Town Hall Festival

The newly refurbished Town Hall will be opening in October but details of the Re-opening Festival have been released which might give an indication of what sort of events the NEC Group plan to put on there.

Headline events include Brum Rocks Extra for The Children’s Hospital – a fundraising concert for the Children’s Hospital Red Balloon Appeal, telling the story of the golden era of rock’n’roll in Birmingham with an all-star line-up including Robert Plant, Bev Bevan, John Lodge, and Tony Iommi. A unique collaboration between band of the moment, the Guillemots, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, includes the world premiere of a new work by Guillemots frontman, Birmingham-born Fyfe Dangerfield. Multi-award-winning jazz saxophonist and hip-hop artist Soweto Kinch premieres The Midnight Hop, a specially-commissioned work inspired by the forgotten stories of 18th and 19th-century black musicians in England. He also leads a summer school for young musicians working on the themes and issues of the piece.

The Re-opening Concert sees an outstanding line-up of local and national musicians performing Quincy Jones’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, a pioneering gospel/soul re-imagination of Handel’s Messiah (which was a mainstay of the famous Birmingham Triennial Festivals, held at the Town Hall from 1834 to 1912). Dusting down the great work will be Ruby Turner, Cleveland Watkiss, Soweto Kinch, Black Voices, BBC Big Band, the Reggae Philharmonic, and the cream of local gospel talent.

And there’s a hell of a lot more. (I’m particularly intrigued by the collaboration between the Guillemots and the CBSO…)

The festival runs from 4th – 21st October and tickets go on sale in June.

Hat tip to