The Blues Brothers dig African art at the launch of Festival 2005

Albert Stebbings (left) and Owen Visser of the Blues Brothers Banned, pictured at the launch of Festival 2005 with an exhibition of contemporary African art
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The Hammersmith & Fulham Festival 2005 – a two-week extravaganza of entertainment and activities – was launched at Hammersmith Town Hall yesterday (29 March) with a spectacular exhibition of African art and a guest appearance by members of the Blues Brothers Banned.

The annual festival - which runs until Sunday, 17 April - offers music, sports, arts, cultural and children’s events for residents and visitors to the borough. Now in its fourth successful year, the festival is run by the council in partnership with local entertainment venues, football clubs and community organisations. Many events are free.

Highlights include:
· Environment open day with family activities at Wormwood Scrubs nature reserve, next to Old Oak Community Centre, from 11am – 2pm on Saturday (2 April)
· African, Irish, Indian, Caribbean and English dancing come together in the Melting Pot, a spectacular celebration of the borough’s diversity, from 3 -5.30pm on Sunday, 3 April at Hammersmith Town Hall
· A Mini-Olympics in Hurlingham Park, Fulham, from 9.30am – 2pm on Saturday 9 April with sports events for up to 200 children and free football match tickets on offer. Look out for other free match ticket offers in the festival programme
· A vintage fashion fair in the assembly hall, Hammersmith Town Hall from 10am – 5pm on Sunday 10 April
· A borough-wide art exhibition being launched on Thursday 14 April
· Two weeks of arts and other activities at the Masbro Centre, in West Kensington
· A night of comedy hosted by BBC London at Hammersmith Town Hall at 8pm on Saturday 16 April with big name comedians, including Richard Blackwood, Felix Dexter and John Maloney, which will raise money for Comic Relief
· A special concert by Eddi Reader, the voice of the hugely successful Fairground Attraction, at 8pm on Sunday 17 April with reduced price tickets for borough residents
· Other musical attractions include a packed programme of gigs at the Bluejay Lounge and Ginglik, both in Shepherds Bush, with reduced price tickets for borough residents. The Blues Brothers Banned play classic soul, rhythm and blues at 7.30pm on Monday 4 April at the Bluejay.

The festival was launched yesterday (Tuesday) by the borough’s mayor, Cllr Charlie Treloggan, who opened an exhibition of stunning contemporary African art, which will run in the mayor’s parlour at Hammersmith Town Hall for the next two weeks.
Cllr Treloggan said: “Festival 2005 is a wonderful celebration of our local community and culture. Residents and visitors of all ages can enjoy the very best of the borough’s theatre, comedy, music, art and sports events, as well as many other attractions ranging from river boat trips to cycle rides.

The splendid exhibition of African art in the mayor’s parlour represents some of the best contemporary artwork coming out of the continent and we are delighted to be hosting it during our festival and the national Africa O5 festival – the biggest ever celebration of African culture in Britain. I hope local people and visitors enjoy the exhibition and the 100 plus events taking place during the Hammersmith & Fulham Festival. Thank you to all our partners, sponsors and volunteers who have helped to make it happen.”

April 3, 2005