The inception of the Black Country Festival
In 2014, a groundbreaking event came to life: a unified festival that brought together the boroughs of Dudley, Wolverhampton, Walsall, and Sandwell in a united celebration. This first-of-its-kind Festival was born from a strong desire to celebrate and acknowledge the rich cultural heritage, fascinating history, and continuous evolution of the Black Country region. It marked the start of an annual tradition designed to reminisce about the past and recognise and anticipate the region’s present and future potential.
Birth of the Black Country Flag
Two years before the launch of the Festival, a 12-year-old girl named Gracie Sheppard designed what would become an emblematic symbol of the region: the Black Country Flag. This unique flag is to signify unity and communal pride in the region’s history and achievements. It quickly gained popularity, becoming a beloved symbol among the locals. In 2013, just a year after its creation, the government officially recognised the Black Country Flag, further solidifying its significance and status.
The Celebration of Black Country Day
Black Country Day celebrates every year on July 14th, a date chosen for its historical importance. However, to ensure maximum participation and allow as many people as possible to join the festivities, the decision was made to extend the celebrations to the nearest weekend. The result was the Festival. Unlike other festivals that typically centre around a single event or location, the Black Country Festival is an array of diverse community events across different areas in the four boroughs.
The Unique Nature of the Celebrations
Realising the overwhelming enthusiasm and the large number of people wanting to organise events, we decided that the Black Country Festival would last throughout July. This decision was met with great excitement, transforming the entire month into a vibrant, communal celebration of the region’s heritage, culture, and aspirations for the future.
Almost 10 years on Black Country Festival is the umbrella for hundreds of events and along with Black Country Day has been credited with putting the region back on the map.