Emily Labhart

thinking about dance, arts management and cultural representation

#ProducerLife : Popcity UK vol.5

This was my third Popcity event with Fiya House and it was definitely the biggest and best one yet!

Celebrating the best of Hip Hop, in locations across London Bridge and Shoreditch, our events brought people together to train, share knowledge and compete.

Popcity UK vol.5. Photo by E-Visuals.

From September 2019 to now, we delivered three key strands of activity:

Love Lunch: September 2019 – January 2020
Throughout Winter 2019/20, Fiya House offered FREE dance workshops to local workers in London Bridge, introducing Afro Fusion and Hip Hop techniques to get people active in their lunch breaks. This was part of an initiative developed by Team London Bridge.

Fiya Works: 23-25 October 2019 at Ugly Duck
Fiya House presented three days of inspirational workshops, panel discussions and a Freestyle Jam led by some of London’s pioneers of Hip Hop.

Popcity UK vol.5: Saturday 25 January 2020 at Shoreditch Town Hall
The renowned international dance competition arrived in Shoreditch. Popcity saw over 500 UK dancers unite for the one of the first Hip Hop events of the year. Featuring international judges, guest performers and live DJs, the battle created an authentic Hip Hop experience with artists from around the globe and around the corner. Battle categories were Popping, Hip Hop, Under-16s All Styles and (for the first time at Popcity) Litefeet.

Popcity UK vol.5. Photo by E-Visuals.

The talent in the room on 25th Jan was INCREDIBLE. Dancers travelled from across the UK (and flew in from abroad) to showcase their skills and battle it out for top prizes.

Litefeet brought a fresh new energy to the event, which also acted as the London qualifier for Litefest – the brainchild of Fiya House member Kieran Warner (which returns to Jackson’s Lane this September).

Judges for each category included:

With top DJs on the decks:

Popcity UK vol.5. Photo by E-Visuals.

What was my role?

In a nutshell, my job is to make these events happen. Things like:

  • Writing an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant application to secure funding
  • Negotiating discounted space
  • Communicating with artists and drawing up contracts
  • Booking and coordinating flights and accommodation for international artists
  • Crisis management (e.g. our venue was purchased by developers, resulting in us having to find a new location with roughly six weeks to go!)
  • Building partnerships with new venues
  • Signing off all comms and PR campaigns
  • Hiring technical equipment including turntables and decks
  • Bringing in Front of House teams and overseeing battle registration systems
  • Managing the project budget, monitoring cash-flow and signing off all expenditure
  • Plus about 1,000 other things!

Popcity UK vol.5. Photo by E-Visuals.

I love working on big events, bringing communities of dancers together and connecting them with top international artists. It is amazing to see how much this event has grown since I first started collaborating with Fiya House in 2017, I can’t wait to see what’s next for us!

This programme of activity was funded by Arts Council England and supported by Team London Bridge, Ugly Duck and Shoreditch Town Hall.

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