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Garforth Arts Festival 2012 - Artistic Events Summary & Details
Playground Party -- Saturday 7 July 2012

The early bird ticket offer is now closed and all tickets will now be charged at the standard prices. See below for full details.


The Saw Doctors is a group of songwriting musicians from the West of Ireland, hell-bent on celebrating, observing, recording and sometimes poking fun at their own locality, accent and idiomatic use of language whilst dressing their songs up in their favourite sounds and styles from their years of musical fandom.

Formed in Tuam, really a small market town but in fact a tiny city of two cathedrals, in the late 1980's, originally with Mary O'Connor as the main singer and later based around the songs and singing of Davy Carton, Leo Moran, Padraig Stevens, John 'Turps' Burke with no little contribution from the late Paul Cunniffe (who had written and sang Davy's previous band, Blaze X's, repertoire with him).

Loved and revered by their loyal fans, many of whom have been recruited by already fan friends, or friends of friends of fans, if you know what I mean, and often reviled by haughty urban-based media style council as being too rural (Tuam!), painting pictures that the begrudgers believe, from their lofty perspective, don't exist in the real world, The Saw Doctors continue with a resilience and an effervescent energy that has them lined-up for a six week coast to coast adventure across North America this Spring.

In their own words...
"Born into a repressed, catholic, conservative, small-town, agrarian, angst-ridden and showband infested society we're trying to preserve the positive elements of our background and marry them to the sounds which have culturally invaded our milieu through TV, radio, 45's, fast food restaurants, 24 hour petrol stations and electric blankets."

Youtube link



"It would be easier to jot down what this man can't do than what he can." - The Guardian

Nitin Sawhney is one of the most distinctive and versatile musical voices alive today. Firmly established as a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer and cultural pioneer, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, film, videogames, dance and theatre.

Sawhney's output as a musician is astonishing. He has scored for and performed with many of the world's leading orchestras, and collaborated with and written for the likes of Paul McCartney, Sting, The London Symphony Orchestra, A.R. Rahman, Brian Eno, Sinead O'Connor, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, Shakira, Will Young, Taio Cruz, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Ellie Goulding, Asa, Horace Andy, Cirque Du Soleil, Akram Khan, Mira Nair, Nelson Mandela and John Hurt. Performing extensively around the world, he has achieved an international reputation across every possible creative medium. Often appearing as Artist in Residence, curator or Musical Director at international festivals, Sawhney works tirelessly for musical education, acting as patron of the British Government's Access-to-music programme and the East London Film festival and acting as a judge for The Ivor Novello Awards, BAFTA, BIFA and the PRS foundation. He is a recipient of 4 honorary doctorates from British universities, is a fellow of LIPA and the Southbank University, an Associate of Sadler's Wells, sits on the board for London's Somerset House and in 2007 turned down an OBE for ethical reasons.

An acclaimed flamenco guitarist and classical/ jazz pianist, Sawhney's musical ability to transcend cultural barriers has gained him much recognition from the classical and pop communities, leading to his unique claim to broadcasting and selling out as artist in his own right for both the BBC Traditional and Electric Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall and Roundhouse respectively. His band has toured the world for decades and Sawhney has performed and scored in recent years with international orchestras to silent films, most notably Franz Osten's A Throw of Dice and Naruse's Yogoto No Yume with the LSO.



"The kid's good. Jaw_droppingly good."- The Guardian

Internationally acclaimed human beatboxer and World Loopstation Champion Shlomo presents his latest vocal project Shlomo and the Lip Factory, an all-vocal band of 7 brilliant beatboxers and singers. Be warned - it is like nothing you have seen before - incredible, inspirational and totally absorbing.

A Guinness World Record holder, Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. It was a good move. Since then he has won global acclaim and worked with some of the biggest names in music including Bjork, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Martha Wainwright, Imogen Heap, The Specials, DJ Yoda and even comedians the Mighty Boosh. In the process he has consistently pushed the boundaries of beatboxing, bringing the art form to new and unexpected audiences through such diverse collaborations.

Shlomo and the Lip Factory is Shlomo's latest project _ a tight group of talented young vocalists, both beatboxers and jazz singers, who come together to create something bigger than the sum of their parts. Performing an inspiring mixture of soulful improvisations, intricately orchestrated compositions, and all_vocal renditions of classic tunes by everyone from Stevie Wonder to Paul Simon and the Prodigy, Shlomo and the Lip Factory are a force to be reckoned with. Don't miss them.



"Manifest skill and awesome relentless energy!" - The Stage

Thundering rhythms on huge taiko drums in a spellbinding display of fluid grace, precise choreography and sheer athleticism, brought to you by Europe's foremost exponents of this ancient art-form.

Through their 18 years of rigorous touring, Mugenkyo have developed a gritty passionate style that is uniquely their own. Retaining the traditional spirit of taiko, yet creating a thoroughly contemporary sound, Mugenkyo have forged a new path with their innovative approach.

A highly focused, perfectly synchronized, thrilling spectacle, and an unforgettable experience.

"This latest show is something else. It is, unashamedly, drumming as theatre, but also drumming as an almost religious experience... exhilarating to behold. Even if you've seen them before, you'll be gobsmacked." - The Glasgow Herald




Travelling over 7544 miles, from South Africa to the UK to perform at the Garforth Arts Festival, the breath-taking voc al sound of the Mzuvele High School Choir will grace the stage at the 2012 Playground Party. Performing their first set acapella, with the Garforth Jazz Rock Band joining them for their second, this must surely be one of the highlights of the festival, bringing together these talented young musicians across vast distances for their first ever joint performance in the UK.

Some readers will know this project well, but for those to whom it is new, here is some background to the story...

The City Of Leeds is twinned with Durban in South Africa and part of this partnership includes links between schools in both cities. Garforth Academy is partnered with Mzuvele High School, a secondary school of around 1200 pupils in the township area of Kwa-Mashu, Durban. Over the last 3 years, various staff and students have visited each other. In 2009 the Mzuvele High School choir composed & recorded songs which they sent via the internet to Garforth and these songs were then arranged by the Garforth Jazz Rock Band (GJRB), recorded & sent back as part of a musical exchange. The song "Friends" was our theme for the 2009 festival.

In February 2011, 3 staff from Garforth Academy took 8 members of the GJRB on a weeklong trip to Durban to visit the partner schools, performing music, working on collaborations & getting to know each other. GJRB also donated 5 brass instruments to Mzuvele High school (a school that previously had no instruments) and students from that school are now learning to play.

During the visit, two more pieces were recorded in collaboration at K-CAP (the Kwa-Mashu Community Arts Project recording studios), which will feature in the 2012 festival. This project really encapsulates what the Garforth Arts Festival is all about - broadening cultural horizons & bringing the best international artists to the heart of the community.

For the full story, with videos, photos and to hear the music of the choir, visit our fundraising campaign page at:



The Garforth Jazz Rock Band was formed in October of 2003 as part of the Garforth Community Arts School, known as Arts Live, based at, Garforth Academy. The band was formed under the guidance of band leader Dave Evans and remains under his direction to this day.
Their repertoire includes jazz, funk, classic pop tracks, contemporary dance music arranged for a big band, traditional & modern South African music and grows larger with each rehearsal.

Since it's conception in 2003 GJRB has gone on to become one of the busiest, and one of the best, youth jazz ensembles in the United Kingdom, performing all over the UK, and touring Ireland, Germany and most recently South Africa.



Over the last 30 years, from small beginnings in inner-city Leeds, Phoenix Dance Theatre has grown to be one of Britain's leading contemporary dance companies. From our home in Leeds, the company tours nationally and internationally, with the aim of bringing inspiring and entertaining dance to the widest possible audience.

For the last 2 years, Garforth Arts Festival has worked with Phoenix Dance Theatre on a multitude of projects, and 2012 will be no exception. We will be opening a third venue at the Playground Party for the first time which will host Phoenix Dance Theatre's regional project, bringing 150 young dancers from across Yorkshire and beyond for a series of showcase performances.



ELFM Stage

East Leeds FM will once again be hosting their own stage after delivering a very well received programme of diverse music & spoken word in 2011. Expect an exciting line-up featuring some of the best up & coming local bands alongside more established acts. CLICK HERE FOR THIS YEAR'S LINE-UP

Broadcasting live from their mobile studio, the team will be touring the festival site, interviewing people, hosting artists after their on-air performances (selected performances only) and running the ELFM stage throughout the day so get down and get involved...


Main Event information: The Playground Party on Saturday 7th July

N.B. There is NO PARKING on site. Alternative parking will be signposted on all routes into Garforth.
The Playground Party once again brings together an outstanding line up of the some of the best and most talented acts from the U.K and beyond. For just £17 this has to be the best value festival day in the U.K. Expect some amazing performances from local acts alongside The Saw Doctors, Nitin Sawhney, Shlomo & The Lip Factory, Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, Phoenix Dance Theatre, GJRB and much more. A fabulous day out. Not to be missed!

VENUE: Garforth Academy Grounds
TIME: Doors open: 2.30pm
Single: £17.00 (Standard)
Single: £15.00 (Concession – under 16s or over 60s)
Family: £45.00 (2 adults & 2 under 16s OR 1 adult & 3 under 16s)
Under 5s go free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Discounts available for local residents – information to follow.

Also available from Jumbo Records, St John’s Centre, Leeds, http://www.jumborecords.co.uk