Free festival in Willesden will honour Quamari Serunkuma Barnes’ life and take on knife crime


Quamari - Credit: Archant

The parents of a much-loved teenager stabbed to death in Willesden have planned a free community festival to honour his life and raise awareness of knife crime.

Quamari Serunkuma Barnes died in hospital after being stabbed on January 23 last year outside the Capital City Academy, in Doyle Gardens, where he was a pupil.

On April 8, the day before what would have been Quamari’s 17th birthday, his parents are hosting the Quamari One Love Memorial Festival in the school grounds from 1pm to 7pm.

The line-up on the main stage includes local musicians including Sylvia Tella, Levy Roots and Gappy Ranks, up and coming performers, dancers and a fashion show. There’s a bouncy castle, games and give away prizes for young attendees.

Speakers will include other parents who have lost children to knife crime.

Paul Barnes, Quamari’s father, said: “The festival is in the name of my son and is bringing knife crime awareness to the public. “I’m still stunned by what happened to Quamari. Organising this festival has helped.

“When I had the idea for his festival last October I thought: ‘How am I going to get those kids out of the house? How am I going to get them in a place where we can engage with them? Let’s have a show, have some of their friends on the stage, some Brent artists from the area and treat them like superstars.’

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“As much as this is going to be a fun day, it’s important to make something positive out of all of this.”

Popular and hard-working, Quamari aimed to get “top marks” in his GCSEs before he was stabbed outside the gates of his school. His 15-year-old killer is serving life with a minimum of 12 years.

Thousands turned out for his funeral a year ago, filling the Sacred Heart Church, in Quex Road, Kilburn, to hear family tributes to the “much-loved boy with a heart full of gold”.

Lilian Serunkuma, Quamari’s mother, said: “The festival will be really good. It’s Quamari’s dad’s idea and I’m supporting him all the way. It’s a chance for us to give back to the community as so many people supported us when we went through this tragedy.

“The community are ready to do anything to deal with knife crime. There’s no money, but there is passion, so let’s all get together and network.”

The festival is supported by local radio stations Roots FM, Beat Radio and Unique Radio.