Last weekend saw the return of three days packed full of culture for the return of Birmingham Weekender.
This year’s celebrations proved to be a huge success with an estimated 175,000 attendees flocking to the city to enjoy the cultural extravaganza with events taking place across areas including Victoria Square, Eastside Park, Bullring and event the Midland Metros.
Brought to the city by Culture Central, the cultural development agency for Birmingham, Weekender celebrates and demonstrates the city’s cultural ethos and spirit in anticipation of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Take a look below as we’ve rounded up what happened across the weekend!
Day One | Friday
Friday saw audiences brave sunshine and showers to be part of Weekenders opening events. Commuters at New Street Station were brought to a standstill twice with two amazing performances by the full City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and their phenomenal musical director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
Rain did not stop Mrs Barbara Nice in getting people up on the dance floor as the Square Dance opened with the Alternative Office Party which included a fantastic conga across the square.
Over in Cathedral Square, the trees appeared to be talking as part of Tony Oursler’s ethereal The Influence Machine, and in a car park near the Arena Birmingham, The Multi-Story Orchestra played a jaw-dropping version of Beethoven’s Fifth.
Day Two | Saturday
On Saturday the city came alive as the clouds cleared and thousands lined the streets bringing out the sun as the Colours of Birmingham Parade danced, drummed and marched from the high street to Victoria Square all led by the beautiful and ingenious mechanical elephant, Harminder.
The city pulsated in shops and in squares with the entire Bullring coming to a standstill for Birmingham Royal Ballet with crowd after crowd experiencing ariel dance, contemporary dance and Kathakali dance, supported by Dance Hub Birmingham, as well as joining in with barn dance, northern soul and a spectacular, hip swinging Caribbean carnival extravaganza.
New and emerging singers, comedians and rappers showcased what it is to be a Brummie on the Culture Catwalk stage in the heart of the city centre by the Bull.
Saturday nights highlight Clash of Drums filled Eastside Park with sound, strobe lights and phenomenal pyrotechnics – as 10 drummers cut through a crowd of thousands with a series of drumming confrontations before bringing everyone together with an explosion of noise and fireworks from the stage.
Day Three | Sunday
Sunday was wall to wall sunshine all afternoon as the Weekender audience experienced Alternative Village Fete, from epic dens over and under the market stalls to drag queens telling stories and some phenomenal DJ’ing from Ida Barr.
Attendees and Velo supporters whiled away hours at the Bullring Open Market, making, dancing and hanging out, a quirky village feel in the heart of the city. The Musical Mystery Tour saw hundreds take part in a junk orchestra and take a backstage tour of the newly opened Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Craig Charles packed out Square Dance with an amazing set which saw everyone – young and old – up on their feet dancing whilst the world-renowned Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans brought the phenomenal weekend to a close bringing the audience to its feet in a joyful finale to an amazing Birmingham Weekender.