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Dartford fills with sound and sights as Festival of Light returns

PUBLISHED: 13:16 23 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 23 October 2017

Dartford Festival of Light 2017. Picture: Sarah Knight

Dartford Festival of Light 2017. Picture: Sarah Knight

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More than a thousand people took part in the festival

Cohesion Plus artistic director Gurvinder Sandher and council leader Jeremy Kite together with John Varah from Same Sky at the Dartford Festival of Light 2017. Picture Sarah Knight.Cohesion Plus artistic director Gurvinder Sandher and council leader Jeremy Kite together with John Varah from Same Sky at the Dartford Festival of Light 2017. Picture Sarah Knight.

A bumper crowd helped light up Dartford on Friday as part of an annual parade through the town centre.

Bringing communities together from around the borough, the Festival of Light returned for its ninth year, bringing in more than a thousand people.

The festival, scheduled each year near the Hindu holiday of Diwali, brings artists and schools out on to the streets for a parade featuring art and music.

This year’s festival was split into three parts, with performances on One Bell Corner kicking off 2017’s celebrations.

Gurvinder Sandher at Dartford Festival of Light 2017. Picture: Sarah Knight.Gurvinder Sandher at Dartford Festival of Light 2017. Picture: Sarah Knight.

Musicians playing to crowds included Brass Volcanoes Jazz Band and Folk in Beats African and Asian Drumming Collective, while stilt walkers also performed.

Commuters heading home from a long week at work were greeted at Dartford station by the Blogo Fogo Samba drumming band.

Nine schools from the town and neighbouring villages including Hartley, then took part in a lantern parade, flying lanterns pupils’ had created with Same Sky arts group in the build up to the festival.

The parade was led by a lit-up cart, driven by John Varah from Same Sky, along with council leader Jeremy Kite, mayor of Dartford Rosanna Currans and Gurvinder Sandher, artistic director of festival organisers Cohesion Plus.

The parade ended at the band stand in Central Park, which had been illuminated for the occasion.

The third and final part of the festival saw the skies above Dartford light up with fireworks to cap off another year.

Speaking after the festival, Mr Sandher said: “This was our biggest and most successful Festival of Light to date in Dartford.

“It was so pleasing to see how the local community and especially the young people came out and supported our work. I believe other parts of the country could learn from how we use the arts to bring communities together and promote our shared British values.

“I would also like to pay credit to Dartford Borough Council for supporting our work and sharing our vision for this festival.”

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