Hull’s Pearson Park to host free festival for everyone

Musical talent from all over the country is heading to a free, inclusive and accessible festival this weekend.

The Big Gig in Pearson Park on Saturday 8 July, will see some of the city’s hottest acts and more take to the stage at a festival designed to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities. The event has been organised by Hull Red with support from Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Creative Communities Programme.

Alex Hamlin, director of Hull Red, said: “We want it to be a day to be enjoyed and remembered. We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and enthusiasm of Hull’s music and arts community.  

“It’s great to showcase the talents of people with learning disabilities alongside some of Hull’s biggest bands. Pearls Cab Ride, Soul Patrol, and Nineties Boy have all supported Hull Red in the past and never fail to get the audience on their feet and dancing, so we’re thrilled to have them back this year. We’ve also got Grinny Grandad from York bringing their funky modern swing sound, and The Awkward Silences are travelling all the way from London to play their unique brand of indie pop.  

“We want this to be about much more than just the music. We want it to be a day where people have a go at something new, see something they weren’t expecting, be silly, let their hair down, laugh, and meet new people. 

“The Big Gig has been designed to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities, but the idea is to have activities and facilities that are accessible and make sense to everyone. It’s a day for the whole community to come together to have fun.” 

It’s great to showcase the talents of people with learning disabilities alongside some of Hull’s biggest bands.
– Alex Hamlin, Hull Red

The daytime festival, which runs from 1pm to 7pm, will include performances from local favourites Pearls Cab Ride and Hull-born rapper Nineties Boy.

Last year, Nineties Boy’s debut album FAM peaked at number 12 in the iTunes hip-hop chart.

Nineties Boy said: “It has been an incredible year for Hull being the UK City of Culture. Events like Humber Street Sesh, Freedom Festival and next weekend’s Big Gig are giving artists a huge platform to do what we do and do what we love. It is also bringing in different artists and events to the city, some of which people wouldn’t have been expecting.” 

Since the release of their long-awaited and well-received debut album BEATROUTES last year, Pearls Cab Ride have continued to play sell-out shows across the city.

Lead singer Lyn Acton said: “The Big Gig is a great gig to do and we are really looking forward to it being in Pearson Park this year. It’s an inclusive festival for everyone and we are really pleased and honoured to be closing the day, following some amazing bands, so save some energy to dance into the evening.” 

Joining the Hull artists are Grinny Grandad from York and The Awkward Silences from London.

Grinny Grandad, pictured, have featured at Glastonbury and on Radio 1 sessions, and their music has featured in Grand Theft Auto games and numerous TV shows. Fusing funk, breaks, swing, ghetto-funk and surreal references to humour with old school creativity, their infectious brand of subterranean pop makes you feel good inside.

The Awkward Silences were formed by Paul Hawkins who himself was born with various disabilities. The entertaining London-based indie band aim for their gigs to be accessible, inclusive spaces where anyone can come along, feel comfortable and have a good time.

Paul said: “It will be the Awkward Silences’ first gig in Hull but we have all been to the city before and are really excited to see the changes as a result of Hull 2017. We also are really excited by Hull Red’s approach to inclusivity and cannot wait to be part of The Big Gig.” 

As well as the fantastic music, there will also be food and activities for all ages including children’s entertainers, get-involved graffiti walls, dance and music workshops, face painters, theatre and sensory experiences, games, craft, live animation from Walter Lemonface and other little sprinklings of the unexpected.

Martin Green, director of Hull 2017, said: “The Big Gig will serve up some of the city’s finest talent alongside other artists from different parts of the country. This inclusive and free festival is yet another fantastic example of the great work the Creative Communities Programme is doing in making sure we are taking Hull 2017 to all parts of the city.” 

Head to our creative communities page to find out more about the Big Gig and other creative community projects.