Kicking off on Friday 28 July from 6pm with the opening event One City, A Thousand
Memories, Birmingham Festival 23 is now just 1 week away! The full programme of events for the FREE 10-day festival which takes place from 28 July – 6 August in Centenary Square can be found here.
We’re delighted to confirm even more talent to our already packed programme:
Legendary, world record-holding, Olympic and Commonwealth hurdler Colin Jackson CBE is
our special guest for the Commonwealth Collective Celebration on 31 July. Colin played an
active role in the volunteer journey last year and is back to show his support. Our host for the day will be DJ and compere Tammy Gooding – voice of BRMB, Smooth and BBC WM for
many years before joining BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester. Party tunes will be provided by 6 Music Funk n Soul Show favourite DJ Sam Redmore who’ll spin Funk, Soul and Disco
Classics to round off the celebration.
Grime artist C4 will be the guest MC for GrimeBoy, the Rep’s Twilight Takeover on Tuesday 1 August. A BBC Radio 1xtra regular, C4 is a high-energy, Birmingham-born grime performer; he’ll bring his unique style to the Birmingham Festival 23 stage for a special set to close the night.
On Thursday 3 August, DJ Danny Byrd of Hospital Records will join Drum n Bounce for a
Power Hour special, bringing a live mix of Jungle and Drum n Bass.
More street-theatre will feature in the Festival, including, on Tuesday 1 August, Teabreak –
Catch your breath and enjoy a free, freshly made brew from a Tuk-Tuk in this heart-warming new show by Trigger, the company who brought the spectacular PoliNations to Victoria Square last summer;
And on Saturday 29 July, Barcelona-based Kamchàtka Street Theatre Company, an
International artist collective who’ll wander the city-centre with their naive and curious
On Sunday 6 August, local legend Ginny Lemon will host our Schools Out Disco Party,
bringing everyone together to kick off the festival’s final day in a joyous cabaret. They’ll be
joined by friends Alana Boden, Blu Romantic and Kenya Knott. Sign their Festival Leavers
shirts (markers provided!) for this fun last-day-of-school throw-back for our closing day.
Host Line-Up Confirmed
The Festival will be hosted by a range of established and new compere talent across the ten
days. In addition to Ayo Akinlowere and Kaylee Golding who’ll shepherd our opening event,
and Tammy Gooding on Monday 31, the following presenters will feature: comedian and social media star Smash Bengali, and Dharmesh Rashput and Jaya Khazaei (SAMPAD Takeover Sat 29 July); performer and poet Raza Hussain (FABRIC Takeover Sun 30 July); Amplify Sound’s Alexandria Carr, Tee Cee and Priya Matharu. Jasmine Takhar will lead BBC Asian Network’s takeover on Friday 4 August and ‘Mr Birmingham’ Phil Oldershaw will feature on our closing day alongside Artistic Associate Elizabeth ‘Zeddie’ Lawal for the wrap.
The Festival has created a new BSL-guided video to help D/deaf and disabled people navigate their way from New St Station to Centenary Square. The Festival’s spoken sections will be BSL interpreted on stage and on screen. Pre-recorded films will also be captioned. For audiences with a visual impairment, we have Live Audio Description available throughout the Festival.
Headsets are available for pick-up and return near the Accessible Viewing Area. There will be limited general seating options, but a designated Accessible Viewing Area will be made
available for wheelchair users and those who are unable to stand for a long period of time.
Our Volunteers will be happy to show you to this area. The BSL Video, and all access related information is available on the Festival’s website Access page, here.
United by 2022 is Birmingham Festival 23’s Volunteer Partner, enabling Festival 23 to harness the spirit of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games’ Volunteers, using the Volunteers Collective portal which connects volunteers to opportunities within the West Midlands. The same team at United by 2022 have also supported the Festival’s Have-a-Go Zone where audiences can try out their skills in cricket, squash, lawn bowls and other sports. Chiltern Railways, Cross Country, National Express West Midlands, West Midlands Metro and West Midlands Railway are providing free travel to all volunteers.
Gowling WLG is supporting Perry’s Party Picnic which will take place at midday from July 29
– August 5. Perry, the popular 2022 mascot, will be welcoming special guests each day, from all-female Dhol drumming and dancers of Eternal Taal to a Circus Party featuring talented acrobats, jugglers, hula hoopers, and hilarious comedians. Through our support the Festival organisers and Birmingham City Council are working to identify groups within Birmingham to be given vouchers to swap for free Perry picnic boxes to ensure Perry’s Picnic can be enjoyed by all. Find out more here.
The packed programme will run daily from 11am – 9pm* catering to all ages and interests, each day beginning with welcoming participatory activities, including a regular morning slot hosted by Games Mascot Perry. Back-to-back live and on screen performances throughout each day including projects commissioned through the Made In Brum open call; and each evening a strand under the umbrella title Twilight Takeovers will feature new partnerships, collectives and artists creatively collaborating to bring each day to a fabulous close. The 6pm Power Hour sees a range of fun workouts and easy-to-follow classes that you can make the most of in that post-work diversion from the gym. With almost 100 hours of FREE music, dance and performances and just 1 week to go til it starts, Birmingham Festival 23 looks forward to welcoming thousands of audiences, artists, local communities and volunteers, reflecting the diversity of the city, to come together to watch, listen, relax, dance and play. It will be a joyous, fun and heartfelt celebration to mark the one year anniversary of the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and is another bold showcase of Birmingham’s talent, character and reputation as a world-class destination for major events.
Commissioned and supported by Birmingham City Council to celebrate the city’s creativity, Arts Council England and University of Birmingham were previously announced as Principle
Partners and Hollywood Monster as Presenting Partner. Steven Knight CBE, and former gold-medal winning Team England Netball Captain, Ama Agbeze, are Patrons of the Festival, signifying the city’s cultural and sporting ambitions.