First programme highlights of 2017 confirmed posted 07 Apr 2017

We are very pleased to announce our first confirmed events for Weekender '17, with dance, drums, music and an elephant taking to the city streets!


Working with the team behind Moseley Folk Festival, we will transform Victoria Square into a three-day dance experience, which we're calling Square Dance. Hour-by-hour, the people of Birmingham are invited to experience disco to folk, bhangra to Northern Soul. Striking kathakali dancers will visit especially for Weekender from Kerala (India), and we're planning a few headline DJs to take the party into night-time. Square Dance offers a chance for everyone to get up and strut their stuff. It's the central hub for the whole of the Weekender, a place to eat, drink and dance together in the heart of the city.


Birmingham Hippodrome will present Clash of the Drums, a spectacular outdoor evening of drumming and pyrotechnics. Drummers will appear out of nowhere and march towards each other from street to street before coming together with a clash of drums, light and fire. Created by Les Commandos Percu (France) and Deabru Beltzak (Spain), Clash of the Drums will fill Birmingham's skies with an explosion of sound.


Birmingham city-centre will be the focus for the Rangeeli – Colours of Birmingham parade featuring the amazing Harminder, a magnificent Indian elephant made of metal, reclaimed bicycle parts and other recycled materials. Co–designed with the citizens of Birmingham, the Rangeeli parade will explore, celebrate and share the heritage of the city with a South Asian twist, marking Utsav, Birmingham’s Year of South Asian Culture. Look out also for Patang, colourful kites inspired by the sub-continent.

  • The city's much-loved Bull Ring Open Markets will be transformed into an Alternative Village Fete. This one-off Sunday opening will see the market traders setting up stall alongside interactive performances, installations and quirky stalls, embracing the best bits of a traditional village fete with an alternative Brummie twist. Expect games, folk culture, craft, home cooking, tea and cake, vintage, and more.


Birmingham Contemporary Music Group will perform a new piece of music created especially for Birmingham’s canals on narrow boats near the Sea Life Centre. Leading composers Richard Baker (UK), Ondrej Adamek (Prague) and Yannis Kyriakides (Cyprus) will collaborate to create one new piece, Serenade on the Canals.


A major new dance piece The Big Idea 17, co-commissioned by International Dance Festival Birmingham and Birmingham Weekender, will be produced by DanceXchange


Plus ballet fans can also see pop-up performances from Birmingham Royal Ballet who will perform an extract of the Nutcracker in the Bullring shopping centre, bringing shoppers to a standstill as they are swept away into a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and a Sugar Plum Fairy.


Graham Callister, Festival Director explains: “Birmingham Weekender will bring a festival feel to the city-centre. Not only are we working with Birmingham’s major arts organisations and independent companies but we will welcome artists from France, Spain, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. We look forward to seeing audiences young and old enjoying all that the Weekender offers.”


Piali Ray, Festival Director added: “The programme highlights how much visitors to this truly international city will be able to get involved with during the Weekender. From joining our parade with the extraordinary mechanical Indian elephant Harminder to dancing with us in Victoria Square, this is an open invitation to head to Birmingham.”


Further programme announcements will be made during the spring and summer. The full programme will be available to view online in July 2017.


Birmingham Weekender relies on an army of volunteers to welcome visitors and audiences to the city. If you’d like to register your interest, contact us at

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