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.