Hands-on arts experience at youth festival

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The country’s largest four-day greenfield youth festival returns to Harrogate next week with a bumper programme of performances from more than 150 different young acts.

CultureShock will feature six main events on five music stages, one dance stage, one theatre stage and one Big Top circus stage, alongside dance performances and a variety of activities and workshops.

The Big Dance evening next Thursday celebrates youth and community dance and will bring together performers from across the region. Designed to get the whole audience involved, the event will be produced by Yorkshire Dance. It is part of the national Big Dance initiative, the UK’s biggest celebration of dance in the London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

Highlights will include performances from North Yorkshire Youth Dance Company and the St Aidans Boys Dance group.

The CultureShock Proms takes place next Friday at 7pm and will include performances of classical music from orchestras and ensembles from a number of the county’s schools. Performers include Boroughbridge High School Choir, Ripon Grammar School’s Horn Blower Brass Band, Boroughbridge High School Swing Band, St John Fisher School Junior Jazz Ensemble and Harrogate Grammar School Jazz Band.

Hundreds are expected to camp overnight under supervision on Friday and Saturday.

More than 3,000 young people look set to attend the main festival event on Saturday, which will cater for a range of musical tastes and includes a Main Stage, the Urban Stage, the Tipi stage, the new open mic Shed Stage, the 6k Vision Stage, and the FutureShock stage which showcases up-and-coming acts.

Headline acts include the Harrogate band Rosie, DJ duo The Cut Up Boys, dance act Ruff Diamond and eight other bands from across North Yorkshire.

Now in its 11th year, CultureShock is produced by North Yorkshire County Council’s Youth Support Service.

This year’s event will also feature a skate park, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, theatre tent and rodeo bull, as well as workshops including digital animation, didgeridoo and unicycling.

Festival co-ordinator Charlie Land said: “CultureShock gives young people a real chance to submerge themselves in arts practice in the widest sense in a safe environment.”