2014 is rapidly turning into the year of the festival for Birmingham. Like a big jigsaw puzzle with all of the festivals as pieces, Birmingham literally comes alive with the buzz from all of these festivals which welcome both locals and tourists alike. 2014 has seen the continuation of new festivals like the Birmingham Architecture Festival and the return of the biennial International Dance Festival Birmingham together with annual festivals spanning food, music and art and literature.
Two interesting and exciting festivals are taking place over the coming days and into the weekend.
Birmingham Architecture Festival (BAF), 23 - 26 May, (http://birmarcfest.co.uk/)
The second Birmingham Architecture Festival follows the success of last years, The city as art, and brings together the public, creative communities, construction professionals and architects to celebrate Birmingham, it's architecture, spaces and inhabitants.
Through a series of tours, workshops, exhibitions, and installations you can literally be part of the city and touch, see and explore it's architecture, space and your relationship to it. The events are always popular but there are some spaces left so book now before you need to wait for the 3rd annual Architecture Festival.
The programme can be found on the Birmingham Architecture Festival website and there is a media press release with more information on the sessions and the background to the programme, http://visitbirmingham.com/files/2014-05-21/BAF2014MediareleaseMay.pdf
International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB), 24 April - 25 May, (http://www.idfb.co.uk/idfb-2014) is an biennial festival now in it's fourth run, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/dance-to-city-international-dance.html, which culminates with the world premiere of B-Town from 21 - 24 May, http://www.idfb.co.uk/whats-on/b-town.
It’s the year 2064, and the towns and cities of Britain have become independent kingdoms. Britain has flooded, and waters that once lapped the coast now surge down high streets.
Birmingham is now B-Town, ruled by Queen Roxy who declares that the city’s gates will be thrown open to receive those fleeing the water, as a last place of sanctuary. This is not a popular decision, and Queen Roxy has to battle her advisors and council to convince them to open the gates. Finally she succeeds, and hoards storm the city for safety. The next morning as the sun rises and the waters retreat, the people of B-Town discover they are the only survivors of the great flood...
The free production celebrating street dance takes place in Victoria Square and feels like a dance piece following in the footsteps of As the World Tipped, http://www.wiredaerialtheatre.com/as-the-world-tipped#!__as-the-world-tipped, which took place in Victoria Square last year as part of the 4 Squares Festival celebrating the opening of the new Library of Birmingham, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2013/07/squaring-circle-library-of-birmingham.html
The following pictures I took are from the first night performance on the 21 May. If you are able to make it to the remaining performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 9.30pm (subject to weather conditions) then this is a great event to celebrate the rich diversity of Birmingham both in the crowds who come to cheer it but the rich mix of creativity and activity that makes Birmingham culturally rich.
Following the two festivals mentioned above, the coming months will play host to a variety of exciting festivals. A few are listed below:
BE Festival, international theatre festival, 2 - 12 July, (http://befestival.org/). Over five nights you can see 23 performances and enjoy exhibitions, workshops, discussions, and live music with audiences offered the opportunity to see four 30 minutes-long shows each night and to eat dinner with the performers in the interval.
Eastern Electronic Festival, 6 - 31 May, (http://www.easternelectronicfestival.co.uk/) is an ambitious festival featuring electronic visual experimentation with new music performances by British Asian artists and features a mix of regional, national and international arts across film, performance, visual-digital arts, spoken word and new-music.
Supersonic Festival, 30 - 31 May, (http://www.supersonicfestival.com/), back by popular demand after 10 popular years unites discerning music fans, embracing eclectic tastes and offering a creative space for music lovers, musicians, artists, filmmakers and record stalls and local businesses.
BASS Festival, 1 - 14 June, (http://www.bass14.co.uk/), in it's 9th year the festival celebrates the world of black arts, music and entertainment
Moseley Folk Festival, 29 - 31 August, (http://www.moseleyfolk.co.uk/), returns to Moseley Park for 6th time attracting a mix of traditional, contemporary and experimental folk and acoustic music.
Food and drink features prominently as you would imagine in a city now renowned internationally for it's cuisine, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/yummy-brum.html. Among the many food and drink festivals are:
- Birmingham Caribbean Festival, 5 - 7 June (http://www.birminghamcaribbeanfestival2014.co.uk/)
- Inaugural Birmingham Wine Festival, 13 - 14 June (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/birmingham-wine-festival-tickets-11020214759)
- Colmore Business District (CBD) Food Festival, 18 - 19 July (http://colmorebusinessdistrict.com/events/event/cbd-food-festival-2014/)
- Birmingham Chilli Festival, 19 - 20 September
Hopefully that flavour of the many festivals taking place encourages you to enjoy the city and it's diverse festivals. The festivals allow the city and what makes it so special, the people of Birmingham, to come together and celebrate a variety of interests and shared interests that showcase the city as now a city of 1,001 ideas following it's history as 1,001 trades. More information on the festivals taking place in Birminghamcan be found on Visit Birmingham's website: http://visitbirmingham.com/what-to-do/festivals-events/