Smoosh! brings celebratory street party to Knowle West

Pictures of SMOOSH! performance by Paul Blackmore

There was singing and dancing in the streets of Knowle West – as residents turned out to welcome a joyful musical parade to their neighbourhood.

Smoosh! was a celebratory performance by Paraorchestra –-the world’s largest ensemble of both disabled and non-disabled musicians.

The 70-piece wind and brass band played a tracklist of infectious karaoke songs along the route, from Adele to Basement Jaxx – accompanied by a lively troop of inclusive dancers. 

Banners with song lyrics were held up during the parade.

Local people came to their doorsteps waving flags or followed the band – with a mass filming of the event on mobile phones. 

A perfect place to watch the parade go by.

With the past 18 months of restrictions during the pandemic – the musical extravaganza provided a much-needed pick-me-up – with two performances, the last ending on Filwood Broadway.

Extavaganza on Filwood Broadway

Residents were enthusiastic about one of the biggest events to come to their area – and the first live music many had seen for a long time.

Amy Donkin (31) said: “I think it’s brilliant because it’s fun for everyone in the neighbourhood to get together – and the band is inclusive… I was surprised they chose this area but it’s great how many people have turned out and everyone is enjoying it.”

And Nick Smith (51) who came with his eleven-year-old son Zak and friend Neil Smith was equally enthusiastic.

He said: “It was so vibrant and getting everyone out… At almost the end of summer it’s great to come out to live music and people outside, it’s such a rarity and they did so well.”

The performance – staged in partnership with Bristol Beacon and Filwood Community Centre – succeeded in its aim to bring “an accessible community event with a street party vibe”.

Kevin Seacole (41) came with mum Maureen (67) and four-year-old son Rowan after seeing it on the local news. 

He said: “It was going past our house so we just followed it.. It’s really good getting everybody together and seeing loads of different faces. 

“It’s great to meet people and see things a little bit back to normal – and it puts Knowle West on the map.”

Smoosh! was composed by Emma-Jean Thackray and directed by Charles Hazlewood, and with choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves with Beth Hinton-Lever.