NOISE and energy filled City Park tonight as Bradford's Urban Festival got under way.

Hundreds of people, including many families, descended on the city centre venue for the celebration of street youth culture.

The festival opened with a silent disco, freestyle dancing, artwork and a visit from a spaceship.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, portfolio holder for culture, said: "This year's Urban Festival is filled with activities which will excite and thrill spectators.

"Bradford has a very young population and this event gives them the opportunity to see some top performers and even try out the moves themselves."

A dance trio called Funk Stylers - featuring a girl from New York - got things under way on the main stage in front of City Hall as they showcased some breathtaking freestyle dance and breakdancing skills, drawing gasps and applause from the watching crowd.

Nearby, local company Factory St's silent disco got going, while next to the Mirror Pool an expectant crowd waited to see what a mysterious spaceship had in store for them.

On the far side of City Park, UK company Urban Playground used scaffolding and platforms to stage a distinctive ‘performance parkour' act called The Next Level.

It featured award-winning dancers combining dance disciplines with freerunning skills for an action-packed show on the specially designed frame.

Further round there was a Mega Doodle Colour-In, where an artist quickly sketched a child who could then colour themselves in.

Later in the evening, there was a BMX show, interactive rap, and more breakdancing and freestyle dance.

The rap sessions were run by Bradford-based Pipeline Productions, who showed people how to become an MC.

Tomorrow will see more of the same acts, but alongside attractions such as street theatre, a circus trampoline show, poetry, 3D chalk art and beatboxing. The day's attractions start from 12 midday.

The day - and festival - will close with a performance by critically-acclaimed British contemporary circus company Cirque Bijou, who will perform Project 3Sixty, a show which mixes circus acts with extreme sports, breakdance and live music.

The show is performed on a towering set, animated by 3D video mapping, and features up-and-coming all female beatbox group The Boxettes.