carnival. Ashley went on to become a legendary producer, credited with turning Elton John’s Are You Ready For Love into a UK chart-topping dance hit. His own work also topped the charts as X-Press 2 with Lazy ft David Byrne.
  • Renowned Suffolk Sound System DJs include the iconic Ipswich-based Boppa Ranking, of Freedom Sound, and Nicky Rasta Yard Sound System. A Steel Pan Band workshop is being led by Trevor Jones, who’s also played trombone with international acts such as Aswad and Lee Scratch Perry, and Suffolk bands Jah Warriors and The Downsetters.

And more to be announced.

The festival programme is part of the national DLUHC Windrush Day Grant Scheme.

Dates at a glance

Sunday 18 June - Carnival Events and Light Projections on the Tide Mill at Woodbridge Regatta, Whisstocks Square, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12. 11am-10pm

Woodbridge Festival will join the annual Woodbridge Regatta, with Steel Pan Band by Trevor Jones and Samba drum workshops by Adrian Wiggins, DJs - including DJ Boppa Ranking (Freedom Sound System) - Caribbean street food and more. Events continue into the evening with DJs and an open call for artworks - inspired by the Windrush generations - to be projected onto the historic Tide Mill, on the banks of the river. A photo Exhibition across Woodbridge is also being launched.

Thursday 22 June Windrush flags will be raised across town. Woodbridge residents are encouraged to attend events organised by Suffolk Windrush Select Committee on the Corn Hill, Ipswich.

Friday 23 June London event:

Woodbridge Festival of Art and Music & Deeper Into Movies presents Windrush 75 - A Celebration of Soundsystem Culture.

EartH, 13 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 6pm-1am

Aswad debut 3D playback of tracks from their new LIVE LP, Ashley Beedle revisits his legendary Shock Sound System DJ sets with Jo Wallace (Ramrock HiFi), a celebration of 50 years of The Harder They Come starring Jimmy Cliff, plus host DJ Ben Osborne (Noise of Art) and more. Plus after-party with Dub legend Aba Shant-I (separate ticket).

Tickets from £15 +BF

Sunday 25 June - Caribbean Street Feast By The River. Whisstocks Square, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12.

Caribbean and Mexican street food. DJs include Ashley Beedle, from Shock Sound System in London and Nicky Rasta Yard Sound System in Ipswich, plus drum workshops, stalls, Suffolk Windrush Book and more.

Wednesday 30 August - Aswad LIVE in Woodbridge Community Hall, Station Road, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12.

Groundbreaking British Reggae band, Aswad, bring Woodbridge Festival's Windrush events to a close, while simultaneously launching the annual week of festival events, taking place from 30 August to 4 September.

The festival’s Windrush programme is funded by the national DLUHC Windrush Day Grant Scheme.

aswad live woodbridge