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Thousands gather to celebrate Milton Keynes’ city status

Proud Milton Keynes residents gathered this weekend at a free spectacular held at key city centre landmarks to celebrate the newly achieved city status.

The City of Codes & Light Festival, organised by Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture (MKIAC), in partnership with Milton Keynes City Council, was a memorable evening headlined by singer-song-writing social media sensation and Eurovision star, Sam Ryder.


The event, which ran throughout the first week of October, culminating in the free Saturday night festival, featured a host of free live music, dazzling performances, and a brilliant light display to mark Milton Keynes being named a city by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year.


As well as Sam Ryder, other live performances included music from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphonica featuring Mr. Switch. Elsewhere in the city centre, a giant light projection called ‘Radiance’ transformed the exterior of the Church of Christ the Cornerstone, before a stunning digital light parade led by renowned street theatre companies Cirque Bijou and Worldbeaters headed towards Station Square for the spectacular finale.


Other events to take place during the week included an environmental and wellbeing discussion at Milton Keynes College, an illuminating light projection at Bletchley Park, and a concert by Aashiq Al-Rasul, a music ensemble a music ensemble inspired by Qawaali and Sufi music traditions.

MKIAC regularly hosts events in the Milton Keynes area showcasing the Islamic arabesque art form and encouraging diverse communities to come together.


Anouar Kassim MBE, Founder and Director of MKIAC said, “We are delighted with the reception to the City of Codes and Light festival and to have seen so many proud Milton Keynes residents, young and old, join us in celebration. Events like these are so important as they help showcase the region’s innovation and technological history, as well as highlight achievements like our newly acquired city status. Our thanks to the Arts Council England and Milton Keynes City Council for making this possible and helping bring our community together.”


Leader of Milton Keynes Council, Cllr Pete Marland, said, “The city celebration was a wonderful opportunity to come together and share something special in this historic year. We’ve had some great feedback about the festival and how – especially now Milton Keynes is a city – we can be aiming similarly high for future events. Throughout the festival, MKIAC did a great job in showing MK is a ‘mosaic of communities united by a love of where we live’ and Sam Ryder, very much the man of the moment, was the cherry on the cake at the fantastic finale.”

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