Artsfest Top Ten

Artsfest Top Ten

On the Artsfest front page is their listing of the top ten attractions over the weekend of 14th -16th September. Bearing in mind this is just the big tent events and doesn’t include all the smaller but just as interesting things, but it gives something of a taste of what the festival is trying to achieve this year.

Full details at the link but here’s the summary with links where I could find them:

  1. Classical Fantasia
    CBSO and BRB in Centenary Square with fireworks
  2. Blast
    Taking place on the concrete wasteland behind Curzon St Station (the old Parcelforce Depot) this looks to be pretty incredible. “Fire and water combine, creating an explosive mixture of steam, sound, fire and pyrotechnic marvels. Come and experience the awe-inspiring Large Hot Pipe Organ, the unforgettable Orchestrated Steam Whistles, and the Fire Horns, the Percussion Engine, Pyrotechnic Whistles, Flying Rockets, Pyrophones and Balls of Fire. Immerse yourselves in sounds, sights, smells and raw energy.”
  3. Paintings on the Railings
    An art market on the railings around Centenary Square and Broad Street.
  4. Town Hall Tours
    What it says really. Tours around the Town Hall.
  5. The Luminarium – Architects of Air installation
    Located on Eastside Green outside Curzon St Station. Previously blogged here.
  6. Beachside Comedy Stage
    Comedy on the “beach” outside the Library.
  7. Indie Invasion
    Looks to be the big Friday evening event this year. A bunch of bands playing in Centenary Square including Murdoch, Misty’s Big Adventure and Mexicolas. “Headline acts to be confirmed.”
  8. Discovery Day Treasure Trail
    For the kids, a trail around 14 venues that takes you behind the scenes of galleries, theatres and the like.
  9. Peter Pan’s Neverland
    Last year this was the Secret Garden. Same park on Cambridge St off Centenary Square. For the kiddies and those with wild imaginations.
  10. Ticket Booth
    Um, is this an attraction? While everything at Artsfest is free you can buy cheaper-than-usual tickets for events that take place afterwards.

I’m thinking Blast is the big thing this year, assuming it can live up to expectations, along with the Luminarium. And of course the CBSO and BRB are always good value. Be interesting to see how much more is going on on the fringes though.


  1. As you’re talking about ArtsFest, I thought I’d highlight the ArtsFest Ticket Booth.

    All the events at Artsfest are free and the Ticket Booth has discounted tickets for future events by many of the artists who’re performing over the weekend.

    There will be sme real bargains available this year, including discount tickets for Gigbeth, CBSO, Symphony Hall, Town Hall, the Rep and loads of smaller organisations.

    The Ticket Booth is open Friday night until Sunday 6pm (limited tickets available Friday night). It’s always incredibly busy so get there early for the best discounts.

  2. Indie Invasion: “Headline Acts To Be Confirmed”

    Anyone running a book? I can guess the two who would be odds-on favourites…

  3. Busy Lizzy

    Well it should be Editors or The Twang, but it won’t be I can guarantee ;) It’s interesting that Gigbeth have have to wheel in Kerrang Radio to get headline acts for the Barfly. Seems like it’s another case of “arts administrators” playing concert promoters and failing miserably. For goodness sake, get a music professional with some clout to book high profile bands for these events, and you might have something that could challenge The Full Ponty!

    SpiderSimpson or Midas not playing Indie Invasion? Seems a little strange, as they’re the only two unsigned bands in Brum ever to grace the full playlist of Kerrang Radio (although SpiderSimpson are signed now…)

  4. Well, if it’s not Editors or The Twang then my money would be on Guillemots. They seem to be fairly civic-ly linked, given their involvement in a few different bits of the town hall re-opening.

    OH GOD NO I’m suddenly having horrific thoughts of Ocean Colour Scene.

  5. Don’t go there. OCS were playing at the launch of Feel The Heat last night and it was painful. I’d not previously had much of an opinion about them but I do now and it’s not pretty.

  6. Mark

    Does anyone know if full listings are available for the artsfest anywhere. I’ve heard that Gauge will be on but even the band don’t seem to know the venue yet.

  7. BirminghamDeservesBetter

    There’s a brochure – perhaps there’d be some at the central library?

    I’m on the mailing list and have got one … oh no, two … nay, THREE through the post … so far!

  8. I got my copy of the brochure in the post yesterday, and although this is beginning to feel like a bit of a pile-on by now I have to say: it’s pathetic.

    Apart from the ugly thermal motif discussed at length elsewhere, it contains no explanations of what the various performances actually are. All I have before me is a list of names and times and no idea what they might be.

    Making a booklet that people are going to want to carry around with them all day A4 sized is the work of an uncommonly cretinous cretin, too.

  9. luther blissett

    It’s the size that Birmingham Post pull-outs always are isn’t it? So that would be a commercial ‘partnership’ decision of some “uncommonly cretinous cretin, too.”

  10. I have no idea. I don’t read the Birmingham Post.

    Irrespective of what it may or may not be partnered with, I still can’t the little (big) bleeder in my pocket. This is not a positive feature of a guide that one will be carrying around all day.

  11. Joe

    I think it’s pretty cr*p that with less than a week to go there’s nothing on the council website and the artsfest website still does not have the full lineup confirmed. Some people like to make plans in advance so it would be good to know who is playing on Friday night. I read somewhere that OCS will be headlining but wondered if anyone good will be on beforehand. I was tempted by a flyer for the Beat at the Hare and Hounds on Friday but their website was equally unhelpful.

  12. loz

    Hows about pushing the folk scene Birmingham has a bit more, Vijay, Ben Drummond,Scott Matthews,Matt Geary ect ect.

  13. Billy

    Matt Geary, Ben Drummond and Vijay produce some of the best music to come out of Birmingham in a long while. Terrific song writers and musicians yet its still the bands that get the write ups. Lets give the solo performers more credit.
    Its got to be harder going it alone than with a band.

  14. John Perry

    I agree i SAW BEN dRUMMOND PLAY AT THE jAMHOUSE LAST MONTH AND HE WAS BRILLIANT,why is it that there is such an obvious amount of talent here and know body knows how to get these musicans exposed!

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