This weekend saw tens of thousands of music lovers descend on the city for the largest free music event in Europe – Liverpool International Music Festival 2016 (LIMF).

Now in its fourth year the festival has gone from strength to strength with a line-up consisting of some of the biggest acts in the world, as well as a jam-packed schedule of events and activities. Sigma, The Wombats, Lianne La Havas, Wretch 32, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Craig Charles and many many more provided spine tingling moments on the Central Stage of LIMF Summer Jam, whilst throughout the city Gilles Peterson, The Buzzcocks, The Lightning Seeds, Incognito, Dennis Ferrer and more dazzled crowds as part of the LIMF Presents series. The Itsliverpool stage showcased many of the amazing up and coming acts that the city has on offer combined with local heroes such as John Powers and Dave McCabe & The Ramifications, whilst the LIMF Academy stage highlighted the incredibly diverse emerging musical talent currently within Merseyside. 2016 saw the festival exceed all expectations with plans already being made for next year’s event. For further information visit www.limfestival.com.

LIMF 2016 saw over 120,000 music and culture lovers descend on the city to enjoy a packed out programme made up of the incredible LIMF Presents series of events around the theme of Redefinition, the award-winning LIMF Academy with a dedicated stage of Merseyside’s rising stars and Europe’s largest free music event, LIMF Summer Jam.

The festival doors opened on Wednesday with the LIMF Presents 76-16 From Eric’s To Evol panel event in partnership with the guardian. This was made up of artists Pete Wylie (The Mighty Wah!), Pauline Murray (Lead singer of Penetration), scenester of the punk era and doyenne of Liverpool music Jayne Casey and journalists John Robb, Paul Du Noyer and Craig Pennington (Bido Lito), moderated by the Eric’s To Evol’s music director, Marc Jones. The panel discussed the impact of punk music and counterculture in Liverpool and the UK since the late 70s, the defining moments of punk and punk culture in Liverpool, a fashion movement that was based on a DIY attitude and commentary from the panel about how naivety of the artists involved in the punk genre made it so special.

Thursday welcomed the Gilles Peterson curated LIMF Presents event, ‘From The Soul’, where the BBC 6Music presenter invited Incognito, Omar, Carleen Anderson and Ady Suleiman for a night of incredible soul at the Royal Philharmonic Music Room, performing hits from ‘Don’t You Worry About A Thing’, a tribute to Stevie Wonder and a solo from Anderson of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’.

The highly anticipated LIMF Summer Jam commenced on Friday evening kicking off in epic style with outstanding performances from the LIMF Academy XamVolo (2014), Eleanor Nelly (2016), Amique (2015) and SUEDEBROWN (2016) whose collaboration with the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company made for a truly unforgettable and breathtaking show. The four Academy award winners performed an hour long set of specially prepared songs produced in under nine hours alongside the wonderfully talented Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, providing a goose-bump inducing show for the delighted crowd.

Up next was the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra playing a sensational set in two parts of the most loved songs and movie soundtracks followed by a showcase of Liverpool’s rich music history and number one hits with Music City: Reimagined. Whether it was ‘Let It Go’ from Disney’s Frozen or ‘All You Need Is Love’ by the Fab Four or John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, revellers of all ages sung their hearts out for a climatic start to the weekend.

For those that wanted a bit more bass to proceedings, Circus Records Head Honcho Yousef curated the LIMF Presents House Nation within the exotic surroundings of Sefton Park Palm House. In an exploration of house music culture from around the world Yousef invited Dennis Ferrer, Hector, Reboot and Lewis Boardman to show how house culture has influenced them individually within their cities in a series of short films from New York to Mexico City to Frankfurt to Liverpool. This culminated in the Friday night show, which saw Lewis Boardman, Reboot and Hector hyping up the eager crowd ahead of Dennis Ferrer. The NY City house legend displayed his outstanding natural ability on the decks, whipping the crowd up to a frenzy before handing headphone duties over to local legend Yousef who closed the night in spectacular style. For those that missed the show, the event was streamed live and can be viewed here.

Sunny skies and green fields greeted the Sefton Park crowds on Saturday, with the eclectic line up delighting all attending with people of all ages dancing and singing to the sounds of the city and beyond. Hotly tipped Samm Henshaw provided the perfect accompaniment to the sunshine with his soulful tones on the Central Stage, whilst Ms Dynamite, WSTRN and Wretch 32 brought the urban vibes to the packed LIMF Summer Jam fields. This set the scene for headliners Sigma, who had the crowd at fever pitch with a hit-heavy set of bangers, bringing the second day to a close in the best way possible. Over the itsLiverpool stage the likes of Cavalry, Mersey Wiley, Greg Wilson and John Power Band performed to thousands of fans whilst success stories of the LIMF Academy, XamVolo and Amique wowed the crowds with their soulful sounds proving exactly how incredible a programme like the Academy can be in fostering incredible talent.

The LIMF Presents 76-16 From Eric’s to Evol live events commenced on Saturday night. Celebrating 40 years of punk the show went down in true underground style, with Poltergeist and Clinic setting the scene for The Buzzcocks, proving they are just as relevant 40 years later to the packed crowd at the city centre’s Arts Club.

Sunday’s LIMF Summer Jam arrived with much anticipation with the crowd’s continued energy and enthusiasm. Current chart favourite Anne-Marie brought her edgy brand of urban pop to Sefton Park whilst Craig Charles played to his home crowd with his fantastic funk & soul show that even resulted in an epic crowd dance-off and a definite highlight of the weekend. The breathtaking voice of Frances sang out across the park whilst Kwabs upped the ante with a rousing cover of ‘Love Yourself’, which had everyone singing along before the soulful Lianne La Havas performed a high-octane set that dazzled the crowds. Sunday’s finale saw a home-coming gig from Liverpudlian favourites The Wombats coming out to rapturous applause, playing hits from their extensive back catalogue with the sun beaming in what was a spectacular end to an incredible weekend.

Over at the O2 the finale to the LIMF Presents series proved nothing but spectacular as Sugarmen, The Clang Group and Pete Wylie and the Mighty WAH! all true to form played sets that resonated with audiences and demonstrated just how much punk and the city’s counterculture has impacted fans. Whilst The Lightning Seeds brought LIMF to a close in spectacular style.

Other highlight across the day included a rousing performance form Johnny Echols on the itsLiverpool stage as part of the LIMF Presents event From Liverpool With Love curated by Bido Lito! featuring an array of special guest from John Power, Nick Ellis, Mike Badger, Edgar Jones and Dave McCabe. Later Dave McCade & The Ramifications to the the stage whilst Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band was the perfect finale to a very popular and highly celebrated part of LIMF.

Other highlights across the five days included the pop up from one of the UK’s best and biggest celebrations of trainer culture, Laces Out! From trainer care to barber shop slots to the sounds from some of the top Hip-Hop DJs in the North-West and beyond, the installation gave a welcome insight into the wider culture around the trainer phenomenon.

A stones throw away was the stage dedicated to the award winning LIMF Academy, which featured the 20 carefully selected emerging artists and bands that were talented enough to make it through to be a part of the esteemed programme. This was the perfect spot to discover the stars of the future with stand out performances from Eleanor Nelly, SUEDEBROWN, L U M E N and so many more.

For those who wished to hop skip and jump away from the music, this year’s family zone proved a welcome retreat with its biggest programme to date. A specially designed mini-nightclub re-lived the heyday of some of the city’s most iconic clubs including Erics, Cream and the Kazimier featuring projections, music and a dance floor! There was also an area dedicated to traditional gamers who got to grips with giant board games such as Hungry Hippos, Guess Who and Twister. And the beach made a welcome return, this time it’s double the size, with 12 tonnes of sand that was shipped in especially for the weekend. Add to this a magical maze, street theatre, face painting, workshops and a relaxed picnic area making it the place for families to hang out!

LIMF Music Curator Yaw Owusu commented on the five day event, “The fourth year of LIMF was another step in the right direction. The diversity and inclusiveness of our programme seemed to connect with everyone again, displayed not just in the numbers attending the various events but also the positive energy throughout.”

“At LIMF Summer Jam this year we have had weather for all seasons and yet the people have come out and enjoyed regardless of where the sun was. Again showing that the love of music here is true and never comprised.”

“The LIMF presents…series have truly taken us around the world and back to Liverpool. Showing the power of music to unite like-minded people on a global scale. With all events being over-subscribed and covered by media both domestically and abroad, we can never underestimate the power of this strand of LIMF.”

“Again, the Academy has been a favourite of many. Probably the most important element of LIMF, the vibe at the LIMF Academy stage demonstrates the love here for discovering new  talent. With another 12 months of development activities for the Academy bands I hope people continue to follow each of their paths.”

“A big thank you to all the artists and creative partners for answering the call and being a part of this amazing celebration of music and the city. Long may it continue!”

LIMF

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Without a doubt LIMF 2016 has shown exactly why Liverpool has the UNESCO City of Music status.”

“This is a festival that embraces a diverse range of music, and there really has been something for everyone. From the soul vibes of the Gilles Peterson event, to a celebration of the punk explosion and household names taking to the Sefton Park, right through to shining a spotlight on some of the most talented up and coming musicians who hail from Merseyside – it’s been a packed programme!

“Summer Jam is an integral part of the event – it’s giving people access to free, high quality music in the surroundings of one of the most beautiful parks in the city. As always, the people of Liverpool and beyond came out and danced and sang and celebrated together.”

“I’d like to thank all the team from across the council and our partners such as Merseyside Police and Merseyrail who have worked so hard on making this an outstanding festival which has been a real celebration of music past, present and future.”