ArtsFest ends on a high

By on 14/09/2009 in News

More than 270,000 people filled venues across Birmingham this weekend for ArtsFest, the UK's biggest free arts festival.

The final day of the festival saw indie heroes Athlete and Reverend & The Makers round off the weekend playing to a capacity crowd at the Kerrang stage in Centenary Square.

Other major highlights of the weekend of free entertainment included the Classical Fantasia concert on Saturday evening, with Birmingham's world famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Opera Company,  followed by a spectacular firework display. 

A big hit with the public was the dance marquee in Centenary Square which attracted thousands to see and take part in works shops with an eclectic mix of performances from Parkour and traditional Japanese samurai arts of the Heijoshin Dojo to Latin, Irish and Bollywood dancing.  The biggest dance hit of the weekend however, was the Guinness world record breaking Bhangra dance, with 857 members of the public dancing their way into the record books.

Trips to the Jewellery Quarter on a Vintage bus also gave thousands the opportunity to take tours of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, St Paul's Church and see acclaimed theatre company 'Stan's Café' perform their show 'Giant Steps' at the AE Harris Factory.   There were also tours of the Newman Brothers Coffin Works - who made coffin furniture for Diana the Princess of Wales and Winston Churchill amongst others.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture said: “Hundreds of thousands of visitors have flocked to Birmingham this weekend to see the best the city and the region has to offer in terms of culture and artistic talent.  This is what ArtsFest is all about - bringing people together to share culture. Birmingham is truly the culture capital of the UK.”

Other popular attractions included the BBC's Bang Goes the Theory Roadshow, which has drawn massive crowds into Victoria Square throughout the weekend for a blend of science and fun as they carried out a range of experiments to really put science to the test.

ArtsFest is the UK's biggest free arts festival and 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 contact: Emily Malcolm on 0121 303 8794 or 07766 923 352

Notes to Editor:
1 Images available on request.

2 ArtsFest, now in its 12th year, has grown from strength to strength and is now one of the highlights of Birmingham City Council's annual events programme.

 ArtsFest helps to make the arts accessible to all and to widen people's experiences of cultural activity.  With everything from street art to opera, cutting edge theatre installations to bhangra dance and plenty in between, the festival offers audiences a wealth of amazing opportunities to enjoy a huge range of artistic experiences for free.  The best of the region's emerging artists perform alongside internationally renowned companies, and many find it to be an unparalleled platform from which to launch and establish their artistic careers.

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