- Smithfield and Victoria Square will host Birmingham 2022 Festival Sites
- Sites will include a programme of live performances, entertainment and special events, as well as giant screens to watch the sporting action
- The free Festival Sites will bring people together to celebrate throughout the Commonwealth Games (28 July to 8 August)
- Neighbourhood Festival Sites will be located in seven areas of Birmingham, with Festival Sites also hosted in towns and cities across the West Midlands region and beyond
To bring people together to celebrate the Commonwealth Games, two major free Festival Sites will be hosted in Birmingham city centre, providing entertainment for local people and visitors to the city during what will be the biggest event ever to be staged in the West Midlands.
The sites will be located in two iconic areas of Birmingham – Victoria Square and Smithfield – which are already key venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with Smithfield hosting arenas for the beach volleyball, basketball 3x3 and wheelchair basketball 3x3 tournaments, and Victoria Square the location for the finish of the marathon on Saturday 30 July.
Working with Birmingham’s independent music organisations, including Amplify Sounds, B:Music, Big Bear Music, Girl Grind UK CIC, Muzikstan, More Than A Moment and VNS Productions, the Victoria Square Festival Site will showcase more than 150 of the region’s best artists and musicians.
As well as a daily schedule which includes sunrise stretch sessions, a disco with Perry the Birmingham 2022 mascot, and a showcase of up and coming local talent, the Victoria Square Festival Site will host some very special events. These include watch parties for the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony on 28 July and the Closing Ceremony on 8 August, and a special celebration, including music and cultural acts, to mark the 60th anniversary of Jamaican Independence.
Victoria Square will also be transformed by a new temporary artistic commission by Birmingham-based designer Anjuli McKenna called Connections, which reflects how Birmingham's diverse communities encounter and connect with each other across the city.
The Smithfield site (previously the location for Birmingham’s wholesale markets) will be a festival of festivals with a different cultural partner taking to the specially commissioned three-sided Beacon Stage every single day, with DJs, live performances and dance moments.
Collaborating with the National Trust to bring nature to unexpected places, the Smithfield Festival Site will also feature 70 young trees, colourful benches and hammocks so people can relax whilst soaking up the atmosphere. The trees will be planted in gardens and community spaces around Birmingham after the Games.
Like it’s Victoria Square counterpart, the Smithfield Festival Site will also have its share of party moments including takeovers from Simmerdown music and arts festival showcased on Friday 29 July, ACE Dance and Music bringing carnival vibes to the heart of Birmingham with an explosion of colour, dance and movement on Saturday 30 July, and Sandwell and Birmingham Mela, bringing the best in South Asian talent, and taking centre stage on Sunday 31 July.
The festival fun continues in August with Swingamajig, featuring the sounds and styles of the 1920s, DJs from BBC Asian Network, Selextorhood, who champion and empower women and gender minority DJs, MADE Festival, Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul, and Break Mission and Eric Scutaro, all taking turns to takeover Smithfield’s Beacon Stage to entertain the thousands of people expected to flock to the Festival Site, plus a closing dance party on 7 August – a special party for the final day of the Festival Site.
Birmingham loves a good party and celebration.
Tim Hodgson, Senior Producer for Birmingham 2022 Festival and Festival Sites, said: “The Birmingham 2022 Festival Sites are where sport and culture will combine to provide a fantastic free opportunity for local residents and visitors alike to embrace the Commonwealth Games and celebrate together.
“A giant screen with live coverage will ensure that people can keep up to date with the sporting action, but they will also be entertained throughout the day with a vibrant cultural programme, showcasing established and emerging local talent.”
“We are so excited to be profiling the incredible creativity of Birmingham and the West Midlands, creating two Festival Sites for everyone to enjoy, with more details to be announced soon. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be a fantastic fortnight of sport, culture and entertainment and we are look forward to welcoming everyone to the party.”
Minister for Sport and Tourism, Nigel Huddleston said: “Birmingham 2022's free-to-access Festival Sites will bring the spirit of the Commonwealth Games to an even wider audience this summer with live performances, arts and culture to be taken to tens of thousands of visitors. We can’t wait to see Birmingham, the West Midlands and London come to life for this vibrant programme as we continue to celebrate this major year of sport and culture.”
Cllr Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Birmingham City Council, who are a funding partner for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and have facilitated the Festival Sites, said: “Birmingham loves a good party and celebration – the network of Festival Sites being established for the Commonwealth Games is another great way for people in all neighbourhoods to get involved with the biggest event in our city’s history.
“We’ve been clear since we were named Proud Host City that we wanted the event to be more than just 11 days of fantastic sporting action and I cannot wait for the sites to open for people to celebrate everything great about Birmingham and the Commonwealth.”
The city centre site announcement follows information released earlier in the year about seven Neighbourhood Festival Sites which will be located across Birmingham during the Games. Sites will be hosted in Castle Vale, Sparkhill, Edgbaston, Yardley, Handsworth and Ward End, with a the first ever Commonwealth Games relaxed Festival Site being held at Touchbase Pears in Selly Oak.
Birmingham 2022 has also been announced today that ten towns and cities across the West Midlands region and beyond will also be hosting Festival Sites to celebrate the Commonwealth Games.
The ten sites are being produced and managed by local authorities in areas where competition venues are also located such as Coventry, Solihull, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, plus Tamworth and Telford are set to join in the celebrations with a Festival Sites of their own.
With track cycling taking place at the Lee Valley VeloPark, the host nation’s capital will also be joining in the celebrations with the ‘Celebrating 10 Years’ Festival Site which will also be located at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from Sunday 24 July to Tuesday 8 August.
Delivered in partnership by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the London Legacy Development Corporation and Birmingham 2022, the site will host two weeks of free fun inspired by London 2012 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The following Festival Sites are due to be hosted in the West Midlands and beyond:
Celebrating 10 years Festval Site
Dates Operational: 24 July - 8 August
Location: London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20.
Coventry Festival Site
Dates Operational: 28 July – 8 August 2022.
Location: Assembly Festival Garden
Location: Little Park St, Coventry CV1 2LU.
Tamworth Festival Site
Dates Operational: 28 July – 8 August
Location: Tamworth Castle Grounds, Holloway, B79 7NA.
Solihull Festival Site
Dates Operational: 29 July – 5 Aug
Locations: Mell Square, Solihull, B91 3AY and Theatre Square, Touchwood Solihull, B91 3RG.
Warwickshire Festival Site
Dates Operational: 28 July – 8 Aug
Location: Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa CV32 4AA.
Warwick Festival Site
Dates Operational: 28 July – 8 August
Location: Market Place, Warwick, CV34 4SA.
Sandwell Festival Site
Dates Operational: 25 July – 8 August.
Location: Sandwell Valley Showground, Salter's Ln, West Bromwich B71 4BG
Dudley Festival Sites
1 Aug - Huntingtree Park, Halesowen, B63 4HY
2 Aug – Silver Jubilee Park, Coseley, WV14 9SZ
3 Aug - Mary Stevens Park, Heath Lane, DY8 2AA
4 Aug - Stone Street Square, Dudley, DY1 1NJ
4 Aug - Vicar Street Gardens, Sedgley, DY3 1SB
5 Aug - The Dell Stadium, Brierley Hill, DY5 4NE
6 Aug - Stevens Park, Quarry Bank, DY5 4NE
7 Aug - Himley Hall and Park, Himley, DY3 4DF
Wolverhampton Festival Site
Date Operational: 4 August
Location: Market Square, Wolverhampton, WV30NL.
Telford Festival Site
Location: Southwater One Telford St Quentin Gate, Telford TF3 4EJ
Dates: 28 July – 8 August