On the 10th of June, 2017, the sun shone and the crowds gathered as the O-Bon celebrations began. A brilliant buzz could be felt at the Playtrail as events began to kick off around ‘Little Tokyo’.

We started off with Fujima Sensei and her team of wonderful dancers from her schools in Japan. It was a honor to have them with us and a real joy to watch them perform their beautiful dances.

Yu-Jo Taiko and the Brady Academy of Music were wonderful! Bringing taiko to the stage with their wonderful collaboration, they really kick-started the night. We had stunning performances from NWRC Ascent Dancers, Fireworks DDTA and Culmore PS on stage later. Such beautiful work from all these amazing groups!

Yukari Norris and Hannari Club Dancers also brought their graceful dance pieces to the main stage. So much talent. The lanterns that had been decorated with thoughts and poems in our community workshops were now lit and carried into the auditorium as the final piece played.

Sarah Murphy wrote Taiko Love for O-Bon 2017. Commissioned through the Arts Councils Intercultural Fund it is a piece which brings together Japanese and Celtic influences and reflects the connection between Derry and Japan. With harp, Japanese shinobue flute, taiko, marimba and voices, this piece filled the night air as the lanterns lit up the evening. It was a magical moment.

A huge thank you to everyone who made this event so special. To our performers, our audience and our funders, and to everyone behind the scenes who worked so hard to bring this celebration to life. Thank you!

All photographs taken by the super talented Gav Connolly.

You can watch the wee film of the evening by R&D Media here.