¡VAMOS! was originally founded in 2006 with the vision of creating a community driven multi-genred Latin American inspired festival (with its main focus on Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures). After quickly establishing a partnership with Newcastle University the vision was to showcase the very best of Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the wider diaspora no matter what the artform.
Since 2006 iVAMOS! has delivered 15 Latin American styled festivals and 450 events across all art-forms in Northern England (including Newcastle and Gateshead, Leeds, Liverpool, Sunderland and Durham).
Over 10 years it has presented world premieres across music, art, literature and dance art-forms, international commissions, and Guinness World Record attempts and conferences.
High profile artists and projects include: Kid Creole, Airto Lindsay, Junot Diaz, Matias Aguayo, Gilles Peterson, Cassandro, Bomba Estereo and Frida Kahlo exhibitions.
At the heart of the festival is the Mardi Gras ‘carnival’ which is curated by Sara Lourenco with music directors Hannabiell Sanders and Yilis del Carmen Suriel and choreographer Yuvel Soria. The Mardi Gras has attracted 25,000 and worked with and supported the development of 450 artists, 700 children and 400 members of the general public.
¡VAMOS! has used a festival format to stimulate engagement, reach new audiences, challenge perceptions of cultural consumption and seek educational, personal and professional development for hard to reach audiences and artists.
¡VAMOS! Festival is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Newcastle City Council, Community Foundation, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council, Wades Charity, Newcastle College, Instituto Cervantes, Pura Panela and Revolucion de Cuba.
– Promote appreciation and understanding of other cultures
– Offer work experience opportunities for young people, students and graduates and support North East graduate retention.
– Open cultural institutions and venues to everybody helping to increase accessibility and enjoyment of local resources.
– Showcase each location’s relevant world-class culture, research and cultural events.
– Develop new partnerships and links between artists, venues and institutions.
– Offer performance and commission opportunities and extra promotion of artists.
– Engage and excite each region’s Lusophone and Spanish speaking community via the festival.
– Develop flagship projects that the community take ownership of and become embedded in the region.
– Foster deeper relationships with embassies, festivals, artists, academic institutions, media partner and corporate sponsors.
– Link regional artists with national and international artists for greater learning.