Southbank’s first festival for men proves big success


The event welcomed 300 more people than expected.


By Melissa Massey

Lambeth’s Southbank Centre launched a new festival, Being A Man (BAM), last weekend.

On Saturday, BAM welcomed 300 more people than it was expecting and sold out of Sunday tickets a week before the day.

Rapper and poet, Akala, said: “It offers a chance to put to bed some myths, take men to task, and counsel our collective psychosis of maleness, but also to celebrate without gloating one half (almost) of the human species.”

Discussion ranged from the relationship between father and son, the challenges of accepting mental health issues and coming out as a gay sportsman.

BAM invited both men and women from different backgrounds and experiences, and of all ages to discuss what it means to be a man today.

Men’s group leader of 14 years, Kenny D’Cruz said: “It was excellent to meet so many men from various organisations at the launch of Men’s Health Week hosted in Lambeth last year, then again at the BAM weekend, including Lambeth MIND, who were very interested in my groups and exploring the model further.”

Despite the positive reception, it was suggested that the festival’s structure and discussions needed to be more focused.

Lambeth resident, Lawrence Hunt, 24, said: “I was expecting more helpful prompts for group discussion in addition to hearing about the trials of famous men’s lives.”

Mr D’Cruz added that he felt some of the glamorous stories from famous people were unlikely to help the common man or the system to learn to nip such issues in the bud.

It is hoped the event will develop over time and that conference discussions will travel from stage, screen and moguls to communities and the man on the street.

Hardeep Singh Kohli said: “I think for a first festival it was really successful. So many things start in London, those things ripple in a pond and permeate beyond this city. Hopefully we have started a dialogue.”

The festival was organised by Jude Kelly, who set up the popular Women of the World festival (WOW) in March 2011.

This year’s WOW festival will take place from 5 March – 9 March.

Photo courtesy of Southbank Centre, with thanks.

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