Incredible one-day festival will reignite Plymouth and put local talent on city’s biggest stage

This summer, a one-day event featuring music, dance and hip hop will celebrate exceptional local talent, all on the largest stage Plymouth Hoe has ever seen.

Plymouth Presents: Roots Up! and Soundwaves Festival on Saturday 10 July will encompass two key events, a hip hop festival and an evening of live music. Free to attend, it promises entertainment and excitement, and tickets are available to book now.

Taking place on Plymouth Hoe the day before the Mayflower 400 Four Nations Ceremony on 11 July, it’s set to be a memorable weekend for the city.

Councillor Mark Deacon, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “This incredible day of entertainment will celebrate everything that’s great about Britain’s Ocean City, showcasing incredibly talented people and true community spirit as well as heralding the return of live music. It’s going to be an amazing free day out for everyone to enjoy, so make sure you book your tickets quickly.”

The day will start at 12.30pm with Roots Up!, a hip hop festival by the award-winning group Street Factory. Part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations, it features a mass community dance challenge and a spectacular hip hop stage performance.

Roots Up! will literally make a huge song and dance of the Mayflower story, examining its relevance to the way we live today with a programme fuelled by the core values of freedom, humanity, imagination and the future. The live programme includes a thrilling two-hour production showcasing the multiple core elements of hip hop, including breaking or b-boying, MCing, DJ-ing, graffiti, rapping, poetry and spoken word.

A series of hip hop theatre pieces will feature the skills of current members of the Street Factory family as well as those who have gone on to reach professional level in the wider world of hip hop, dance and production, plus original music and words with Mayflower themes.

At the heart of the Roots Up! production lies the fundamental question of what we would do if the Mayflower story was happening now, 400 years on.

Jo Gorniak, one of the founders of Street Factory said: “We would have our arms outstretched and lead with love and kindness. Street Factory is a family and everyone is welcome; that’s why it works.

“Roots Up! is a brilliant opportunity to show the city and the world what we can do, and what others could do too if they learn about the power of hip hop and connect with the heart.” 

Everyone is also invited to put on their dancing shoes and join in the fun to reignite the flames of community spirit in a unique, inclusive and forward-thinking way. Street Factory social collective founders Toby and Jo Gorniak are asking people of all ages to learn a hip hop dance routine and be part of the thrilling climax to Roots Up!.

They’re sharing a video tutorial, breaking down the dance step by step, so it’s easy to follow whether you’re five or 95, a complete novice or a seasoned dancer. The moves are set to the inspirational soundtrack of a brand new hip hop track called STF That’s The Fam with lyrics written especially for Mayflower 400, by talented local rap artists Jman and Lincoln Gorniak.

Following the hip hop extravaganza is Soundwaves Festival, running from 3pm to 10.30pm. The festival has been created thanks to a partnership between Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Culture, the Grassroots Music Alliance Plymouth and the Plymouth Music Collective.

The amazing line-up includes a brilliant range of South West-based bands and singers, with genres ranging from indie pop and funk to hip hop and ska. The night is headlined by ‘From The Specials’, starring Neville Staple who’s famous for his 2-Tone legacy.

The full line-up is:

  • Lily Ward (3-3.30pm)
  • Eliza Shaddad (4-4.40pm)
  • Scribes (5-5.45pm)
  • Badcore Horns (6.15-7pm)
  • Malavita (7.30-8.15pm)
  • From The Specials (9-10.30pm)

Jack Harman from the Grassroots Music Alliance Plymouth said: “Artists, gig-goers, promoters and venue owners have all suffered tremendously during the last 12 months, but during this period strong bonds have been forged with different partnerships across the city so that together we are able to deliver exciting projects like this.

“Soundwaves Festival signals a new dawn of outdoor gigs in Plymouth: it's a truly collaborative effort where we have harnessed local & SW talent and put them on a stage in one of the most stunning locations in the UK.  Culture is well and truly alive in Plymouth and believe us when we say this is just the beginning!”

Hannah Harris, CEO of Plymouth Culture, said: “Thanks to cross city collaboration, Soundwaves was born. It will show off our amazing live music scene and give it a chance to start thriving again. We know music needs as much help as possible and we hope this is the start of a return to what many of us remember as one of our city’s proudest assets – its live music.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers at the Grassroots Music Alliance and the Plymouth Music Collective working together with Plymouth Culture and the City Council. We can only thank and admire their relentless hard work during their most testing time.

““This event is a direct, positive consequence of the 2020 Music Report and our work to rebuild Plymouth as a music city. We hope this is the first of many creative collaborations for local benefit.”

Tickets to the one-day event on Plymouth Hoe are free but must be booked prior to entry. Attendees only need one ticket, which includes access to both Roots Up! and Soundwaves Festival. Gates open at 11.30am and all timings are subject to change.

Find out more and book your tickets now at

Watch the Street Factory dance tutorial video on YouTube.