The art of Birmingham

By on 09/09/2009 in News

ArtsFest, the UK's biggest free arts festival, will be packing in the entertainment when it is staged in Birmingham on 11-13 September, with over 3000 artists set to be involved in the weekend extravaganza.

The festival will be launched on Friday evening with the Smooth Sounds concert on Centenary Square stage.  Compered by Smooth Radio's Tammy Gooding it will include performances from I/O Earth, Jake & Elwood Blues and reggae star Macka B.  The unique Project Pigeon will be overseeing a 'pigeon liberation' in Victoria Square, and other venues across the city centre will be showcasing an eclectic range of music, performance poetry, art exhibitions and other entertainment.

On Saturday things move up a gear as over 40 venues present everything from short films and photography exhibitions, belly dancing and a bhangra dancing world record attempt, to choral music and rock bands.  In the evening the stunning Classical Fantasia concert, which last year attracted over 15,000 people, will see Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Opera Company share the stage, culminating in a choreographed fireworks display.

On Sunday KerrangFest takes over the stage in Centenary Square, with a mammoth 10 hour concert headlined by Athlete and Rev & The Makers.  Around the city centre other entertainment including Irish musical instrument workshops, Chinese Falun Gong, Bollywood dancing and traditional Polish music will give visitors a small taste of the ethnic diversity of the city.

Other activities will be on offer throughout the weekend, from the BBC Bang Goes The Theory Roadshow in Victoria Square, to kids' activities at Heart's Family Zone in City Centre Gardens.  ArtSpace in the Council House and Art on the Railings in Centenary Square will be offering affordable art to buy and take home

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture said, “Birmingham has a thriving artistic community and ArtsFest attracts visitors from far and wide to see the best of the region's cultural gems.  We are always looking for fresh and exciting ways to attract new and returning audiences to the biggest free arts festival in the country.”

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

 Images available on request.

 The full programme for ArtsFest will be available on the website from 4th September, or to request a printed copy please contact the media officer above.  The programme may be subject to change.

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.  This unique festival last year attracted nearly a quarter of a million people to our 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.

ArtsFest 2009 is supported by the PRS Foundation for New Music, The Ticket Factory, Barefoot Wine, Kerrang Radio, Hamstead Hall, Birmingham Mail, Heart FM, Smooth Radio, Network West Midlands, BBC, Monarch Airlines and City Inn.

Listings for items mentioned above:
Friday 11th September
5-11pm Smooth Sounds on Centenary Square Stage:
5pm Made of Music Collective
5:25pm Samba Spectacular
6:40pm I/O Earth
7:40pm Jake & Elwood Blues
8:40pm Electric Film Orchestra
9:35pm Rhythms Ragas and Rhapsody presented by Sampad
10:30pm Macka B presented by the Drum

Victoria Square Stage
5:25  Project Pigeon 5:25pm

Other venues opens until 11pm

Saturday 12th September
12-6:30pm Short Cuts film programme - short films from some of the region's best directors
  The Crescent Theatre

1-11pm  Kerrang Unsigned stage - the best of the region's emerging bands
  The Flapper Pub

1:30-2:30pm Bhangra Dancing World Record Attempt - over 1000 people expected to join in
  Centenary Square

2:30-3pm  Khalgani bellydancing workshop - American Tribal Belly Dance troupe
  Monarch Beach in Chamberlain Square

8-10pm  Classical Fantasia - Excerpts from the classics, concludes with fireworks
  Centenary Square

Sunday 14th September
12:30-10:30pm KerrangFest:
12:30pm The Skylines
1:15pm The Lines
2pm 51 Breaks
2:45pm The Amateurs
3:30pm Templeton Pek
4:15pm The Mexicolas
5pm The Arcadian Kicks
5:50pm Johnny Foreigner
6:45pm Saving Aimee
7:45pm Elliot Minor
8:15pm Charity auction of portraits of Motown artists for the Lord Mayor's Charities
8:45pm Reverend & The Makers
9:45pm Athlete

12:55pm Falun Gong - beautiful, peaceful, harmonious Chinese dance
 Centenary Square Dance Marquee

2:15pm Comhaltas - Irish musical instrument workshop
 City Centre Gardens Performance Tent

3:15pm Wiesniacy Polish Folk Song & Dance Group
 Town Hall

4pm Diverse Dance Company - Bollywood Dance Extravaganza
 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Round Room

Activity for Saturday and Sunday
12-6:30pm  Short Cuts film programme - short films from some of the region's best directors
  The Crescent Theatre
11am-7pm BBC Bang Goes The Theory Roadshow
 Victoria Square
11am-5pm Heart's Family Zone
 City Centre Gardens
11am-7:30pm ArtSpace - ArtsFest's affordable art fair
 The Council House Banqueting Suite
12-6pm Art on the Railings - local artists selling affordable art
 Centenary Square

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