The Flyover Show
On Saturday 31st May 2008 the entire derelict space underneath the Hockley flyover will come alive with an explosion of comtemporary urban art and music, in a free outdoor festival event. We spoke to Soweto Kinch about his groundbreaking venture.
Award winning musician Soweto Kinch
Led by multi-award winning jazz musician Soweto Kinch, The Hockley Flyover show will be a day-long street festival bringing world class jazz, hip hop, poetry, dance and theatre to a neglected corner of Birmingham.
World renowned artists performing on the day alongside Soweto will include local jazz legend Andy Hamilton, Black Voices gospel choir and Basil Gabbidon of Steel Pulse plus contemporary UK music artists Bashy, TY, Pentalk, Eska Mtungwazi, Jonzi D, Zena Edwards and many more…
Reclaiming the soul of the city
The Hockley area was once a thriving centre of cultural activity with local music legends such as Steel Pulse, UB40, Andy Hamilton and 80’s band Musical Youth putting the inner city areas of Birmingham on the global music map.
The area is now renowned for its rundown buildings and empty boarded up retail units and small warehouses.
An interview with Soweto
As local resident still living in the area that regularly receives negative press, Soweto Kinch felt he wanted to reclaim the derelict space in a bold artistic statement.
In an interview with the BBC Birmingham website Soweto shares his inspiration behind this groundbreaking venture.
Kinch explains: “Hockley was once an area where all kinds of iconic events used to happen; now the area is known for drugs, gun crime and unemployment.
A wealth of local talent
"I live really close to the flyover and living in the same block as me is another jazz musician, poets, play writers, actors, dancers and all sorts of creative types. We really need to celebrate their work in the community.
TY will be performing
“The kind of artists that are performing with me at the event need none mainstream unconventional means of getting their message out there. For whatever reason it may be impossible for some of them to get playlisted on Radio 1 or be on the front cover of magazines.
“For people in these areas who are aspiring to be artists, we’ve now got our own festival like Glastonbury.”
The Hockley area is no stranger to the postcode rivalry youth culture that is springing up across inner city areas of Birmingham. A lot of young people feel intimidated about walking through public areas.
As part of the flyover project Soweto spoke to local residents of all ages, community organisations and local council representatives, who expressed their views on the issues in the area. Even though he is a local resident himself the issues raised when speaking to people were still eye opening.
“We all live in the same community but we have no idea how deep underground these postcode and gang affiliations are becoming now.”
“It’s interesting that there are almost sub-communities within communities and people are afraid to engage, smile and look at their neighbours from day to day; that’s another reason why the show is happening.”
Gabbidon ( from Steel Pulse )
Back in the day
“With Handsworth Carnival we had a sense of belonging you were recognised as being part of the community. Now Handsworth’s got beef with Aston, Newtown’s got beef with Hockley, Ladywood with Lozells etc… what was already a small turf has being dissected even further.
“What’s encoded into the energy of this event is that it’s not an anti-gun, anti-gang message, for me it’s about showing the breadth and excitement of the arts that people aren’t exposed to.”
Watch Soweto explore the issues in Hockley in a special Flyover Show promo film.
Expected the unexpected
The project is the first of its kind to be organised and delivered by Soweto Kinch, he has worked alongside Nu Century Arts and a newly formed consortium of black arts groups called CISC. Soweto explains that he is breaking new personal ground in his own musical career with this venture.
“I’m really excited about the event, there’s a buzz city wide. There's a number of names performing not just from Birmingham but London as well and there’s a feeling that the event will supersede all the disputes that we’ve got and it will just be about the arts and creativity for a whole day.
“The day is going to be unconventional and very different from start to finish. Give it a go you might just dig it!”
Listen to the full interview with Soweto Kinch - he talks more about life in B19 and his passion for showcasing unconventional arts and music.
Celebrating the city’s urban best
The free outdoor event packed with live arts and music will start at 1pm and finish around 9pm and is set to be a vibrant day of creativity and fun for all ages.
DATE: Saturday 31st May