Get ready for artsfest!

By on 09/09/2011 in Culture, News

Over 3,000 artists are getting ready to perform this weekend in over 600 events in Birmingham as part of this year’s artsfest - the UK's biggest free arts festival (10 - 11 September).

Early visitors on Saturday will be able to experience the high energy funk and soul of Souled out to 2 Funk at the Yardbird, a diverse mix of chamber music, classical, electronica and folk at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.  The CBSO will also be performing in Centenary Square putting the final touches together for that evening's spectacular Classical Fantasia, which is set to be one of the major highlights of the weekend. 

Throughout the weekend there will be the chance to take exclusive tours of the work in progress at the new Library of Birmingham, which is set to open in 2013. 

Green fingered visitors will be able to enjoy the first ever FlowerFest which will showcase the best from floral societies and allotments plus Q and A sessions with gardening experts. 

There will also be numerous family friendly activities taking place in Victoria and Chamberlain Squares throughout the weekend including scenes from The Jungle Book from Birmingham Stage Company, appearances from Timmy the Lamb, Family History Detectives and the REP's Sleeping Beauty Trails. 

The artsfest weekend of events will conclude with a rousing headline performance by the Brit award nominated indie-rock band, The Guillemots, at the 'The Best of Birmingham' with Kerrang! and Q Radio in Centenary Square.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture said: “Birmingham has a long tradition of supporting the arts in all its forms, including dance, literature, music, performance and the visual arts.  Birmingham is a dynamic city with an awful lot going on and last year's artsfest attracted over a quarter of a million visitors.

“Artsfest provides a great opportunity for local people to see some of the city's world class arts organisations alongside new talent from the region.”

ArtsFest, the UK's biggest free arts festival, runs from 10-11 September in Birmingham city centre.  It 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
Jason Lewis 0121 303 4266


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. 

artsfest highlights

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

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

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

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