A whole lot of fun was had in Digbeth last weekend…by order of the Peaky Blinders!
It was the inaugural Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, welcoming a host of entertainment, all based around the incredibly popular TV show about a 1920s Birmingham gang. Fans were treated to musical acts and Blinders-themed events, in a festival quite unlike any other.
On Saturday, September 14, there was a Q&A session featuring some of the show’s biggest stars including Sam Neil and Paul Anderson, as well as its Brummie creator, Steven Knight. Fans heard how the actors go about playing their roles and how the idea for the show came about, inspired by Birmingham legends told to Knight as a child.
Elsewhere, there was the chance to see, and buy, some of the stunning clothing ranges that are used in the series, with a catwalk show and pop-up shop. There were even barbers on hand giving out free Peaky Blinder-style haircuts.
A certain highlight of the whole event was the immersive theatre performed throughout the day, helping to transport you to the roaring 20s. In one area, there was an old-school boxing ring where punters could watch superbly choreographed fights, cheered on by faux-Peaky Blinders and raucous crowds. Great fun.
And amongst all of this was some top musical acts, performing on various stages, as well as the BBC Introducing Stage, where some of the region’s brightest talent was showcased. On Saturday (14), there were sets from the likes of headliners Primal Scream, Anna Calvi, Richard Hawley and Jenny Beth and the not-so-secret special guest appearance of Liam Gallagher.
Perhaps the real star of the show, however, was Digbeth itself. The festival brilliantly showed what a special, historical, but also modern place that it is. John Empson, festival promoter, said: “Digbeth proved to be the perfect location, the weather was incredible and the crowd loved it.” Everyone there at the weekend will surely agree and look forward to more of the same next year.