Olympic Celebrations for artsfest

By on 23/08/2012 in Leader, News

Asian dance, 3D projections, a 'Rootless Forest' and Olympic celebrations are just some of the highlights of artsfest for one of the finest free arts festival's in the UK  from September 7-9 in Birmingham City Centre.

Organised by Birmingham City Council in conjunction with arts organisations and volunteers, Cllr Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council said: “We saw the Olympics draw to a close and eagerly await the start of the Paralympic Games. However, the London 2012 celebrations continue with cultural events all over the country, including some fabulous artistic performances in Birmingham.

“As part of the London 2012 Festival, we will hear a string quartet perform in helicopters over the city centre this week, with Birmingham Opera Company’s world premier of Stockhausen’s ‘Mittwoch aus Licht'; which is a huge achievement by the city's opera company.

“To launch this year's artsfest, Birmingham Town Hall will be spectacularly illuminated as live 3D projections are fused with British Asian music and dance in ‘Mandala’ as a finale to the London 2012 festival.”

“Artsfest which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year will continue a London 2012 theme with up-and-coming bands playing live and a programme to get people dancing. The Birmingham Royal Ballet will perform and a choreographed firework display with a screening of last night at the proms will surely be a fitting end to a summer of sporting achievement and cultural entertainment.”

Artsfest will be launched on September 7 in Centenary Square with Mandala (Sanskrit for 'circle'), a dazzling free outdoor performance fusing international and British Asian music and dance with spectacular 3D digital projections that will illuminate the Town Hall. Mandala is also one of the closing events of the twelve week long London 2012 Festival, which has taken place throughout the UK in celebration of the Olympic Games.

Throughout the weekend the unique 'Rootless Forest' can be seen travelling through the city's canals. Weighing 15 tonnes, with 100 trees up to 3m tall planted along a 16m length of canal barge, the project allows people passing by to hear sound recordings made by families from the military and UK Afghan communities in Birmingham, exploring themes of homecoming and relocation.

On Saturday (September 8), Birmingham city centre will be filled with live music with performances in that will include rap, folk, punk, blues, gospel, jazz and soul. In Centenary Square the highlight of the evening will be spellbinding performances by the Birmingham Opera Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet culminating in a choreographed fireworks display. In Victoria Square visitors will be able to enjoy a special screening of the Last Night of the Proms on the BBC Live Site screen.

On Sunday (September 9), as part of the closing event for the London 2012 Festival, Victoria Square will be one of over 500 locations throughout the country participating in the spectacular Bandstand Marathon. In Centenary Square the BBC WM Introducing stage will bring together the best in new music from throughout the region,  whilst in Chamberlain Square, the live music will conclude with the fabulous Bloco Combinado which will bring together five of the regions finest samba bands.

Other activities on offer throughout the weekend will include the fabulous Dancing for the Games – a project that aims to get everyone from beginners to experts to celebrate London 2012 through dancing.  There will be an exclusive fashion show as part of the Midlands Fashion Designer Awards and this year's artsfest will conclude a screening of the spectacular Closing Ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympics on the Live Site in Victoria Square.

Artsfest 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 follow @artsfestUK on twitter or like artsfest UK on facebook.


Mittwoch notes to editors

With tickets for all four performances selling out as soon as they went on sale and an audience from as far afield as Japan and USA flocking in to Birmingham for tomorrow's world premiere of Mittwoch Aus Licht, it has just been confirmed that the whole event will be streamed live at 4pm on Thursday 23rd August 2012 at www.birminghamopera.org.uk

The six hour opera by Karlheinz Stockhausen is being staged by Birmingham Opera Company as part of the London 2012 Festival, with the premiere taking place on what would have been the composer's 84th birthday, Wednesday 22nd August 2012, at the former chemical factory, Argyle Works, in Digbeth.  Never before staged in its entirety, the ambitious production features the Helicopter String Quartet which will also be streamed live on Wednesday at approximately 7pm on at www.thespace.org the new digital, pop-up arts service created by Arts Council England and the BBC to showcase the richness of a summer of arts in this Olympic year. The Helicopter String Quartet will also be shown live on Wednesday evening on the BBC big screens in Birmingham and Coventry city centres.

General Manager, Jean Nicholson said:  We are delighted to be able to add the full  live internet broadcast on Thursday to the range of opportunities being provided for those wanting to be part of one of this summer's most important cultural events. Demand for tickets was overwhelming but the two internet broadcasts and the large scale screenings mean that anyone anywhere can enjoy this unique experience.”

For further information or images please contact Roulla Xenides, 07976 243528  roulla.xenides@gmail.com

Artsfest notes to editors

Artsfest media contact:
Jason Lewis on 0121 303 4266 or 07766 923 352

Press accreditation applies - please contact media officer above for a press pass if you would like to attend artsfest.

The full programme for artsfest will be available on the website from August 24. To request a printed copy please contact the media officer above. The programme is correct at time of going to print however, may be subject to change.

Artsfest Highlights

Friday 7 September
Red Baraat  – 6.30pm
Town Hall, Birmingham, Chamberlain Square
The seriously hot, larger-than-life, Brooklyn based dhol 'n' brass band Red Baraat will travel from New York City to start Mandala in Birmingham.

The nine piece band consists of dhol, drums, percussion, a sousaphone and a five piece horn section. The band fuse the infectious North Indian rhythms of bhangra with funk, jazz, Latin and go-go and their sound is big, brassy and full of energy.

Chamberlain Square
performances at 8.30pm and 9.30pm

Chamberlain Square
The Midlands Music Stage
Saturday 8 September – 11am to 6.25pm

Saturday 8  September
Birmingham Opera Company
Centenary Square 8pm – 8.25pm
The award wining Birmingham Opera Company will team up with Colmore Chorus to present a bread basket of operatic hits with a foodie theme featuring baritone, Byron Jackson and Chorus Master, Jonathan Laird.

Saturday 8  September
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Centenary Square 9pm – 9.30pm
The internationally celebrated Birmingham Royal Ballet, showcasing another stand out performance from their varied repertoire.

Saturday 8  September
Last Night of the Proms
Victoria Square - Live Site 7.30pm -11pm
Watch all of the performance from the popular Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on the Live Site in Victoria Square.

The Rootless Forest
Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September
The Rootless Forest is a mini forest made of real trees and soil on a boat that travels at a walking distance along the Birmingham and Black Country Canals. Hear recorded stories about passage, change and home, told by families from the military and UK Afghan communities in Birmingham. Throughout the weekend www.therootlessforest.com

Sunday 9 September
BBC WM introducing
Acoustic Stage and Festival Stage
Centenary Square  11.30am – 9.55pm
The very best in new music from around the West Midlands region
Amongst the artists performing will be Genius Collective - a funky brass led 7-piece, post punk music from The Carpels and the feel good sounds of the The Musgraves, one of the Midlands’ most promising bands.

Sunday 9 September
Bandstand Marathon
Victoria Square – The Bandstand  1pm – 5pm
The Bandstand Marathon brings live music performance to bandstands and outdoor performance spaces across the UK- all at the same time on the same day. Amongst the artists performing in Birmingham will be Luke Huntley, Mumbo Jumbo and Tannyblue.

Victoria Square
Dancing for the Games
The Dance Marquee
Saturday 8 September 2012 - 11am to 6pm
Sunday 9 September 2012 – 12pm to 5.30pm

Dancing for the Games is part of the West Midlands' Culture Programme for London 2012. It is an exciting new dance programme that uses the inspiration of the London 2012 Games to get people dancing across the West Midlands.

Sunday 9  September
Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games
Victoria Square - Live Site  9 to 11pm
Watch the magnificent closing ceremony from London 2012 Paralympic Games on the Live Site in Victoria Square.

Further highlights throughout the weekend:

Saturday 8 September
Acoustic Stage
Centenary Square

Live music featuring the Funk Rock of Mezzotonic and fabulous blend of rock and elegant chamber pop of Young Runaways

Saturday 8 September
Birmingham Conservatoire
Adrian Boult Hall
Chamberlain Square – 12.30pm to 7pm
Music, dance and drama include performances by Birmingham Festival Choral Society and Escape Dance Company.

Sunday 9 September
Birmingham Conservatoire
Adrian Boult Hall
Chamberlain Square – 12.30pm to 6.30pm

Featuring performances by Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Steve King Big Band and rising stars of Birmingham's Black culture presented by The Drum.

Sunday 9 September
The Midlands Music Stage
Chamberlain Square
The Father Teds play Celtic rock with a twist!, Drop Down Smiling Bloco Combinado - A collaborative mega reggae Samba performance, featuring five of the regions finest samba bands.

Street Performance Area
Chamberlain Square
Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September – 11.30am to 6pm
Acoustic, folk, rock, classical guitar, jazz and slam poetry.

Birmingham Cathedral

Cathedral Green

Saturday 8th September - 11am to 2.30pm
Comedy, theatre, dance and live music, including:
11am to 11.30am     The Base Tikes – Take Thou: It’s the Bard’s Boyband!
Clifton Road Youth Centre – Folk and Acoustic bands from the Youth Centre

Saturday 8th September
Symphony Hall  – 12pm - 7.15pm
Centenary Square
Featuring Midday Mantra – 12pm to 1pm. Taster for free monthly South-Asian chill series, as well as folk, blue and a selection of upbeat music from Aston Performing Arts

Notes to editors ends

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