Birmingham’s largest arts festival returns this October, taking over Digbeth for an incredible weekend of music, performance, art and food.

From Friday 4th – Sunday 6th October, visitors can expect to see a whole range of free exhibitions, street-art, guided walks, theatre, dance and music taking in place in galleries, bars, outdoor public spaces and cultural venues throughout Digbeth and Southside.

Produced by Culture Centre and funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England, Birmingham Weekender will join up with the popular Digbeth First Friday for opening night, for an evening of late-night openings and free performances at Eastside Projects, Vivid, Stryx, Centrala and Grand Union – an opportunity to try something new with special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.

The first of the programme highlights have recently been announced, including:

Big Bear Music presents Leaving Mississippi Birmingham Bound: tracing the history of the blues from the cotton fields of Mississippi through Memphis, New Orleans and Chicago to rock and heavy metal, presented over the three nights of Weekender.

Vivid Projects presents a three-day programme of performance, sonics, audio-visual events and installations with their 2019 Black Hole Club artist cohort.

Hip-Hop events for all will be available with Break Mission – dance, music, street sports and art, an International Dance Competition with live music, indoor and outdoor DJ and rap battles, an open Skate Tournament, live graffiti on the walls of Digbeth and a Street Sports Showcase complete with some of the craziest BMX stunt riders and Parkour free runners.

The Glue Collective will bring their sensory Yurt to Digbeth, a quiet safe space where children and adults of all ages can make potions and mud pies, build and create, and try out interactive artworks, while Sundragon Pottery offers the opportunity to play with clay, ‘throw’ a pot, make a tile or sculpt a creature and enjoy an exhibition of ceramics.

SHOUT Festival presents Smalltown Brum, a durational queer silent disco for Birmingham. Turn up, pull on a pair of wireless headphones and get ready to throw some moves with fellow brummies on the dance floor to SHOUT’s silent disco line-up. Internationally celebrated performance artist Symoné’s Fierce Flow brings New York’s 80s voguing culture to Digbeth with an exciting fusion of ballroom (voguing) culture and circus arts with the warmth of cabaret, and Weekender visitors decide the Grand Prize winner!

Sampad joins with Eastside Projects for Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth. The sound of vibrant contemporary South Asian and world music fills Digbeth as Kefaya, alongside percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger, offer short pop-up solos and duets around Digbeth. Also on offer is an evening led by guitarist Giuliano Modarelli and keyboard player, Al MacSween, and with them a collective of artists from across the globe. Try out African Drumming with a master drummer from Senegal with the Bakayoko Music Company. Led by Ansoumana ‘Vieux’ Bakayoko, a ‘djembefola’ (djembe player) from West Africa, each workshop introduces the art of playing the djembe drum to a traditional African rhythm.

Jakub Jan Ceglarz & Marta Marsicka present Digbeth at Midnight, an interactive story-telling trail for anyone who enjoys spooky and mysterious tales where visitors make their way through the nooks and streets of Digbeth to find a series of plaques with QR-codes.

In addition, the line-up will include dance from Birmingham Royal Ballet, an action-packed workshop of games and drama to explore the classic children’s story Peter Pan with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and DJ Pyskhomantus’ VisionBombing Game Show presented by Birmingham Hippodrome which will see Birmingham’s Hip-Hop artists compete in a number of game formats. The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will present an evening concert featuring Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Brahms and directed by Dmitry Stikovetsky, one of the world’s most celebrated violinists.

Steve Ball, Director of Culture Central said: “The programme is shaping up to be really exciting for this year’s Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth. There’s music, dance, hands-on activities for children, performance, visual art and an opportunity to try something new at every turn showcasing the full cultural offer here in Birmingham with work from both smaller and larger organisations. Much of the work we have commissioned responds to Digbeth itself and it is fantastic to shine a light on the city’s creative quarter through this Festival.”

More announcements are expected in September for what promises to be an incredible celebration of art and culture for the whole family. Not to be missed!

For more information and updates, visit here: www.facebook.com/BhamWeekender