After yesterday’s marvellous on point digital coverage from Dan Simpson at Shake the Dust, I was excited and apprehensive to see the project as it nears it’s conclusion in terms of the National Shake the Dust Weekend at the Southbank Centre.

Today is the second day of the three-day extravaganza and it has kicked off with the same aplomb and gusto that Dan talked about yesterday. After the first workshop and the opening address and I’m already smiling and it has inspired me way more than first thought.

I also had the real pleasure of talking and having a short interview with one of the National Judges for the Slam Final, Stephen Murray. He’s such a passionate man about Shake the Dust and slam poetry in general especially as this one involves young people. The link for the interview is here – http://soundcloud.com/shakethedustslam/stephen-murray-chats-about-the

All three rounds of workshops have allowed the new young generation of poets to find their own voice and are equipping them with the right tools, tips and exercises to bring the performance and confidence elements to their poetry when performed on stage. I was blessed with going to Michael Parker’s workshop on the power and contrast of poetry. It was thoroughly engaging as he taught the kids about the importance of silence, voice projection, stage presence and actioning your words. Very enjoyable to watch! I was also lucky to catch a glimpse of an energetic movement and focus-based workshop by First Wave’s Danez Smith. The kids were in awe and enjoyed learning more about these skills and their craft as well as the fun workshop games.

The evening kicked off in spectacular fashion with 100% Proof which featured performances from the Poet Coaches such as Kat Francois, Sai Murray, Brenda Read-Brown, Michelle Hubbard, Alfie Crow, Frisko, and Molly Naylor. The audience supported each act with respect and appreciation. Fingers clicked and woops were vocalised to enhance this. This only intensified when First Wave performed an excerpt of their play Shock and even more when headline act Lemn Sissay took to the stage. This event was full of energy and the audience were left inspired. A great event.

The next and last event of the night was the brilliant Friday Phonic organised and run by Southbank’s Young Producers and featured various performances from the Young Producers, Dean Atta, Marques Tolliver, and the headline act Dizraeli and the Small Gods. A wonderfully appreciative packed out crowd attended the gig and were not left disappointed with all acts performing to the fullest of their abilities. Dizraeli and the Small Gods gave a masterclass in the spoken word music hybrid. They have to be seen to be believed.

This day has truly enhanced my love for Shake the Dust!