The stars align in Newham

22 August 2017 in Community neighbourhoods and Events and Mayor
​This year’s Under the Stars saw almost 40,000 people join together at Central Park for four nights of star-studded musical celebration.
​The free festival, now in its 18th year, kicked off with reggae, before dancing through Asia, on its way to vintage pop, and culminating in classical style with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a firework spectacular on Sunday night.

Thursday night’s reggae-fest was headlined by Grammy nominated legend Pato Banton with support from Tippa Irie & The Lockdown Band, Christopher Ellis and Michael Prophet accompanied by The Mafia and Fluxy Band, and Daddy G of Massive Attack who sent the crowd wild with a DJ set featuring a drum and bass mix of “Unfinished Sympathy”.

Friday night was hosted by BBC Asian Network’s Nadia Ali and DJ Vix who guided the crowds through live performances from Chand Ali Khan Qawwal & Party, Sona Walia, the Epika Dance Troupe, Arjun, and the Bollywood Ballerinas, with a headline set from legendary Bhangra pioneers Apna Sangeet.

Saturday night saw vintage pop take the lead, with Heart FM’s veteran DJ Roberto at the helm. Setting the night off with a Motown vibe, the Edwin Starr Band featuring Angelo Starr, took centre stage before legendary songsmith Ruby Turner rocked the crowd with her cover of the classic hit “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Next up the 70s girl group sensation The Three Degrees got everyone singing and dancing along to massive hits like “When Will I See You Again” and “Take Good Care of Yourself”.

Despite the rain, Sunday night took a classical twist, with performances from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, whose performances included the massive local crowd pleaser “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” and an emotional rendition of Vera Lynn’s classic “We’ll Meet Again”.

The whole festival reached its traditional crescendo with a fireworks display set to the stirring strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” and the “Dambusters March.”

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “Under the Stars is a fabulous event which this year came of age in style with 40,000 people coming together to enjoy the fun.

“This year’s line up brought stars from all over the globe to entertain the packed crowds. I am very proud that Newham remains one of very few councils to organise this kind of event for its residents, and it allows people from our diverse community to come together as one, make new friends and get to know their neighbours.

“Many Newham residents have grown up with Under the Stars – and this year’s crowds were really up for celebrating this milestone 18th birthday.”

Photos and videos from Under the Stars 2017