artsfest 2011 highlights

By on 01/09/2011 in Culture, News

artsfest in Birmingham is the UK's largest free arts festival with hundreds of events and exhibitions over the weekend of 10-11 September. 

Now in its 14th year, this unique festival attracted well over a quarter of a million people last year to see hundreds of artists perform in a variety of venues including outdoor stages, civic buildings, pubs and bars.

Saturday 10th September highlights

  • Tours of Electric Cinema
    A rare look behind the scenes of the UK's oldest working cinema.  Places must be booked via email in advance - with 'Backstage tour' in title stating tour preference time.
    Venue:  Electric Cinema, Station Street
    Time: Midday, 12.30pm, 1pm, 2pm
  • Global Fusions
    An eclectic mix of performances portraying the sound of musical cultures from around the world.
    Venue: CBSO Centre 
    Time: 6pm - 10.30pm
  • Classical Fantasia
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Opera Company present Classical Fantasia.  The open-air classical music performance will culminate with a spectacular choreographed fireworks finale. 
    Venue: Centenary Square
    Time: 8.15pm – 10pm

Sunday 11th September highlights

  • 'The Best of Birmingham' with Kerrang! and Q Radio
    Brit award-nominated indie rock band The Guillemots headlining with support from Casino.  Other artists – The Amateurs, Octane OK, New Killer Shoes and Soldier.
    Venue: Centenary Square Stage
    Time: 5pm – 10pm

 Across weekend highlights

  • Family Friendly activities
    Family friendly fun including … scenes from The Jungle Book from Birmingham Stage Company, Timmy the Lamb, Family History Detectives and the REP's Sleeping Beauty Trails, storytelling, and arts and crafts workshops.
    Venues: Chamberlain and Victoria Squares
    Times: Various
  • Tours of the New Library
    A chance to see the work in progress.  Tours start on the hour and must be pre-booked at the Library of Birmingham stand in Chamberlain Square.  NB – Max of 15 per tour.
    Venue: New Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square
    Times: 11am, midday, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm
  • Dancing for the Games presents The Dance and Performance Marquee
    Part of the Cultural Olympia, Dancing for the Games is getting the West Midlands dancing for London 2012 with masses of events and the marquee features 10 minute tasters of traditional dance forms from around the world.
    Venue: Victoria Square
    Times: Saturday 10am - 7pm, Sunday Midday - 6.30pm
  • In Conversation
    11 venues, 11 conversations with keynote speakers from across the arts including Oscar nominated Bafta award-winning director/animator Ian Emes.  Other notable speakers include CBSO conductor Michael Seal, Keri Davies, Series Producer/Web Producer for BBC Radio 4's drama The Archers and David Massingham, Artistic Director of Dancexhange and Co-Director of International Dance Festival Birmingham.
    Venues: Various
    Times: Various
  • FlowerFest
    Making its 'blooming' debut, FlowerFest showcases the best from floral societies and allotments plus Q and A sessions at 11am, 2pm and 4pm with Steve Bradley, Reg Moule, Frank Hardy and from the BBC's The One Show, Christine Walkden (Sunday only).
    Venue:  City Centre Gardens
    Time:  10am - 5pm
  • ArtSpace
    The chance to see and buy a range of affordable art by talented artists from the region and all at affordable prices
    Times: Saturday 10am-7pm. Sunday 12-6pm.
    Venue: ArtSpace marquee, Victoria Square

artsfest is organised by Birmingham City Council with support from sponsors, partners, arts organisations and volunteers.  For more information go to or contact the artsfest team on 0121 464 5678.


Media Contacts:
Debbie Harrison   0121 303 4476
Lorraine Donovan 0121 303 4718


  • Press/photo accreditation will apply, so please contact media officer above by 3pm on Thursday 8 September for a press pass if you would like to attend artsfest. Images will be available on request.
  • The full programme for artsfest is available on the website.  To request a printed copy please contact the media officer above.
  • artsfest is the UK's biggest free arts festival.  Now in its 14th year, it has grown from strength to strength and is now one of the highlights of Birmingham City Council's annual events programme. This unique festival last year attracted nearly a quarter of a million people to our city to see thousands of artists perform for free. With everything from street art to opera, ballet to bhangra and poetry to rock music, the festival offers audiences a wealth of amazing opportunities to enjoy a huge range of artistic experiences for free.   



If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.