5 Unmissable Events Happening in December

With festive events, exhibitions and much more, here’s our pick of the just 5 of the most unmissable events happening in December.

1. The Light Before Christmas (2 – 9 December)

The Light Before Christmas

‘The Light Before Christmas: The Angels Are Coming!’, invites families to enjoy the most wonderful time of year through son et lumière as the magnificent Gothic interior of the iconic Liverpool Cathedral becomes a canvas for a sequence of dazzling light and sound artworks.

2. Christmas At The Story Barn (3 – 23 December)

Christmas at the Storybarn

Christmas at the Story Barn will be offering a variety of children’s events including sharing stories, singing classic carols, and making your very own decorations to take home.

3. Christmas Pantos (Throughout Decemeber)


Panto season is here and there’s plenty of shows to catch across the Liverpool city region.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Epstein Theatre
Jack and The Beanstalk at the Hope Street Theatre
Aladdin at the M&S Bank Arena
The Rock ‘n’ Roll panto Red Riding Hood at the Everyman Theatre
Cinderella – Christmas Panto at the St Helens Theatre Royal
Jack and The Beanstalk at Runcorn’s Brindley Theatre
Aladdin at The Atkinson in Southport

4. Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley and Josèfa Ntjam ( 2 Dec – 9 April 2023)


For FACT’s winter season, the worlds of artists Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley and Josèfa Ntjam collide in a free immersive exhibition. Working across archives, maps and video games, the artists consider how acts of resistance, rebuilding and reimagining can lead to transformative new worlds.

5. Elfie Selfie at St John’s Shopping Centre

Elfie Selfie returns to St John’s Shopping Centre this festie season. Meet Snowy, Twinkle, Tinsel and Sue – Chief Nice List Checkers from the North Pole. They have travelled far and wide preparing for Santa’s Nice List ready for the big day; have you been good this year?

You can find them in St Johns Shopping Centre every Saturday & Sunday in December, between 12-4pm where you can snap a selfie with an elfie, add your name to the nice list and receive official elf certification to take away.

To find more events happening across the Liverpool City Region in December check out our What’s On listings.

How To Shop Local & Independent This Christmas

It’s that time of year again when we flock to the shops, both in-person and online, to find the perfect gifts for our friends and family.

But it now feels more important than ever to support our local economy. It’s not always easy to know where to start, but we hope this handy guide will help you find some amazing local, independent artists, makers and businesses so you can buy some incredible gifts while giving a boost to our local economy.

Shop At Local Arts Markets

Summer Arts Market 2019 - Rhian Askins - DSC_2629
Open Culture’s Arts Market. Credit: Rhian Askins

There are plenty of arts markets taking place across the Liverpool city region this Autumn/Winter. Artisans in the City Winter Market takes place at the  Metquarter on Saturday 3 December (11 am – 5 pm) local artists and makers selling their unique products.

Make’s popular Winter Arkade returns on Sunday 4 December (11 am – 4 pm) at Make North Docks.

You can also shop at the various GOOD Markets, taking place in November and December at venues including FACT, Bluecoat and more.

If you’d prefer to do some local, independent shopping online then there’s the Open Culture Winter Arts Market Online, running now until 31 December, with over 100 different local artists, makers and creators selling via the online Directory.

Keep an eye on our What’s On – Markets section for even more event dates.

Shop at independent gift shops


Independent gift shops such are great places to pick up items from local artists and makers.

Merseymade is a great place to pick up gifts from a vast array of artists. Merseymade is divided into a shopping area and a lovely café on the ground floor. Additionally, the first floor serves as a studio space for artists to create and engage with customers.

The Art Quarter, at the Metquarter, showcases local artists selling unique and high-quality art pieces of different mediums including glasswork to oil pastel, and even textile collages.

Utility, with stores on Bold Street and Paradise Place (Liverpool ONE) is perfect for quirky, design-led, homeware gifts and more.

Red Brick Market, at Cains Brewery Village, is another great independent market where you can stock up unique gifts.

Independent art gallery dot-art is another brilliant place to pick up gifts. You can buy original artworks or pick up gift vouchers to spend in their gallery or to put towards their art classes.

The Bluecoat also has a number of independent shops including the Bluecoat Display Centre – selling contemporary crafted items, Root Houseplants, R&J Porter Jewellers and more. Visit thebluecoat.org.uk/shopping to find out more.

Situated in Albert Dock, The Nest hosts an array of handmade gifts created by local creators in Liverpool. Come and browse the stunning photography, one-of-a-kind jewellery, and brilliant ceramics, amidst a plethora of independent designs.

A Slower Space plant and gift shop on Penny Lane, is great for picking up a variety of houseplants and other nice gifts.

Freida Mo’s vintage boutique and bakery/café on Lark Lane is perfect for vintage-loving friends and family members.

Dorothy design and sell music, film, literature and art inspired prints, products and other curiosities.

Shop at independent bookshops

The Reader
The Reader at Calderstones Park

For book lovers you can pick up the perfect gift, and treat yourself to some great reads, at a whole host of independent bookshops.

Liverpool independent bookshops

News From Nowhere
Address: 96 Bold Street, Liverpool L1

Kernaghan Books
Address: The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool L1

Reid of Liverpool
Address: 105 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3

Henry Bohn Books
Address: 12 London Road, Liverpool L3

Baltic Bookstore
 Red Brick Market, Cains Brewery Village, Liverpool L8

Dead Ink Books
Address: 375 Smithdown Road, Liverpool L15

The Reader
Address: Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool L18

Kingsley & Co | Bootle: Literacy Project
9-20 The Palatine, Strand Shopping Centre, Bootle L20

Write Blend Bookshop
Address: 124 South Rd, Waterloo, Liverpool L22

Pritchard’s Bookshop
Address: 13 Moor Lane, Crosby, Liverpool L23

Wirral independent bookshops

Oxton Village Books
Williamson Art Gallery, Wirral CH43

Literally Books
Address: 12 Atherton St, New Brighton, Wallasey CH45

West Kirby Bookshop
Address: 6 Grange Rd, West Kirby, Wirral CH48

St Helens independent bookshops

The St Helens Bookstop
Address: 11 Bridge St, Saint Helens WA10

Southport independent bookshops

Broadhursts of Southport Ltd
Address: 5-7 Market St, Southport PR8

Widnes independent bookshops

Curiosity Bookshop
2 High St, Runcorn WA7

Shop at independent record stores

81 Renshaw Record Shop Liverpool
81 Renshaw

There is no doubt that Liverpool has a rich music heritage and music fans with a weakness for vinyl have lots of options to shop local and independent.

Liverpool independent record stores

Probe Records
1, The Bluecoat, School Ln, Liverpool L1 3BX

81 Renshaw
81 Renshaw St, Liverpool L1 2SJ

Defend Vinyl
395 Smithdown Rd, Liverpool L15 3JJ

Penny Lane Records
The Emporium, Smithdown Road, Liverpool L15 5AF

Phase One
40 Seel St, Liverpool L1 4BE

Rockpoint Records
92 Victoria Rd, New Brighton, Wallasey CH45 2JF

Liverpool city region independent record stores

13/15 Atherton Street, Prescot L34 5QN

Cool Cat Records
Widnes Market, Bradley Way, Widnes WA8 6UE

Skeleton Records
11 Oxton Rd, Birkenhead CH41 2QQ

We hope you’re feeling inspired to shop local and independent this Christmas and all year round!

5 Unmissable Events Happening In November

November sees the return of Homotopia Festival, an exciting new art exhibition, international music and more!

1. Homotopia Festival (1 – 20 November)

Homotopia Festival 2022

Founded in 2004, Homotopia Festival returns from 1 – 20 November 2022. The Liverpool LBGTQIA arts organisation’s theme for this year’s festival is ‘Queer Joy Is A Protest’. “We’re tired of being angry. The simple act of living our most fabulous, out and proud queer lives, just the act of being ourselves in a cis-heteronormative world, is a protest.”

The festival will feature a wide range of arts and cultural events happening across Liverpool and online for the next three weeks bringing their vibrancy and inclusivity to the city.

2 Art of the Terraces (5 November – 12 March 2023)

Art of the Terraces

This is ground-breaking new exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, combining fashion, football and art, as told from the terraces of the stadiums. Art of the Terraces is the first major exhibition to tell the story of a movement that defined sports culture of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

3. Kinaara (9 November)

Kinaara Band

LEAF on Bold Street will play host to Leeds trio Kinaara. The perfect backdrop to a dark, candlelit night with friends and family, LEAF’s bohemian atmosphere sets the scene for the band’s unique ‘Punjabi meets Western’ musical style.

4. Winter Arts Market Online (18 November – 31 December)

WAM Online 2022 Facebook Event Cover Image FB Size

Open Culture’s Winter Arts Market is heading online this year. Following the disappointing news that they are unable to host the Winter Arts Market at Liverpool Cathedral they have created a alternative offer for artists and makers to promote their businesses this Christmas. Shoppers can browse from 200 independent sellers to buy some amazing and unique Christmas presents and treat themselves while they’re at it! Visit winterartsmarket.com now to start shopping.

5. Black Hole – End of Time (18 – 20 November)

Black Hole - End of Time

Black Hole – End of Time is a large format immersive spatial light art experience. Using spectacular lasers, lighting, projections and special effects, synchronised to a striking, ear-tickling soundtrack. Back by popular demand, over three nights, Black Hole – End of Time will again mesmerise and enthral and if you felt like you were in Blade Runner in 2021, in 2022 you can add 2001 A Space Odyssey to the list.

To find more events happening across the Liverpool City Region check out our What’s On listings.

The Best Autumnal Walks Around The Liverpool City Region

The Best Autumnal Walks Around The Liverpool City Region

There’s just something about Autumn, with the changing leaves, the cool breezes, and all of the cosy contentment that comes with it. Getting out and enjoying the fresh air at this time of year also brings the added treat of the vibrant orange leaves crunching under foot. It’s a great time to get out and explore the city region in all of its multi-coloured glory. Here’s our pick of the best Autumnal walks around the Liverpool city region.

Sefton Park

Arguably the most popular park in Liverpool, playing host to major annual events such as Africa Oye, Sefton Park is a stunning Grade I listed heritage site, steeped in history and beautiful landscapes. You could easily spend a full day there, with something to do for everyone. Why not grab yourself a hot drink from the Aviary Cafe or Lakeside Cafe before setting off on your walk? Tick off the many statues and monuments as you go, and take in the sights of the caves, ponds and waterfalls, such as the iconic Fairy Glen. Don’t forget to take a stroll over to the Palm House, too, where there will likely be something going on that you can check out.

Croxteth Park

Situated at the opposite end of the city, Croxteth Park is another of Liverpool’s biggest outdoor spaces, boasting 500 acres of woodland and wildlife. Take your pick of the many paths and trails, where you might stumble upon horses and cattle. You could make this trip several times and each time have a different experience. Make sure you try out the different drinks and catering vendors; a particular highlight is the hot chocolate from Lola-in-the-Courtyard or Nutella-topped donuts outside of Croxteth Hall.

Calderstones Park

A visit to Calderstones Park in the autumn is an absolute must. Head over to the lake where you can feed the ducks and geese (if it’s not already frozen over, that is!) or take a walk through the Botanical Gardens featuring almost 4,000 species of plants. Take a break from your stroll and cosy up with a book at the Reader Cafe, where they serve up breakfast, lunch and desserts.

Dream Statue Loop, St Helens

Located on the former site of Sutton Manor Colliery, Dream is a 20 metre high sculpture designed by the world-renowned artist, Jaume Plensa. The site offers views across the Cheshire and Lancashire plains, out to the mountains of Snowdonia, the Pennines and the Peak District. The Dream Sculpture is a great day out if you enjoy walking as there’s some brilliant woodland trails to explore around the sculpture too.

Freshfield, Formby

This is a route that can be split into two, or joined together for one longer walk. Beginning at Freshfield Station, the first section is 3 miles long and takes you out to the coast following the Sefton Coastal Path. Absorb the views of the Mersey Estuary, Welsh Mountains and Irish Sea, before heading through the pinewoods where you can keep an eye out for Red Squirrels. The second section is 4.25 miles long and takes you through the countryside via inland Formby. Find the full guide and map here.

Hale Village

Take a round trip from Hale Village that follows the Mersey Way along the shore. Take in the sights of Hale Marsh, which is filled with wildlife, and the decommissioned Hale Head Lighthouse. Continue down the path that runs alongside the shore until you find yourself back in the village.

The Wirral Way Walk

The Wirral Way is situated within the beautiful Wirral Country Park. The route starts in West Kirby and runs through to Hooton along an old disused railway line. There are also stunning views over the Dee Estuary to Wales. The entire route is 13 miles but you can just choose to walk sections of the Wirral Way.

Festival Gardens

Festival Gardens is arguably the most unique of these spaces, with the addition of oriental gardens and pagodas. It is a tranquil space, set back behind rows and rows of trees. Why not park up in Otterspool and follow the promenade until you find the Festival Gardens.

Botanic Gardens

Another piece of history lies in the Botanic Gardens in Wavertree, that once played an important role in the recreational and cultural life of Liverpool Residents before World War II, when the great glasshouses were destroyed. There’s still plenty to admire here with the walled garden, the ornamental carpet bedding and the ornamental fountain, summerhouse, fishpond and aviary.

5 Unmissable Events Happening In October

From Black History Month to Liverpool Irish Festival, here’s our top 5 unmissable events happening in October.

1.Black History Month (Throughout October)

Black History Month

Writing on The Wall and National Museums Liverpool have both announced details of their Black History Month programmes. Writing on The Wall’s programme includes Linton Kwesi Johnson, Anyika Onuoura, PM Russell, the L8 Archives, Dorothy Kuya and Anti Slavery International Archives Launch, What’s Your Story International – Gambia, Myanmar, Lebanon, Different Voices Shred Lives, The Attic Child, and more.

While National Museums Liverpool’s events include Diasporic Dialogues with Blackfest, After Hours with The Goddess Projects, Great Black Britons, and Inspirational Black Scousers, plus much more.

2. The Importance of Being Earnest (11 – 15 October)

Importance of Being Earnest

Coming to the Playhouse Theatre this month, 2021 Sir Peter Hall Directors Award-winner, Denzel Westley-Sanderson breathes fresh new life into Wilde’s sharpest and wittiest comedy: The Importance of Being Earnest. This is a classic satire, vibrantly retold about dysfunctional families, class, gender and sexuality.

3. Reel Tours Presents: The Fog (21 October)

Reel Tours presents The Fog

Join Reel Tours and the Playhouse for a one-off Halloween special screening of the 80’s cult classic John Carpenter’s, The Fog. With a horror history intro from Reel Tours pre film and a quiz to follow, this screening of The Fog will set a truly horrific tone to your Halloween celebrations. Prizes will be awarded for the best Halloween costume on the night.

4. Liverpool Irish Festival (20 – 30 October)

Liverpool Irish Festival 2022

Liverpool Irish Festival, the UK’s largest Irish arts and culture led festival is back for its twentieth year, featuring 40+ events for adults and children across 10 remarkable days. This year’s festival includes an array of Irish artists and contributors from across the worlds of music, theatre, film, spoken word, visual arts and academia, such as Stephen Travers (The Miami Showband), Lorraine Maher (#IAmIrish) and Ruairi Glasheen (internationally acclaimed bodhrán player).

5. Filla Crack’s Halloween Drag Cabaret (29 October)

Filla Crack Halloween web banner (Medium)

This Hallows Eve, Filla Crack will be paying tribute to the queens of Halloween, with her very own version of The Sanderson Sisters: “The Sefton Sisters” a bunch of local scouse drag queens putting together a fabulous dragtastic show to help celebrate the spooky season.

To discover more events happening in the Liverpool city region in October and beyond, check out our What’s On listings.

5 Unmissable Events Happening In September

Here’s our pick of the top 5 unmissable events happening in September.

1. Hailu Mergia (6 September)

Hailu Mergia at Future Yard

The legendary Hailu Mergia is set to play Birkenhead’s most exciting music venue this September. Future Yard will bring the Ethiopian keyboardist, master accordionist and veteran bandleader to the Wirral on Tuesday 6 September as part of their FUJAZZI series; a regular set of shows exploring the outer edges of jazz. Hailu Mergia rose to prominence in Ethiopia in the 1970s, leading the Walias Band in their exploration of hard funk, traditional music and jazz in Ethiopia’s capital.

Find out more & book tickets.

2. Drunk Women Solving Crime (10 September)

Drunk Women Solving Crime

On the back of their Edinburgh Festival run and double British Podcast Award nominations, the true crime podcast with a twist of lime takes to the road for its first full tour. Each episode sees the boozed-up panel of writer/comedian hosts Hannah George, Catie Wilkins and Taylor Glenn test out their drunk detective skills and solve true crime cases. With this live show the audience gets the chance to have any unresolved crimes against them solved by their sloshed sleuths.

Find out more and book tickets.

3. La Feria – A Festival of Latin American Arts & Culture (16 – 18 September)

La Feria Latin Festival

An exciting, colourful and magical festival of Latin American Arts & Culture is coming to Liverpool, with innovative and diverse events, performances and activities that will give all audiences the chance to experience the power of Latin American Arts & Culture in different settings. The festival run by Liverpool’s own LUMA Creations features award-winning quintet Camila y Silvio from Chile at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall; street performance by the colourful Colombian company Cusan Theatre; dance showcases at the Liverpool Central Library with Colibri from Mexico and Caporales San Simon Sucre from Bolivia; and a day of amazing mouth-watering array of cuisine from Latin American countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Cuba & Mexico and much more at District in the Baltic Triangle.

Find out more.

4. JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters (27 Sept – 4 June 2023)

Tate Liverpool Exterior

Take a fresh look at JMW Turner in new exhibition Dark Waters. For the first time, Turner’s work will be presented within an immersive sound environment created by artist and musician, Lamin Fofana. The exhibition features some of Turner’s most celebrated seascapes alongside his sketchbooks and works on paper.

Find out more and book tickets.

5. Gravity Festival (29 Sept – 2 Oct)

Gravity Festival

Gravity is a festival for our times that fuses great books and novels with intimate conversations about life’s ups and downs. This year’s programme – which takes place online and in person – includes talks from guest speakers and wellbeing activities such as poetry walks, yoga and Shared Reading.

Find out more and book tickets.

To find more events happening across the Liverpool City Region check out our What’s On listings.

5 Unmissable Events Happening In July

We’ve rounded up 5 events you don’t want to miss this July, with poetry, music, theatre and more!

1. A Lovely Poetry Festival

Taking place at the Everyman Theatre from 1 – 9 July, A Lovely Poetry Festival will celebrate writing, different voices and showcase the wonderful creative community of Liverpool. With a week of headline poetry events, industry talks, a poetry slam, radio poetry competitions and a poetry factory, the festival will also include working with local poets such as Lyndsay Price, Gerry Clarkson and Olive Yoxall, as well as A Lovely Word artist-in-residence Amina Atiq. Together with nationally recognised “Poet Factory” Beth Calverley, the festival will gather and build a body of poetry on the ground floor of the Everyman, as local residents and visitors are encouraged to simply walk up and write a poem.

2. Pride In Liverpool

Pride In Liverpool

2022 is the year that we all “Come Together”. The Liverpool Pride 2022/23 theme has been chosen to represent not only the city region’s LGBT+ community returning to in-person events and much needed connection to each other, but the need to come together as one united community, now more than ever, as we continue to have our rights and freedoms attacked.

The Pride in Liverpool festival, will centre around the Pier Head, just a stones through from the city’s Pride Quarter and visitor attractions, on Saturday 30 July.


LIMF 2022

LIMF returns with a new format, taking over city centre venues rather than Sefton Park. The lineup includes British reggae and pop band legends UB40 ft Ali Campbell, iconic American hip hop trio De La Soul, Liverpool royalty The Zutons, one of the hottest new bands around at the moment Red Rum Club, all-female DJ Collective Girls Don’t Sync, critically acclaimed rapper Kojey Radical, electrifying performers House Gospel Choir and the singer behind the unmistakable M People vocals, Heather Small, are among the first acts to be announced for LIMF 2022.

4. Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2022

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival will mark 20 years since their first festival was held in the city. For two decades Liverpool Arab Arts Festival has provided a platform for Arab art and culture, celebrating Arab artists across a range of artforms including music, performance, theatre, literature, spoken word, visual art and more.

5. Shakespeare North Playhouse Opening

Shakespeare North Playhouse. Credit - Austin Smith Lord
Credit – Austin Smith Lord

The launch of the highly-anticipated Shakespeare North Playhouse will see a number of special events taking place, including All The Joy That You Can Wish, featuring ‘local heroes’ including the builders who helped construct the venue, and Prescot Cables FC players, who will gather outside the theatre for a ceremony to celebrate the opening, as well as the heritage and community of Prescot.

For more events happening in July and beyond check out our What’s On section.

Africa Oyé 2022: Preview

Africa Oyé festival returns to Liverpool’s Sefton Park on 18th and 19th June, following a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic. It marks a special return as the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Africa Oyé Photo Credit Siobhan Slater
Africa Oyé Photo Credit Siobhan Slater

Beginning in 1992 as a series of gigs in the city centre, Africa Oyé has evolved into one of Liverpool’s most beloved annual events, attracting artists and attendees from across the globe.

The festival will see one of Merseyside’s most beautiful green spaces filled with the music and culture of Africa, the Caribbean and the diaspora, for two free days of live music, DJs and dance, as well as workshops, food stalls and a range of traders in the Oyé Village.

The Headliners

Africa Oyé Headliners 2022
Africa Oyé Headliners 2022: Oumou Sangaré, Fuse ODG and Eek-A-Mouse

Oumou Sangaré, Fuse ODG and Eek-A-Mouse will top the bill at this year’s free celebration of African and Caribbean culture in Liverpool, along with a host of other acclaimed acts appearing on the line-up.

The Grammy Award-winning Oumou Sangaré was just 21 when her first album, Moussoulu, with its groundbreaking songs championing female empowerment and condemning inequality and polygamy, rocketed her to national stardom in her home country of Mali in 1989.

Since then she has become internationally recognised as one of Africa’s greatest voices, performing at prestigious venues and festivals around the world, receiving honours and awards and releasing a string of acclaimed albums. Her music is contemporary yet stays true to her musical roots of Wassoulou – a historical region south of the Niger River, where the music descends from age-old traditional song.

British-Ghanaian superstar Fuse ODG made his name in the London rap scene after growing up in the UK capital. Born Nana Richard Abiona, the producer and artist has been a pioneer of the rise of Afrobeats across the world, as well as an active influence in helping young people in his local communities realise their musical aspirations through a mobile studio. Fuse will be bringing a full live performance to Oyé and it’s not to be missed! 

Eek-A-Mouse became a household name in Jamaica in the late 70s and early 80s having invented a whole new vocal style, sing-jay, flooding the airwaves with his catch phrases and going on to become a respected toaster. His set at Oyé will see him backed by British reggae rhythm section and production team, Mafia & Fluxy.

The eclectic line-up for this year’s festival also includes the return of DR Congo’s Kanda Bongo Man, who previously played Oyé back in 2009 and 2003; Cape Verdean singer-songwriter, Elida Almeida; one of Guinea-Bissau’s most influential bands, Tabanka Djaz; the Ghanian modern highlife stars, Santrofi; French-Cameroonian songstress, Valérie Ékoumé; and Congolese electro music ambassador, Kizab.

DJs, Kenyan star DJ Edu (BBC 1Xtra) and UK-based Emily Dust will also return to the Oyé main stage.  A host of the region’s finest Afro-centric DJs will showcase their sounds across the wider festival site.

Local Acts

Ni Maxine Africa Oye
Ni Maxine

Africa Oyé is also an amazing platform for local artists to be seen and heard. Festival favourites, Staged Kaos return to the Oyé stage to kick off festivities on the Saturday, with a special performance to mark Oyé’s 30th anniversary.

Kaos produce fun inclusive educational workshops with a focus on Black history, female empowerment and social issues. Their weekly youth theatre based in Toxteth caters for children aged 3-13 and looks to inspire positive development through performing arts, with a focus on creative growth, developing confidence and social awareness.

Representing ‘Introduces’ on the Saturday is Nazeem, a prolific singer-songwriter, guitarist and peace ambassador, who is also the founding director of Dole Ndawi, an NGO engaging directly with young people to foster their development and increase resilience faced by Gambian youth. Nazeem’s style of music reflects his roots and culture – influenced by a 2-year residency in Senegal – and is an infectious blend of Afro Pop, Zouk, Reggae, Dancehall and Mbalax.

Opening the main stage music programme on the Sunday of the festival is Liverpool Neo-Jazz Singer-Songwriter, Ni MaxineGrowing up on MTV Base and cassette mixtapes made by her mum, Ni listened to everything from gospel and rare groove through to funk and R&B from a young age. From writing songs in the car with her brother and sister, drumming on the back of headrests beatboxing and singing, through to listening to the likes of Herbie Hancock and Fela Kuti on Jazz FM. Over the past year, Ni has been working on a body of music which explores themes of home, identity, self-esteem and belonging. With ‘a sense of duty to reflect the times’, Ni Maxine presents the story of a black woman navigating today’s world.

DJ 2Kind and the L100 Cypher will make their main stage debut on the Sunday of the festival this year, following an acclaimed showing at Africa Oyé’s recent Hip Hop Showcase the Philharmonic Hall earlier this year.

2Kind is a Liverpool based DJ who started his musical journey alongside Liverpool Urban DJ Collective ‘Lyrical Compact. With DJ Olabean and D Fresh he spent 10 years performing at venues across the UK, promoting the likes of ‘Players Ball’ and ‘BOUNCE’, which brought top quality artists to his hometown of Liverpool for the first time. His KCC Live radio show, The L100, is the first ever urban radio show to showcase solely Liverpool and Merseyside artists. ‘The L100 Cypher’ concept has seen 2Kind’s collective of artists share the stage with artists such as Redman & Method Man, Mobb Deep, DJ Premier, Jeru the Damaja & KRS One.

Oyé Village & Active Zone DJs

Africa Oyé Trenchtown
Africa Oyé Trenchtown

The festival will also feature food stalls and a range of traders in the Oyé Village. Plus, the Oyé Active Zone provides festival-goers with free workshops across the whole weekend, suitable for all ages, while the ever-popular DJ stages Trenchtown and Freetown are returning.


Established in 2012, Trenchtown was the festival’s inaugural dedicated DJ stage. At the far end of the park, Trenchtown is soundtracked by some of the country’s top Afro-centric DJs as well as home-grown selectors playing music from across the African diaspora; dub, reggae, ska, Afrobeat, house and much more.

Trenchtown also features the original Oyé Inn, their merchandise stall, donation station, and a comfortable seating area ideal for chilling out. For those feeling more active, there will also be plenty of space for dancing the weekend away!

This year at Trenchtown, along with some returning Oyé favorites, they welcome a host of new faces, including Lucy Grey, Simma, King Surman Sound, and Audio Farm resident, Silent Selector. An eclectic day of African sounds is planned for Saturday, with a reggae-leaning lineup on Sunday.


Now in its third year at Oye, Freetown is back for 2022, soundtracking our second bar. Freetown will be hosting a wealth of DJs playing Afrobeat, reggae, dub, funk, soul, hiphop and jazz. With a seating area ideal for chilling out and a dancefloor for those feeling more like moving, be sure to pay a visit.

They’re also very happy to be welcoming new acts to Freetown for 2022, with Oye debuts for Papu Raf, Anti Social Jazz Club and SoulfulTiz, along with a host of familiar faces, including No Fakin’, Subcora, Chris McBride, Melodic Distraction and many more.

Africa Oyé will take place on June 18th and 19th 2022, in Liverpool’s Sefton Park from 12:30pm til 9:30pm both days and entrance is FREE. For more information visit https://africaoye.com/

5 Exhibitions You Must See In Liverpool This Summer

Here’s our guide to 5 unmissable exhibitions to catch in Liverpool over the summer.

1. Radical Landscapes at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool Radical Landscapes Jeremy Deller Cerne Abbas
Jeremy Deller: Cerne Abbas

Featuring over 150 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and films, Radical Landscapes is a powerful and political exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Activism, conflict and the climate emergency are all at the forefront of this major exhibition that features artworks by artists including Jeremy Deller (Feature Image), Ingrid Pollard, Tanoa Sasraku, Derek Jarman, Hurvin Anderson, Claude Cahun, Alan Lodge and many more.

Radical Landscapes is on display at Tate Liverpool until 4 September 2022.

2. Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder at the World Museum

Dalek in World Museum
Photo Credit: Pete Carr

The Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder exhibition includes contributions from stars across the fields of science and entertainment, along with the opportunity to find out more about the many links between Liverpool and the long running sci-fi show. Game of Thrones star Mark Gatiss – co-creator of BBC’s Sherlock and writer of several episodes of Doctor Who – will narrate the exhibition, guiding visitors through space and time. Space scientist, author and presenter of BBC’s The Sky at Night Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE will provide expert analysis and explore the mind-blowing science behind the well-loved TV show, through interactive “Ask a Scientist” sections located throughout the exhibition.

Visitors will also be able to delve into the classic set designs of the original series, as well as the incredible special effects and makeup design that bring the show to life – all from scientists, designers and producers who have worked on Doctor Who.

Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder is on display at the World Museum until 30 October 2022.

3. The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics at the Walker Art Gallery

Queen Elizabeth, (c) National Portrait Gallery
Queen Elizabeth, (c) National Portrait Gallery

The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics includes almost seventy works from the National Portrait Gallery, a selection of additional loans, and paintings from the Walker Art Gallery’s collection. It is the first time such a significant number of the National Portrait Gallery’s renowned Tudor portraits have been lent for exhibition. This major exhibition at the Walker will explore the Tudors from a range of perspectives. It will spotlight some historically underrepresented aspects of the period, including Black Tudor history and LGBTQ+ history.

The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics is on display at the Walker Art Gallery until 29 August 2022.

4. My Garden My Sanctuary at FACT

FACT My Garden My Sanctuary - Sian Fan Spirit Corp 2019 - Courtesy of the artist
Sian Fan Spirit Corp 2019 – Courtesy of the artist

Summer 2022 exhibition, My Garden, My Sanctuary, is a collection of new, immersive artworks by Yaloo and Sian Fan – two artists using creative technology to tell stories of ancestry and self-discovery in a hyperconnected world. Curated by Carrie Chan, FACT’s 2022 Curator-in-Residence, the exhibition challenges the conventional ways we define our backgrounds to embrace identities that are more fluid.

My Garden My Sanctuary is on display at FACT from 21 July – 9 October 2022.

5. Kunichika: Japanese Prints at the Lady Lever Art Gallery

Kunichika-Ichikawa-Danjuro © National Museums Liverpool, courtesy of Frank Milner
Kunichika-Ichikawa-Danjuro © National Museums Liverpool, courtesy of Frank Milner

More than 50 of Kunichika’s hand-printed single, double and triptych prints feature in this must-see exhibition, which is the first in a national gallery outside of Japan to focus on his work.

Kunichika: Japanese Prints is on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery until 4 September 2022.

Check out our What’s On section for more exhibitions, events, festivals and much more.

Meet The DJs Behind ‘Dance For Plants’ – Combining A Love For Music & Protecting The Planet

‘Global Grooves For Plants and People’ is the tagline for the brilliant Dance For Plants, founded by DJs Sam Forryan and Emily Shinagawa. Their aim is clear; throwing dance parties with an ethical conscience and raising awareness of climate change. So if you join them for their events you can dance the day and night away knowing that you’re helping in some way towards the climate change emergency.

Dance For Plants DJs Emily Shinagawa and Sam Forryan
Dance For Plants DJs Emily Shinagawa and Sam Forryan

We had a chat with Sam and Emily to find out all about Dance For Plants.

Uncover Liverpool: Tell us a bit more about yourselves, how you come up with the idea for Dance For Plants and when did you get started? 

Sam & Emily: Dance for Plants started as a simple idea of just two people (us) wanting to have a party with their friends. Basically we both had been bedroom DJs for a few years and loved the idea of DJing live, and so we just decided to go for it! We thought that we could use our first event to raise money for a good cause, and so hired a small venue, sold tickets for a few pounds each and used the money to support World Land Trust. We also felt that in raising money for an environmental charity, it would be a bit counterintuitive to use single-use plastics (i.e. cups, straws etc.), so we kind of made the event about trying to reduce our waste footprint too. The event was a hit, and we decided to try and do more! Sadly this was about 2 weeks before the pandemic hit (February 2020), so we had to wait a long time to do more in-person events!

UL: You guys also have your own show on Mixcloud where you play some seriously cool music and chat about important environmental issues. It’s such an enjoyable listen! Did this feel like a natural step for you to take with being DJ’s? 

Sam & Emily: We actually made a few of these Mixcloud shows in the early part of last year, when most venues were still closed or restricted due to COVID. It was a fun project for us to work on, and it was a great way to learn more about some of the music and artists we love, and try to get to grips with some of the environmental issues in the world today. It’s pretty clear the world is in a bad way as a result of human impact, so it was important to us that we didn’t just raise awareness about some of these things, but try and give people some little ideas about achievable things that they can do to try and have a more positive impact. 

UL: The music you play at your parties and on your Mixcloud show is such an incredible mix. What can the party-goer or listener expect? 

Sam & Emily: Really glad to hear you liked it!! We both really enjoy music from a really wide range of styles and genres, and from all over the world. Our live events differ from our recordings in that it is such a joy to get to play our favourite songs on a big soundsystem and watch people groove to it! Essentially we want to play music that maximises that feeling and gets across how much fun we have while doing it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, because at the end of the day we’re just sharing music that other, more talented people have made! You can expect to hear a real mix of stuff across a whole range of vibes, from more laidback Saharan Blues, Brazilian jazz and Arabic reggae to latin house, fiery Caribbean zouk and Vietnamese disco! 

UL: Could you tell us a bit about the environmental charities you support and the work that they do? 

Sam & Emily: For our last two parties, we raised funds for World Land Trust, which is a conservation charity that protects threatened habitats and wildlife by buying land to prevent development and helping them regenerate. We’ve been big fans of the amazing work they do for a long time, so it was fantastic to be able to support them whilst having a lot of fun. We also planted trees in Scotland with the Future Forest Company through our monthly gigs at a great bar in Liverpool called Subrosa – we used our pay to plant about 30 trees a month, and have now planted around 300 trees with them. 

For our May event, we’ll be planting a tree with FFC for every ticket sold. We’re also donating the rest of our ticket profits to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. They are a great local organisation that manages and regenerates a variety of habitats, from meadows to wetlands and even the sea. We are so lucky to have such a variety of unique landscapes around the Merseyside region, and it’s important to protect these habitats for everyone to enjoy for decades to come. 

UL: Obviously environmental causes and climate change are really important to you, how would you encourage others to get involved in the movement? What small or big changes have you made in your lives that you think others could do? 

Sam & Emily: Climate change is a very real challenge we face, and it can be quite daunting to think about how to overcome it – but we really want people to realise that small, consistent changes in our daily habits can make a big impact on the long run. It might be reducing how much meat/dairy you eat, choosing to use public transport, or buying second-hand clothes instead – these all add up! If you want to get more actively involved, there are plenty of environmental charities and organisations that need our help, both locally and nationally. Social media is a great way to find out about any groups and events happening nearby, and there’s plenty of ways to do your bit – it can be as easy as adding your name to a petition, making regular donations, volunteering for a few hours or even taking part in a fundraiser! 

UL: You also arrange litter picking sessions, that you currently run once a month, how can people get involved with these litter picks? 

Sam & Emily: We normally post about them on our Instagram page about a week in advance – drop us a message if you fancy joining in! We provide all the equipment, so all you have to bring is enthusiasm – you get a free drink at the bar afterwards too. 

UL: What does the future hold for Dance For Plants? Do you have more events planned? What are your long term goals? 

Sam & Emily: Dance for Plants has already far exceeded what we imagined it could be! As well as helping environmental charities, it has been so great to collaborate with local charities too, such as Liverpool Cares and Liverpool RASA. In the long term we’d love to work more with some of these guys. Similarly, it has been really enjoyable to collaborate with small local businesses and invite them into our events, and this is also something we’d like to pursue more in the future. 

We have also been selling T-Shirts with our logo on to raise money for the Disaster Emergency Committee’s work in Ukraine – if this goes well we might try and expand this idea to sell other kinds of merchandise to help good causes. 

We are also currently in talks with local radio station Melodic Distraction to turn our podcast into a radio show with them, which we’re really excited about.

However right now most of our mental energy is focusing on trying to make our next event as big a success as possible! It takes place at Bloom Building on Bank Holiday Sunday (May 1st) from 4-11pm, and it’s gonna be a blast. Tickets are available on Resident Advisor, and as above each ticket sold plants a tree, with the remaining profit going to Cheshire Wildlife Trust. We’ve also enlisted the wonderful Desert Island Dumplings to come and sell their amazing plant-based dumplings, and can’t wait to see what they bring!