MORE than 500 schoolchildren joyfully sang songs of peace and friendship to open Bradford Festival in Centenary Square today.

Pupils from across the district have been rehearsing for months to prepare for the 'Big Sing for Peace,' and crowds gathered as they belted out versions of classic songs such as 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', 'Consider Yourself' and 'Three Little Birds'.

Opening the event, the newly-inaugurated Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Mike Gibbons, said: "It is great to see you all here.

"You are the future of a peaceful world. We want you to make friends with each other, make friends across the district, and make friends across the world."

Before they sang, the pupils met at special peace workshops to make poppies and kites, and also enjoyed storytelling sessions in the festival's Kids Story Zone.

Tonight's evening line-up on the main stage includes local alternative acoustic-rock band, Man Can't Fly, inventive five-piece, Wilful Missing, feisty folk duo, Waiting for Wednesday, and rock roots act, Angelo Pallandino.

The festival continues until Sunday.