Humberside

Hull Freedom Festival celebrates ninth year

Volunteers performed as part of The Umbrella Project along Queen Street for Hull's ninth Freedom Festival
Image caption Volunteers performed the Umbrella Project on Queen Street at Hull's ninth Freedom Festival

Nearly 73,000 visitors flocked to Hull's international arts festival at the weekend, despite heavy rain.

The city's three-day Freedom Festival explored historical and modern concepts of freedom through music, street theatre, art and comedy.

More than 200 performances by artists from 30 countries took place around the city's Fruit Market.

Image caption Pyrotechnic percussionists Commandos Percu opened the festival at Humber Quays on Friday

Organisers said they were "thrilled" by the turnout, even though Saturday rain meant it was lower than last year.

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Media captionNearly 73,000 visitors flocked to Hull's international arts festival at the weekend, despite heavy rain
Image caption Giant kinetic sculptures by the Humber tidal barrier for Ray Lee's "chorus" sound installation
Image caption Festival visitors built a 15m "People's Tower" on Sunday

Mikey Martins, artistic director and CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: "We're all feeling very proud and happy after a wonderful weekend.

Image caption A balletic aerialist was suspended from a helium balloon dancing 20m over people's heads for The Dream Engine's Heliosphere
Image copyright Sean Spencer
Image caption The festival was a success, despite hours of heavy rain on Saturday
Image caption Hull Freedom Chorus sang in an underpass

"Even the rain on Saturday didn't stop tens of thousands of people flocking to the festival to enjoy a programme featuring so many phenomenal artists."

The Freedom Festival was first held in 2007 as part of commemorations to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British Empire's slave trade.

About 100,000 people attended in 2015.

Mr Martins said the festival, now in its ninth year, was "incredibly well-received".

Hull celebrates the concept of freedom because of the city's strong links to the anti-slavery abolitionist movement.

Image caption Manchester dance act Chameleon Info combined dance and drama for a performance by the Humber Estuary

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