Big Weekend star Ryussi inspires next generation at Luton Sixth Form

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Luton’s homegrown rising star DJ and Producer Ryussi, is set to make waves at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Luton on the Introducing stage later this month.

But Ryussi, real name Zoe Thorpe, didn’t get the gig by chance. Step Forward Luton discovered that being a former student at Luton Sixth Form played a key role in her journey to this incredible opportunity.

Inspired by her story, they took Zoe on a trip down memory lane, taking her back to her former college to help inspire the next generation of music students.

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During the visit, Zoe bumped into familiar faces - from a catering assistant who recognised her as a former classmate of her son, to former classmates now working at the college, and one of her music tutors.

Zoe Thrope aka 'Ryussi' at Luton Sixth FormZoe Thrope aka 'Ryussi' at Luton Sixth Form
Zoe Thrope aka 'Ryussi' at Luton Sixth Form

Step Forward Luton facilitated a Q&A session with the college’s music students, where Zoe shared tips from her own journey and how she ended up the Big Weekend gig.

Zoe recalled: “I remember back in Luton Sixth Form College, BBC Three Counties set up a careers day stand. After class, I went to speak to Gareth Lloyd and asked him how I’d be able to get the music I was uploading heard. He responded, ‘just keep uploading it and someone will come across it’. And that’s what I did.”

Anisah Akhtar, Step Forward Luton Ambassador and Head of Student Experience and Corporate Communications at Luton Sixth Form said: “It’s important for our young people to see that dreams can be achieved here in Luton. Seeing someone who has walked in their very footsteps, studied in their college and lived in their hometown is powerful. Zoe is just one excellent example of homegrown talent we need to shout more about!”

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To complete the inspiring session, students were treated to an exclusive preview of Ryussi’s upcoming DJ set at the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Luton.

Ryussi meeting Luton Sixth Form music studentsRyussi meeting Luton Sixth Form music students
Ryussi meeting Luton Sixth Form music students

Altaf Hussain, Principal and CEO of Luton Sixth Form College said: “We were delighted to welcome back our alumni Zoe. Our students were left inspired after hearing Zoe’s journey and were keen to follow suit. We at the college are in a privileged position to be able to have access to thousands of successful alumni, just like Zoe, who continue to inspire the next generation.”

Catch Ryussi performing on the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Introducing stage later this month on Saturday 25 May, at Stockwood Park.

Since the festival’s line-up announcement, Step Forward Luton have been shining a light on the local talent featured at this year’s festival. To find out more, visit

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