Festivals across the West Midlands are currently unable to welcome back visitors with many major cultural events and outdoor festivals such as Birmingham Pride, Download Festival and Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell Jazz Festival in 2020 either cancelled or postponed, causing an unprecedented impact to culture across the region.
Whilst COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the sector, artists and organisers across the region have been busy finding innovative new ways of bringing the festival experience to you at home with live online performances and artist interviews, digital workshops and even beer deliveries!
Almost Jazz Funk & Soul 2020, 10th – 12th July
Unable to host the Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul festival in Birmingham’s Moseley Park this Summer, the team has created Almost Jazz Funk & Soul – an online festival that’s taking place this weekend. Expect live performances, DJ sets, artist interviews, 2021 announcements, interactive zooms, big giveaway competitions, craft beer delivery and street food for locals. The line–up is still to be announced but with previous headliners including Sister Sledge, Burt Bacharach and Chaka Khan you know it’s going to be a good one!
Sofasonic Festival, 17th – 19th July
The team behind Supersonic Festival, hailed the “UK’s best small festival” by The Guardian in 2019, are bringing you a weekend of online events on 17-19 July. The line-up includes a new Kids Gig (Live Stream) with one-man-band extravaganza ICHI, an immersive mediation and yoga from Do.omyoga (Kamellia Sara) and bingo hosted by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. These events are Pay As You Feel, with 25% of all proceeds being donated to The Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks.
Simmer Lock-down Festival, 18th – 19th July
Simmer Down Festival this year comes to your living rooms, as a free live stream via YouTube Live and Facebook Live on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July. Usually held in the beautiful surroundings of Handsworth Park, Simmer Down is a family music and arts festival, which celebrates Birmingham’s rich cultural diversity by paying tribute to the centrality of reggae and other musical genres that have contributed to Birmingham as an international city of culture.
This year’s line-up has artists, DJs and poets from across the globe as well as the best local talent, including sets from Make It Happen Dance Company, Freetown Collective and Rhythms Del Torro.
Erica Love, Director of Culture Central, said;
“As a sector, the arts has always found new and creative ways to bring its work to audiences, and COVID-19 has demonstrated this resilience through the many digital opportunities we’ve seen from our arts and culture organisations to bring their work online during lockdown. These festivals are a great example of this fantastic work and I am looking forward to walking through their virtual doors.”
You can find more details about these festivals and the other great activities taking place virtually across the West Midlands via makeitwm.com.