Glastonbury stars headline Sheffield Migration Matters Festival in ‘best lineup ever’

Thousands of people are set to head to Yorkshire this summer to see global stars in Sheffield’s Migration Matters ‘best lineup ever.’

The nine-day arts festival in June will be headlined by the Grammy-nominated husband-and-wife musical duo, Amadou & Mariam, who performed their Afrobeat hits at Glastonbury last year.

Amadou met Mariam at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind where they performed in an orchestra together and found their shared love of music.

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Migration Matters takes place every June in Sheffield and it is the largest event taking place during Refugee Week.

Photo session with Amadou & Mariam in their home in Bamako, Mali, December 8, 2022.  © Nicolas RÉMÉNÉPhoto session with Amadou & Mariam in their home in Bamako, Mali, December 8, 2022.  © Nicolas RÉMÉNÉ
Photo session with Amadou & Mariam in their home in Bamako, Mali, December 8, 2022. © Nicolas RÉMÉNÉ

Sheffield itself was the UK’s first City of Sanctuary meaning it pledged to proactively welcome people seeking asylum.

Last year the city played host to 13,400 people as part of the Migration Matters festival.

Director Sam Holland said: “This year’s festival will include our best lineup yet. There is an increased focus on global music due to demand and after last year, where we achieved a new audience record with Kenyan band Sauti Sol.

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“We’re also increasing our strand of exciting family events which introduce young people into the migration conversation with our second year of Mini MigMat.

Migration Matters festivalMigration Matters festival
Migration Matters festival

“This is a programme curated by young people in the Youth Theatre of Sanctuary in partnership with SBC Theatre and The Montgomery Theatre.

“And the crucial theme of climate will also be expanded upon this year.

“We’re bringing back our Rapid Response event in collaboration with Ark Sheffield, Sheffield

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Theatres and Sheffield Hallam University, with an open call for new performances and creative work.”

Genre-hopping Swiss band Sirens of Lesbos and prize-winning poet Roger Robinson are

also performing.

More than 50 individual events will take place during the festival, which runs from June 14-22 at venues across Sheffield.

Events include a comedy night, theatre shows, interactive art exhibitions, installations, dance, drag and Latin American film screenings.

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Food Walk Hong Kong will also take visitors on a journey of Asian flavours around Sheffield.

A live-streamed mass singalong with six Sheffield choirs in Meersbrook Park will also send a message of hope to war-ravaged Palestine.

Sam added: “Whether you want to discover new stories about people of colour throughout history in South Yorkshire, or dance to African drum beats in the city streets, the festival will have something for you.

“We are committed to giving underrepresented communities a voice through our truly eclectic and diverse programme.”

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Two new guest curators have also joined the festival alongside returning guest curator Howl

Yuan, whose programme of work this year is called Land(scapes).

Hip hop and spoken word artist Otis Mensah, who was Sheffield’s first poet laureate in 2018.

Ticket prices vary with many free tickets available to make the festival accessible to attend.

The event is part of Refugee Week, which this year has the theme of home.

It is funded by Arts Council England, the University of Sheffield, the Evan Cornish Foundation and Sheffield Council.

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