Birmingham Weekender 2017 returns on Friday 22nd September bringing over 160 scheduled performances, 600+ artists and 26 new commissions all demonstrating the cultural ethos and spirit in the city as we celebrate that Birmingham is the candidate city for a potential UK Commonwealth Games 2022.

The three day festival features performances and events from the city’s major arts organisations, independent artists and especially invited international artists. The programme covers dance, music, theatre, exhibitions and visual arts and talks.

With over 160 performances there is plenty to see, here are just some of the highlights:

Square Dance

In partnership with the team behind Moseley Folk Festival look out for a giant wooden dance floor in front of the Council House. Over three days, hour by hour audiences can experience everything from disco to folk, bhangra to Northern Soul as well as striking Kathakali dancers visiting especially for Weekender from India followed by live music and heavyweight DJs each evening including Craig Charles, David Rodigan and Don Letts. You can find the full schedule on the Birmingham Weekender website.

Rangeeli – Colours of Birmingham Parade

All the colours of Birmingham come to life in this spectacular city parade on Saturday 23 Sept. The parade features the amazing Harminder, a magnificent Indian elephant made of metal, reclaimed bicycle parts and other recycled materials. Co–designed with the citizens of Birmingham, the Rangeeli – Colours of Birmingham parade will explore, celebrate and share the heritage of the city with a South Asian twist, marking Utsav, Birmingham’s Year of South Asian Culture.

The parade will climax in a crescendo of sound from dhol and Brazilian beats as well as an explosion of spectacular dances from kathakali to kathak, Bollywood, bhangra and bharatanatyam alongside the energy of African and contemporary artists. Look out also for Patang, colourful kites inspired by the sub-continent.

Culture Catwalk

Birmingham Weekender

Culture Catwalk returns on Saturday and Sunday following its successful outing in 2015 to celebrate art at the heart of the city. Culture Catwalk is produced by Southside Producers in partnership with The Old Rep and Beatfreeks and will shine a light on Birmingham’s finest community creative talent, capturing the vibrancy and diversity of the city. Artists from across the city are invited to take to the red carpet to sing, dance, slide and perform. Culture Catwalk is a celebration of everything that makes us Brummie!

Tram-a-lama-ding-dong!

All aboard Brum’s swishest new mode of travel, the Network West Midlands Metro! In partnership with Fierce, Weekender presents a trio of cabaret delights on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 Sept. Armed with her Casio keyboard, be seduced by the catchy pop hooks of songstress Lorraine Bowen of The Crumble Song and Britain’s Got Talent fame; marvel at the entrancing synchronised dance routines of the strange but true Figs in Wigs and laugh along with Birmingham’s First Lady Mrs Barbara Nice. All you need to partake is a ticket to ride! Tram tickets are required, purchase on-board.

Clash of the Drums

Birmingham Hippodrome presents Clash of the Drums, created by Les Commandos Percu (France) and Deabru Beltzak (Spain) on Sat 23 September at Eastside Green at Eastside Park. A spectacular outdoor evening of drumming and pyrotechnics, drummers appear out of nowhere and march towards each other from street to street before coming together with a clash of drums. Light and fire fill the skies in an explosion of sound.

Book your free tickets at www.birminghamhippodrome.com/clash

Alternative Village Fete

On Sun 24 September the Bull Ring Retail Markets will be transformed into an Alternative Village Fete. This one-off Sunday opening will see the market traders setting up stall alongside interactive performances, installations and quirky stalls, embracing the best bits of a traditional village fete with an alternative Brummie twist. From Drag Queen Story Time by SHOUT Festival to Carboot Disco Bingo by Megan Clark-Bagnall and Jasmine Loveys to mega den building with 815 Agency and DenCity expect games, folk culture, craft, home cooking, tea and cake, vintage, and more.

Pop up Theatre

On the streets of the city on Saturday 23 Sept look out for unexpected theatre from international companies presented in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome. Can you spot the hummelmanie tribe, five rubber band creatures who typewrite their days away in an invisible office space or the Peregrinus from Poland who appear suddenly in striking masks and perform to recognisable classical, rap, pop and film music. From closer to home, The Commentators by Birmingham based Stan’s Café will be commentating on anything and everything in the Bull Ring Open Market.

Fluid Festival

A festival of new Queer sound and music presented by Trevor Pitt takes place on Saturday 23 Sept. At Minerva Works expect an extraordinary line up of composers and experimental electronic musicians, including the rarely performed piece Gay Guerilla by Julius Eastman led by Rolf Hind and Siwan Rhys plus sets from Robin Buckley, C N Lester, Henry McPherson & Inkeri Kallio, Repeator, Daniel vs The World, Mx World, Rebekah Ubuntu, Michael Wolters & Paul Nornam and Yfat Soul Zisso.  To book your tickets and for more info visit www.fluidfestival.org

City Social at The Mailbox Underpass

Across the whole weekend enjoy a brand new space with live entertainment, local food and drinks offers, a place to relax and much more in the The Mailbox Underpass. Expect sets from DJ Matt James and singer Vanessa Lee singing Club Classics and House as well as acoustic sessions supporting local artists Old School 80s Soul DJ, Robin Holland and Soul’d Out a 12 piece Soul & Motown Live Band. Check the Birmingham Weekender website for the full schedule: http://www.birminghamweekender.com/whats-on/all-shows/city-social-at-the-mailbox-underpass

Hans Raj Hans – Birmingham Weekender Closing Concert

 

To finish up your Weekender on Sunday 24 join the hugely popular Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans for an uplifting evening of live song and music at Town Hall Birmingham. One of the finest modern-day performers of Sufi songs, he is renowned as a folk revivalist and passionate ambassador for Sufi music.

Part of Utsav, Birmingham’s Year of South Asian Culture, and presented by Town Hall Symphony Hall in association with Sampad tickets are available from www.thsh.co.uk