Oyé: A Village Returns

Once a year in a park not too far away, a village called Oyé appears. For two days it goes about its village business, and then it disappears on the second night of the two days, like it was never there. Until the mid-summer of the following year, when once again Oyé returns, as it has today.

I knew this would be the day of its return because I’ve been visiting the village now for twenty six years. Following it round the city and even across the water in its early days, before it settled in its home now, at the Lodge Lane end of Sefton Park.

Nevertheless a friend reminded me about it when I happened to see her the day before, because she’s a drummer and knew about a band from her home country I should get there in time to see.

So I walked into the park the next morning to find Oyé. Hearing it before I could see it.

Then here it was, across the field and between the vans, the Village of Oyé. Here like always, never quite the same but always both familiar and different.

So I walked around, like I always do. Said hello to some people I only see at Oyé and others I see all year in Liverpool. I listened to the music, had some food, and there was sunshine, rain and then some more rain. It’s that way in Oyé. Sunny by the evening and some said sunny the next day. Others said rain, but no one really knew, it’s that way in Oyé.

The only thing we did know is that by Sunday night it would have disappeared.

And it has. Until next year then, here’s how it was.

Saturday in Oyé

Sunday in Oyé

As I always say, Africa Oyé is Liverpool’s principal cultural event. Our great once a year celebration of our place, each other and all of the places and peoples that made us. We are blessed to have it.

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