Ashley Walters

Celebrate MOBO!

Leading music moguls, silver screen supremos and fashionistas are heading to Liverpool as part of an exciting three day cultural feast.

The city is gearing up to host the internationally renowned MOBO Awards, and to mark the occasion the council is announcing a brand new free festival (28, 29 October and 1 November) aimed at showcasing and championing homegrown talent.

Celebrate MOBO will see industry experts from the fields of film, music and fashion take part in three unique events which will highlight the influence diversity has had on the culture of Britain – with a special focus on the role Liverpool has played.

Stars on their way to Liverpool include BBC Radio 1 DJ Dev, acclaimed actor and rapper Ashley Walters, Head of Editorial at MOBO Natalie Shaw and presenter of FLAVA TV Donatella Valentina.

Sunday 28 October will see the Celebrate MOBO Industry Academy take place at Parr Street Studio 2. A host of professionals will lead three sessions – Radio, TV, Blogs…How to get into the Industry, I’m a Trendsetter, Breaking Out: From Local to National – talking about their experience of the different industries and giving advice to up and coming talent.

Those leading the different debates include BBC Radio 1’s Dev, Music Manger for BBC Radio 1Xtra Laura Lukanz, media consultant and agent Ray Paul and Pierre from urban music and entertainment website GRM Daily.

Esco Williams
Liverpool’s homegrown talent Esco Williams takes part in Celebrate MOBO

Following the sessions, which run from midday, there will be special acoustic performances from some of Liverpool’s most exciting new acts including MOBO Unsung winner Esco Williams, BBC Radio 1 Xtra Sound of 2012 inductee singer-songwriter KOF, star of BBC1’sThe Voice UK Jay Norton and Chelcee Grime.

On the evening of Monday 29 October Celebrate MOBO Black Cinema pays tribute to the individuals behind the success of the growing diversity of the British film industry, and will look at how culture has a direct impact on what audiences see on screen.

Taking place at FACT from 7pm-10pm, a spotlight will shine on local and regional films, documentaries and music videos which hold up a mirror to Liverpool’s impressive black music scene. Hosted by Hollyoaks writer Maurice Bessman, a selection of local short productions will be screened from film makers including Pidgin Productions. Award winning actor Ashley Walters will also be speaking about his career and will give advice to those wanting to break into the industry.

Film Producer Bea Freeman will also be showing her film Back to the Timepiece, a documentary which focuses on a legendary Liverpool seventies nightclub which was the only venue in the city to play black music.

To round the events off Celebrate MOBO: Debate takes place on Thursday 1 November from 6.30pm-9.30pm at the Museum of Liverpool. With music as the city’s most famous export, the debate will look at the history of Liverpool’s black music scene, its successes, any barriers which results in the city being under-represented when it comes to this genre of music and what the future holds.

Hosted by actress and presenter Phina Oruche, panellists will include Les Spaine who was one of the most significant British club DJs in the 70s, BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Target, Liverpool Sound City’s music mogul Dave Pichilingi and Dr Brett Lashua who specialises in popular culture.

All three events have limited spaces which will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. For full details of the programme and to book your place visit

Liverpool city council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “We’re delighted the MOBO awards are returning to the city for a second time, but this year we wanted to bring an extra dimension to the ceremony.

“The Celebrate MOBO events are a fantastic opportunity to bring together experts who can inspire and influence the next wave of musicians, filmmakers and designers. The pool of talent in this city is phenomenal and to give people the chance to meet and listen to respected professionals who have already made their mark on the industry is priceless.

“The three different sessions will showcase the very best in contemporary culture, and I’m sure because of the passion for all things creative in this city, there will be a huge amount of demand to take part and engage with all the inspirational figures involved.”

Kanya King MBE, founder of MOBO, said: “I am very proud to announce ‘Celebrate MOBO’ as it is a dream I have long held to be able to acknowledge the significant impact that urban culture has had not only economically, but also socially and culturally as well as inspiring much of what is fresh and innovative in this country.

“This festival creates the opportunity for the local community to join with MOBO in celebrating the next generation of creative people, culminating in the glittering extravagance of the MOBO Awards ceremony.”

All Celebrate MOBO events have been organised by Liverpool City Council in partnership with FACT, National Museums Liverpool and ACME which looks to develop the creative industry in the region. The events form part of MOBO’s vision, ambition and commitment to celebrate and nurture music and culture from a grassroots level.

Actor Ashley Walters said: “I am very happy to be contributing to the Celebrate MOBO activity in Liverpool.

“I’m looking forward to talking about my path into the film industry and sharing my experiences and tips to succeed, in the hope of inspiring budding film makers, actors and creatives.”

BBC Radio 1 DJ Dev, said: “I always look forward to coming and working in Liverpool – it’s a very creative city and one that always seems to artistically innovate and set trends.”

The 17th Annual MOBO Awards take place at the Echo Arena Liverpool on Saturday 3 November. To book tickets, VIP boxes and corporate tables visit or call the Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400.

Liverpool Waterfront