International acts to headline 2013 Plymouth Respect Festival

A striking Indian dance troupe and an inspirational orchestra of blind musicians will be among the headline acts at the 2013 Plymouth Respect Festival.

The event, which is organised by the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, is being hosted by Plymouth University over the weekend of October 12 and 13.

It will feature a blend of music, entertainment and food from across the globe, alongside a range of community focused and awareness raising activities.

And among its star performers will be classical dance group Kathakali, and the Inner Vision Orchestra, who wowed crowds during a performance with Coldplay at last year’s Paralympic closing ceremony.

Dan Thompson, artistic director of the Plymouth Respect Festival, said: “The opportunity to bring such world class acts to the city is an absolute pleasure and must reaffirm that we are a city with culture. The Respect Festival has a huge role to play in raising awareness of Plymouth’s diversity and celebrating the many cultures and communities who call the city their home.”

The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company hails from Kerala in southern India and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The group includes dancers, singers, drummers, with highly-skilled make-up artists adding to the visual spectacle.

The Inner Vision Orchestra is led by musical director Baluji Shrivastav, and features musicians from around the world who are blind and partially sighted. They play world music with influences from Iran, Lebanon, Nigeria, and western music.

The Respect Festival will see events taking place across the University campus and city, and among its other highlights will be a world food market, featuring produce from home and abroad with everything from pasties to paella, and samosas to salt fish.

Ahead of the event, a range of school visits are taking place as part of Step Up 4 Respect, a campaign which aims to foster the spirit of respect among the city’s young people.

Professor Wendy Purcell, Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University, said: “We are delighted to host the Plymouth Respect Festival and further develop its strong reputation and impact.

"Our staff and students make a hugely positive contribution to the cultural diversity of Plymouth, and a key opportunity here is to reach out and sustain mutual respect throughout our community. We look forward to continuing our work with the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council.”

Ann Wilkinson, Co-Director of the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, added: “The REC has worked for many years to ensure the Plymouth Respect Festival has become an important event in the city’s calendar for highlighting diversity and celebrating differences.

"The new collaboration with Plymouth University will open up a whole range of innovative developments, which will undoubtedly breathe new life into a festival which Plymouth has embraced wholeheartedly over many years.

"The festival has been a tremendous force in the city and beyond, and as we enter this new era, we hope more partner agencies and people will join us and be inspired for the future.”

The Respect Festival includes a range of free and ticketed events, with new acts being announced regularly on the Festival’s website at http://plymouthrespectfestival.co.uk/