About

What Is ArtsFest?

ArtsFest takes place annually in Birmingham during the second weekend of September with ArtsFest 2012 taking place on 8th and 9th September.

ArtsFest is one of the biggest, most popular urban festivals within the UK. It is also the UK’s biggest FREE arts festival, which means there are no extortionate ticket prices for any of the 600 events that make up the festival each year, because there are no ticket prices at all! This means that you can see ballet to Bhangra, dub poetry to indie rock, without having to spend any money or queue for hours for tickets! What’s more, as an urban festival – it comes without the mud!

ArtsFest celebrates the West Midland region’s astounding wealth of creative talent and shows the West Midland’s region as the bustling cultural centre it is. It features performances, workshops, exhibitions, installations, talks and screenings, across the performing, visual and digital arts genres. It provides artists with the chance to showcase and celebrate their work and to raise their profile with the large numbers of visitors the festival attracts. Visitors get to sample everything from traditional to cutting edge arts and entertainment, all free of charge. ArtsFest is a festival for the young and old alike and we really do stick by our motto that there is something at ArtsFest for everybody to enjoy!

What Can I See At ArtsFest?

ArtsFest showcases work across the performing arts, visual arts and digital arts genres and we are dedicated to programming both emerging and established talent. When programming the festival we look for work that will appeal to and interest our visitors, that is representative of arts activity across the West Midlands, and that will enthuse and intrigue.

We look for work that suits the venues and stages available while also looking to present work in different and unusual locations (subject to practicalities). We also look for work that will bring new audiences to the arts of the West Midlands, that is new and innovative, and work that is participative and allows audiences to become involved.

ArtsFest is primarily a showcase festival for artists and organisations based in the West Midlands. However, artists from outside of the region or UK also promote work that they are touring to the region in the 12 months following the festival. Artists who grew up in the West Midlands, or who have a significant link to the region, also present work.

Within this sphere, ArtsFest showcases all levels of work and is open to everybody to take part, whether professional, semi-professional, student, amateur, community or voluntary organisation or individual.

The ArtsFest 2012 programme will be announced from July so please watch this space!

Festival History

Inspired by the UitMarkt festival in Amsterdam, ArtsFest was created in 1998 to ‘excite and intrigue audiences’ through showcases of the forthcoming autumn season and examples of the sheer magnitude of what was on offer by local artists year round. Since its beginnings in 1998 ArtsFest has been truly unique within the UK.

Over the years ArtsFest has grown in size and reputation and is now firmly established in the City’s events calendar during the second weekend in September. ArtsFest 2012 will be the 15th year that ArtsFest has taken place.

ArtsFest 2012

ArtsFest will be returning from 8-9 September 2012 bigger and better than ever before! The festival will once again present around 600 performing and visual artists showcases.

The 2012 festival site incorporates the premier outdoor City Centre spaces of Centenary, Chamberlain and Victoria Squares; New Street and Southside, and indoor venues around these areas. The site will also incorporate other venues around the City including Midland Arts Centre (mac) at Cannon Hill Park.

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