Formed in Brixton in 2006, Yaaba Funk’s sound starts with Hi-Life,
the upbeat Ghanaian dance style, and brings in James Brown
grooves, Sun Ra jazz, Parliament-Funkadelic jams, and more than
a hint of mind-altering dub.

On stage, this multiculti crew from Brixton hit audiences like an
Afro version of the Specials meet Sly and the Family Stone, often
joined on stage by guests such as Jason Yarde and Robin
Hopcraft from Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA.

Featuring lyrics in the Ghanaian language of Akan and English,
‘My Vote Dey Count’, the band’s second album, recently released
on Sterns Music, finds the group in fine form proving that the band
can cut it as well in the studio as they can live on stage.
Afrobeat, Hi-Life and social politics – not forgetting a solid dose of
African Funk – all come together to form the unique and powerful
sound that is Yaaba Funk.

Saturday 16 April 2016
10pm to 4am

Simmer Down Festival Press Release


Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Simmer Down Festival takes a break – to forward plan and consolidate!

Simmer Down Festival has been held in Handsworth Park since 2010 and has grown over the years to become one of the country’s most well respected reggae festivals, it is a flagship event in Birmingham’s calendar of free public events, attracting a diverse family audience from across the city and nationally, whilst retaining a true feel of Handsworth.
As a community interest company, Simmer Down Festival is managed by an independent Board of directors. The Board is keen to see the festival develop into a resilient and sustainable annual event, which whilst retaining its community feel, celebrates Birmingham’s rich cultural diversity and pays tribute to the City’s unique reggae legacy. With the Festival’s rapid growth necessitating increased infrastructural resources and funding, the Board believes that 2016 presents an ideal opportunity to take stock and explore longer term funding and sponsorship opportunities and in particular secure a wider range of partners to help deliver the festival.

In 2016, the Board as part of the organisational development planning process will seek to ensure that the organisation is fit for purpose and has all the prerequisite systems, policies, procedures and the infrastructure resources for a festival that now attracts approximately 15,000 people. Building on the Festival’s brand and previous successes, the aim will be to ensure that Simmer Down Festival becomes a world-class festival, which is planned and delivered through an expanded multi agency partnership which involves the City’s leading arts organisations, along with local community groups, schools, colleges and businesses.

The Simmer Down CIC Board would like to thank all of its stakeholders who have helped make the festival such a success over the last few years. This includes artists, staff, funders, partners, sponsors, suppliers and above all you the festival-goers – We look forward to seeing you back in Handsworth Park 2017!

Testimonial from our supporters:
Birmingham City Council has supported Simmer Down Festival’s development and growth over the years. It has been an important part of the City’s Festival Calendar and we look forward receiving details of organisational development plans for 2017 and beyond.
Symon Easton
Head of Cultural Development
Birmingham City Council

As one of the most anticipated events in the community’s calendar, Simmer Down reflects the diverse mix of people not just of Handsworth but Birmingham as a whole. As a safe and positive experience for local residents and visitors to Birmingham, it challenges negative perceptions of the area and contributes to community cohesion. It is the source of great community pride and I look forward to seeing it back in Handsworth Park in 2017.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar
SDF Board Member (individual capacity)

We are firmly committed to developing a fit for purpose infrastructure for Simmer Down’s growth, which addresses organisational capacity and financially sustainability. We will of course ensure that we remain true to our core values and continue to respond to the needs of our communities and our family audiences.
Jesse Gerald
Chair of Simmer Down CIC

Press Release issued by Simmer Down CIC Board of Directors

Notes to Editors:
Simmer Down images available upon request

Media Contact: For further information please contact:

Alex Williams
Simmer Down Festival Producer
Email: awmusic86@gmail.com
Mobile: 0121 296 5235
Unit2/111, The Green House, The Custard Factory
Gibb Street
B9 4DJ

Simmer Down Festival

Simmer Down is one of the largest and most diverse festivals in Birmingham. Situated in the beautiful surroundings of Handsworth Park, it is a free family fun-day festival, which celebrates Birmingham’s rich cultural diversity by paying tribute to Birmingham’s unique reggae legacy. The Festival’s programme, taking place across several stages, features music, dance, visual arts and participation activities for all the family including workshops, face painting, rides, arts and crafts stalls plus a selection of food stalls offering treats from across the city’s cultural cuisines.


The Drum would like to respond to the confusion that has arisen around Upfront Comedy and our plans for new comedy forms at The Drum.  Upfront Comedy has enjoyed over 20 years at The Drum. It has been a great success and for many, the highlight of starting the weekend with friends and family whilst listening to some fabulous tunes and watching some great internationally known comedians.

We have known for over four years Birmingham has Europe’s largest under 16 population. Statistics and feedback suggests a growing demand from the 18 -24 age group for a range of offers at The Drum. As part of our annual review of programming we have explored how we can maintain loyal audiences whilst attracting new audiences. We tried to explore this vision with John Simmit and believed we had reached an understanding about the future of Upfront Comedy which was to return as soon as July but definitely no later than October. In short, the Arts and Marketing team would produce a short programme from April – June and then John would return with Upfront Comedy.  We planned to monitor the new programmes model and together, with Upfront, make necessary adjustments to accommodate both. Therefore, his announcement on Friday came as a shock and surprise to us all.  We’re sad and disappointed but respect John’s decision and would like to wish him well for the future.  He has been more than a partner – he has been instrumental in the development of The Drum. From our humble beginnings over 25 years ago.  John has been a constant feature in terms of helping getting us to where we are now and we will never forget that.

So, with John’s decision to move Upfront to new venues we will have to revisit our comedy vision.   We are working on plans to introduce new comedy and cabaret formats which we hope to attract new audiences whilst making sure we have something for those audiences who have been loyal to the venue for many years.  So watch out for news and updates on our website and social media regarding our comedy programme.



Charles Small

CEO, The Drum