Brighton Festival has something for everyone

Carleen Anderson. Picture by Hassan Hajjaj
Carleen Anderson. Picture by Hassan Hajjaj

The largest annual multi-arts festival in Britain is back!

Brighton Festival is set to fill almost an entire month (May 5-27) with a variety of exciting acts and events from music, to dance, literature, debate, poetry and more.

In the past, the festival has attracted inspiring guest directors. This year is no different as the role goes to Turner prize winner David Shrigley, a Brighton resident renowned for his distinctive satirical compositions.

His creative vision is being emulated throughout the festival this year, along with Problem in Brighton, an alt-rock/pop pantomime commissioned, written and directed by David himself (May 10-12, The Old Market).

David said: “Those who have visited Brighton Festival before will know that having such an incredible array of events occur in our city every year is a great privilege. I’m very excited about this year’s line-up. Not only for the things that I have selected but also for the things I have only read about; one of the best things about the festival for me is that it can be a voyage of discovery.”

Kicking off the festival’s ambitious programme is the Children’s Parade, a free event produced by Same Sky where young people and teachers will be parading the streets in costumes. They will get to showcase their artwork in front of thousands. The event starts at 10.30am on Saturday, May 5 (procession from Kensington Street to Madeira Drive).

Brighton Festival commissions a wide range of diverse national and international artists in contemporary music, with a mix of genres from rap to classical. Les Amazones d’Afrique, for example, is West Africa’s first all-female supergroup and features some of the greatest Malian musicians of the moment: Mamani Keïta, Rokia Koné, Mariam Doumbia (Thursday, May 24, Brighton Dome Concert Hall).

Another act is A Change is Gonna Come (Tuesday, May 22, Brighton Dome Concert Hall). This group features vocalist Carleen Anderson, virtuoso pianist Nikki Yeoh, and Mercury Music Prize-winning rapper Speech Debelle performing unique interpretations of iconic songs from the Civil Rights movement.

Gender queer rock ’n’ roll artist Ezra Furman performs at the Dome concert hall on Saturday, May 26.

If you are looking for something ‘outdoorsy’, Weekend Without Walls (May 26-27, Easthill Park and Beach Level by the i360) includes a unique spectacle of outdoor performances including dance, theatre, circus and acrobatics, puppetry, installations, walk-about processions, digital technology and family friendly shows that range from the intimate to the larger-than-life.

Brighton Festival has a lot for families and young children too. For example, Toby Thompson (Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27, Brighthelm Centre) is a slam poet champion, writer and performer who uses rhyme and live music to reimagine Herman Hesse’s classic fairytale Faldum.

Visit brightonfestival.org to see the full programme.

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