Full Programme Announced

Festival Programme Brochure

Full Programme Announced

Festival Programme Brochure

…and it’s all FREE for everyone! Music, Dance, Spoken Word, Digital Artworks, Have-A-Go Activities and Installations… Birmingham Festival 23 has it all.

We’ve announced the full programme of events for the 10 day FREE summer festival which takes place from Friday 28 July – Sunday 6 August in Centenary Square. So check out the programme here on our website or look out for a new brochure.

A packed programme changing every day will appeal to all ages and interests. Welcoming participatory activities include a regular morning slot hosted by Commonwealth Games Mascot Perry. Back-to-back live and on screen performances include the Made In Brum strand of locally commissioned projects and each evening a Twilight Takeover will feature new partnerships, collectives and artists bringing each day to a fabulous close. Enjoy Power Hour each evening around 6pm with fun workouts and easy-to-follow classes. And there’s masses of music, a deluge of dance and a plethora of performances.

This is a real legacy from the Commonwealth Games, continuing the fantastic celebration of all that is great about the culture and creativity of the city. Birmingham City Council is proud to have commissioned and funded Festival 23, showcasing the creativity across our communities and the city’s rich cultural offer through programming committed to diversity, inclusion and homegrown talent.

Councillor Saima Suleman, Cabinet Member Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism at Birmingham City Council

The second week of the summer holidays never looked so good as Birmingham Festival 23 welcomes audiences, artists, local communities and volunteers. The whole event will reflect the diversity of the city, coming together to watch, listen, relax, dance and play. This joyous, fun and heartfelt celebration marks the one year anniversary of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and is another bold showcase of Birmingham’s talent, character and reputation as a world-class destination for major events.

I am immensely proud of the Festival. Through the hard work of all the team, our partners and all the talented artists featured, we have pulled together a programme that highlights the breadth of talent in the city. All that’s missing is the amazing Brummie turn-out – last year we saw that audiences in Birmingham are the best – they’re relaxed, up for fun and so welcoming to visitors from outside the city. As the month-long countdown begins, the excitement is building, and we hope the warm weather will hold so that people can really make the most of the creative and welcoming site. Either way, we think the Festival will bring joy to audiences and participants alike

Raidene Carter, Creative Director of Birmingham Festival 23


The Festival opens on Friday 28 July with One City, A Thousand Memories. DJ Echo Juliet and BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction will be on the square from 6pm and the event will be hosted by award-winning BBC presenter Ayo Akinwolere and DJ and Radio 1Xtra presenter Kaylee Golding in a line up that includes: the Dhol Blasters, Commonwealth Games medal-winning athletes from Team England, The Choir with No Name, Bambi Bains, SANITY and Friendly Fire Band. 

As Festival Partners, SAMPAD and FABRIC take over the stage on the first weekend presenting some amazing South Asian dance and music on the Saturday (don’t miss Apache Indian back in his hometown), as well as a day of dance for for everybody on Sunday 30th (the Giant Wheel will definitely be one to watch out for).

Every morning Monday to Friday, you can start the day with a Sense Wellbeing Sound Bath, before enjoying Perry’s Party Picnic with a different theme every lunchtime. There are too many highlights to list here but see the full details on our programme pages – here’s just a little taste of what to expect each day.

  • Monday will see everything from Bollywood Dreams Dance Company to Harborne’s Got 2 Sing Choir by way of the ‘Sunshine Afro-roots’ music of TwoManTing. And the evening ends with an Irish music and dance extravaganza from Birmingham Irish Association and Ceol Agency – a ceilidh the likes of which Centenary Square has never seen before!
  • On Tuesday experience warm, reflective, open-hearted and lyrical jazz, from 5-piece band A Hologram Maze. Or try out BIMM Birmingham Showcase featuring  Insurgent  with their blend of soaring vocals with crushing instrumentation; and untamed, Alternative-Rock disruptors SANTU. In the evening don’t miss a concert performance of Grimeboy from Casey Bailey and Birmingham Rep.
  • By Wednesday you might want to calm down to the sounds of SHE Choir Birmingham, a community choir for women with their original arrangements of pop, rock, indie, R&B and more. Natty Ola’s showcase from her new album Stories, includes crazy jazz scatting, while Shine Girl Shine by IAM West Midlands is a celebration of Black female talent in the underground music scene, right here in the West Midlands. And the day ends with What If led by founder of Girl Grind UK, Namywa Hutchinson, dancer and founder of Eloquent Dance Company Romanah Zhane, and Bianca Passelle-Reid, vocalist and founder of Vocal Nova Academy. There are nods to Birmingham’s music, nightlife, economy, and culture throughout, with references to places, sounds, food joints, and events that give you that true Brummie pride.
  • On Thursday Forró Tempo pick things up with the rhythm, beats, and melodies of the Northeast of Brazil before Wan Sheung Chinese Cultural Dance Group perform a traditional Tibetan mountain dance and a dragon dance. Sonia Sabri’s Mughal Miniatures is a fun and upbeat outdoor performance event for all the family; and Yaram Arts will bring an exciting lion masquerade dance performance accompanied by an assortment of drummers. Part of the University of Birmingham’s Culture Forward initiative, Soul City Arts will create an indoor installation entitled NOMAD within the Assembly Rooms in the University’s Exchange building.
  • Corey Baker Dance take us all to space on Friday with ZeroG, using a specially constructed, counterweighted lift that allows the dancers to move as if in zero-gravity.  Five-piece emo band with a message of strength in diversity, Second Cities blend metal and pop punk for sad teens with happy faces. At 4pm, BBC Asian Network takes over the stage showcasing the best of new and upcoming British Asian talent from Birmingham. Expect plenty of high energy and mood boosting Bollywood, Bhangra, and Asian Beats to get you motivated! And from 7pm 93:00 Collective portray a post-apocalyptic 2093; Birmingham has fallen into disarray after a catastrophic event, “The Blackout”. In an effort to reclaim their voices, the city’s resilient communities use music, fashion, and dance to promote unity and express their aspirations for a better world.

The final weekend (Sat 5, Sun 6 Aug) is just as packed!

After Cool Carnival Vibes with Black Rose Yogini, a morning of relaxation, and Perry’s Party with Oya Batucada creating Saturday Samba beats, enjoy the Sweetpan SteelBand playing a host of genres, from Calypso to Classical. Later, ACE Dance & Music brings a collage of colour, dance, and the pulsating rhythms of Trinidad as vibrant costumes soar, amidst the backdrop of a vocal community mass choir led by Black Voices and Dutch marching band, Eternity Percussion. Bringing the second Saturday to a close, experience the awe-inspiring Mast Qalandar Dancehall Mashup, a mesmerising intercultural fusion of music and dance directed by Associate Artist Mukhtar Dar. 

Sadly it all ends on Sunday 6 August but we go out with a bang! After Rainbow Voices, the West Midlands’ community choir for LGBTQIA+ people and their friends, a School’s Out Disco celebrates the summer holidays with moments of joy and cabaret. And at 3pm, fresh from a national tour, an enhanced festival edition of Dancing to Music You Hate by Jasmine Gardosi (Birmingham’s poet laureate) returns to Birmingham, with special guests. Expect explosive dubstep bass-lines and soaring folk violin blowing apart the boundaries of gender and musical genre alike. Then from 5pm, Next Track sees former poet laureate Casey Bailey working alongside a range of regional music, poetry and spoken word artists bringing Birmingham Festival 2023 to a close. 

It’s all FREE and it’s for everyone.

See you in Centenary Square.

Commissioned and supported by Birmingham City Council, the Festival will take place in Centenary Square with a 10 day programme of free events that showcase the City’s rich cultural offer.