Off to a flying start

By on 12/09/2009 in News

The UK's biggest free arts festival got off to a flying start last night with around 20,000 people enjoying the fun and sunshine with music, comedy, dance, drama and art for all tastes.

ArtsFest began with the Smooth Sounds concert in Centenary Square with revellers enjoying an eclectic and energetic mix of jazz, rock, reggae, samba and the singalong Blues Brothers tribute - Jake and Elwood Blues.  Meanwhile, in the Dance Marquee, crowds were treated to the acrobatic choreography of Beingfrank Physical Theatre and the inspiring ACE youth company with their dazzling contemporary dance. 

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery was host to a fabulous range of performances, including Bhangra,Bollywood musical, African and Brazilian dance and martial arts, renaissance singing and traditional English village music.   There was also be a performance of an excerpt from Roald Dahl's 'George's Marvellous Medicine' by the Birmingham Stage Company. Diners enjoyed candlelit dinners in the elegant Victorian surroundings of the Museum Restaurant. 

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture said:
“The first night of this year's ArtsFest has been a great success with thousands of people enjoying hours of free entertainment.   It is 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 11-13 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 www.artsfest.org.uk or contact the ArtsFest team on 0121 464 5678.

Ends

Media contact:  Emily Malcolm 07766 923352, Emily.malcolm@birmingham.gov.uk 
or
carmel.girling@birmingham.gov.uk, 07977583843

Notes to Editors:
Images available on request.
? 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.  This unique festival last year attracted nearly a quarter of a million people to the city to see thousands of artists perform for free.

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.

The programme may be subject to change.

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