UK Urban Sports and Arts Festival takes to the streets in Tyneside
Urban Games 2012, the largest festival of urban sports and arts in Northern England, will take place in Newcastle from August 17-19.
Newcastle’s city centre will transform into an outdoor playground for street, break dance, MC’ing and rap battles and a venue for DJ’ing, BMX’ing, skateboarding and Parkour contests.
The competitions and performances are being held at the Discovery Museum, in Times Square near the Centre for Life and at the city’s iconic Monument on Grey Street, from August 17-19.
Now in its third year, the Urban Games 2012 was officially launched at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum last month with a series of exclusive preview performances by North East Parkour team Apeuro Free Running and local rapper Misz Tee Begum.
The Urban Games started in 2009 because teenagers in North East England felt that Britain being awarded the London 2012 Olympics meant nothing to them and would have little or no impact on their lives.
Newcastle based youth development charity Solar Learning Services CIC responded by deciding to set-up an alternative Olympic style sports event celebrating the art forms that young people were genuinely passionate about.
Since then it has grown from a small gathering held at Sage Gateshead on Newcastle’s famous Quayside to attracting 300 competitors and more than 8000 spectators to Whitley Bay in 2011.
This year’s festival will be bigger and better than before says organiser Solar Learning.
Michael Evans, managing director of Solar Learning, said: “The Urban Games has grown rapidly and is now the biggest gathering of urban artists in the North of England. If you are passionate about dance, music, DJ’ing and non-mainstream sports like skateboarding, BMX and Parkour then Newcastle is the place to be this summer.”
Despite the idea for the festival coming from young people’s lack of connection with the Olympics, the event has attracted funding from NE-Generation, the Legacy Trust UK programme for the North East; creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.
Urban Games is one of 15 projects in the region receiving funding totalling £1m from NE-Generation, as part of the national celebrations of the Cultural Olympiad.
Ben Ayrton, programme manager for NE-Generation, said: “The Urban Games is one of the major success stories for youth development work in the North of England. Solar Learning have created jobs and volunteering opportunities for young people and delivered a major event that is helping put the North East on the Urban Sports map.
“It just shows what can happen when you let young people take the lead.”
Urban Games 2012 furthered its involvement with the London 2012 Olympics this month when it was commissioned to provide performers at the official Olympic Torch Relay celebrations on Newcastle’s Quayside. Apeuro Free Running performed an acrobatic spectacular to celebrate the arrival of the torch in the city.
For more details about the Urban Games 2012 visit: www.theurbangames.org.uk.