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Top Summer Festivals in & around Birmingham

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published May 25th 2016
Your Guide To The Best In Music, Dance & Culture Festivals
Top Summer Festivals in & around Birmingham

Moseley folk festival, best summer festivals in Birmingham
Moseley Folk Festival brings the summer to a close.

Festival season is eclectic around Birmingham with a range of events to suit every taste.

With festivals celebrating everything from music to beer, dance, culture and sexuality, here's a round-up of the best on offer in the West Midlands during the summer.

International Dance Festival Birmingham - May
Birmingham Hippodrome, DanceXchange, outdoor venues like Centenary Square

You know summer is here with the opening of Birmingham's acclaimed dance festival at leading sites across the city centre from the beginning of May for nearly a month.

Idfb, International Dance Festival Birmingham. Best festivals in Birmingham
International Dance Festival Birmingham includes free outdoor performances at city centre sites like in front of Library of Birmingham

Now one of the largest dance festivals in Europe, International Dance Festival Birmingham showcases the best in contemporary dance along with classical ballet. But this festival also gives space for rising talent from around the world and offers a few dance world premieres. The great thing for families is the centrepiece of free outdoor performances in city centre prime spots like Centenary or Victoria Square.

Artists in recent years have ranged from the world's most famous male ballet dancer, Carlos Acosta, to the modern breathtaking work of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Ballet BC (British Columbia) under Emily Molnar.

Birmingham Hippodrome helps fund the festival and hosts many of the shows.

Birmingham Pride - May
Birmingham Gay Village around Hurst Street, Birmingham city centre over late May Bank Holiday weekend

Birmingham's famous gay, lesbian and bi-sexual festival is overflowing with pop special guests to add to the carnival atmosphere in the streets.

It's one of the biggest festivals of its kind in England and attracts major names - Erasure's Andy Bell, the Vengaboys and X Factor's Fleur East among many other singers for the 2016 event from May 28-29.

Fleur East, pride, Birmingham, andy bell, Lisa stansfield, vengaboys
Fleur East performs at Pride Birmingham Fesitval in May.

Pride Birmingham sees the roads in the Southside part of the city centre, near Birmingham Hippodrome and Hurst Street, closed off so the party antics and high spirits can get under way.

It takes place during the late May Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend so people can find time to travel to Birmingham.

Pride Birmingham, vengaboys boys, gay festival.
Make way for the Vengaboys at Pride

This friendly, feel-good festival has a charming atmosphere with families taking part in the daytime festivities too.

Lunar Festival - June
Umberslade Estate, Tanworth-in-Arden

Chill out at this beauty spot in Tanworth-in-Arden while sipping local beer brews and watching everything from cabaret to bands in or around the first weekend of June.

In 2016, headliners for the Lunar Festival were Super Furry Animals, Mercury Rev and Badly Drawn Boy, which gives you an idea of the musical flavour.

lunar festival, warwickshire, festivals around Birmingham in the summer
The Lunar Festival has been likened to a mini Glastonbury

There's guest DJs too, like Red Dwarf actor Craig Charles with his Zuba Zube session.

Likened to a mini Glastonbury, there's a hippyish feel to Lunar with processions, yoga (even laughter yoga), crochet classes and thai chi sessions around the site.

Extremely family-friendly, there's family fun with Umberslade Children's Farm, hoopla hopping, yoga and pottery sessions for all ages.

Download Festival - June
Donington Park, Leicestershire

Billed as the UK's premier rock festival, Download Festival takes place at Donington Park, north of Birmingham in early June (in 2016, it was June 10-12).

This multi-award winning festival has found a spiritual home in the Midlands where so many pioneers of rock have emerged.

This is in the major league, festival-wise, attracting A list acts. In 2016, it's Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden as headliners. In previous years, there have been Aerosmith, Linkin Park and Muse among the headliners.

To add more fun to the event, there's an annual fancy dress theme on the Friday (promoted on its Twitter account). In 2016, it's superheroes and comic book characters. There's also an inflatable church and a Download Village, sometimes with a Circus Of Horrors.

Bromsgrove Beer & Cider Festival - June
Bromsgrove Rugby Club, Finstall Road, Bromsgrove

Launched in 2002, this festival goes from strength to strength in popularity. It boasted 144 beers plus 50 ciders and perries to tempt the taste buds in 2016.

What started out as predominantly a CAMRA beer festival has been expanding year on year and now includes a large range of ciders too.

Bromsgrove Beer & Cider Festival, Bromsgrove Rugby Club, best summer festivals near birmingham
Bottoms up at Bromsgrove Beer & Cider Festival

Bromsgrove Beer & Cider Festival takes place over three days around the end of June. The first day is for CAMRA members with the following days open to the general public.

It is a family friendly event but children are not allowed in the main bar area of the marquee. If it's sunny, there is plenty of ground space at the Rugby Club for families to play and relax on the grass.

Godiva Festival - July
War Memorial Park, Coventry

Named after Coventry's famous nude horse-riding daughter Lady Godiva, this festival features an eclectic mix of music, comedy and family activities.

Along with a main stage, there's also a rock/rhythm tent and the paradise tent. The Godiva Festival is a gem of a local festival in the Midlands that is growing in fame.

It pulls in some popular acts, such as the Charlatans, The Boomtown Rats and Scouting For Girls for the latest event.

It takes place early in July and combines a cultural exhibition to run alongside the music activities.

Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival - July
Moseley Park

This soulful festival at Moseley Park in early to mid July pulls in names like Grandmaster Flash and De La Soul during its three days.

A sister festival to Lunar, it has the same ethos and relaxed atmosphere that keeps visitors coming back year after year.

The Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival is one of the best summer festivals around catering for soul and funk.

MADE Birmingham - July
Digbeth Triangle, Birmingham city centre.

This may be a lesser known festival but it's grown into a huge vibrant urban event that showcases live DJs and cutting edge dance and electronic music. Rudimental is among the headliners for 2016.

MADE Birmingham, best summer festivals around Birmingham, Digbeth, dance, DJs
MADE Birmingham is a vibrant urban festival

MADE Birmingham also is enriched with the best that Birmingham can offer in arts and street culture, offering a lively party atmosphere at the end of July.

It takes place around The Rainbow pub, Custard Factory venues and neighbouring bars near to the arches in Digbeth.

V Festival - August
Weston Park, Staffordshire

The most mainstream of the festivals near Birmingham. It takes place in late August and is about an hour north of the city in Staffordshire at Weston Park.

Featuring the biggest pop stars of the moment, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Bastille and Kaiser Chiefs are among some of the world famous stars playing V in 2016.

Along with the music, there's a comedy tent and village atmosphere for all the campers. Not as laid-back and alternative as other festivals but one where you can guarantee seeing some of the biggest pop names in music of the year.

Moseley Folk Festival - September
Moseley Park on September 2 - 4, 2016

Bringing a close to the summer is Moseley Folk Festival at the beginning of September.

Moseley folk festival, best summer festivals in Birmingham
Moseley Folk Festival brings the summer to a close.

Moseley Folk Festival is as distinguished as it gets on the festival scene and it offers not just traditional folk music but more experimental, acoustic and modern folk too.

It pulls in plenty of established artists and also likes to put the spotlight on unsigned talent in the lush green 11-acre surroundings of Moseley Park.

The Levellers, The Proclaimers and Billy Bragg were among the headliners in 2016, to give you a flavour of the type of acts it attracts.
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Why? Find out the best summer festivals in and around Birmingham
When: Summer - Every Year
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