For 3 weeks in May, Brighton is host to the biggest mixed arts festival in England. Brighton Festival, now in its 48th year, is an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events taking place all over the city.
There are many things going on and it might be hard to choose, there are lots of free events so you don’t even have to spend any money!
There is so much going on it is hard to narrow down what to see but here are mine and Alice’s top picks for the festival!
Amy’s Top Picks
- Children’s Parade (Saturday 3rd May from 10.30am Kensington Street to Madeira Drive, Free)
Each year the festival begins with the children’s parade, probably the largest of its kind in Europe involves 83 schools from the area and 5000 students! The parade focuses on the difference aspects of the festival (film, theatre, dance etc.). This year music will play a major roll! Best part? It won’t cost you a penny to experience the wonderful atmosphere of the parade.
- Pitch Perfect (Saturday 3rd May 1pm – 4pm Various Locations, Free)
Around the Royal Pavillion you can experience young and emerging talent in a showcase. Featuring music for every taste, you will be able to find folk music in the Brighton Dome café bar, rock on New Road, choirs in Brighton Museum and classical music in the Pavilions famous music room (there is a charge for the Pavilion but the rest is free).
Invisible Flock, Bring the Happy (Saturday 10th May - Monday 19th May, 11am – 7pm Onca Gallery, Free)
For ten days Invisible Flock are creating a map of “happiness in Brighton”. They are aiming to create a portrait of people’s lives using their happiest memories of the city. They are making a giant 3D map within the gallery on which you can plot your own happy memories.
- Frantic (Saturday 10th May, 1.15pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm – Brighton Seafront (East of Paranaque Court), Free)
Head to the seafront to watch this fusion of dance, circus and visual design which tells the story of our quest for calm.
Walking Stories (Saturday 17th May, 11am, 2pm, 4pm – Stanmer Park , £10 (limited numbers so get there early!)
You don’t go to watch this event you take part! In the beautiful Stanmer Park a walk in the park becomes an interactive audio journey! Equipped with an mp3 player and headphones you will embark on a journey. Featuring original music and text you will be guided through the story. Duration is 60 minutes.
- Globe Theatre on Tour – Much Ado About Nothing (Thursday 22nd May, Friday 23rd May, 6pm and Saturday 24 May, Sunday 25 May, 1pm & 6pm, St Nicolas Rest Garden, £15)
Come and experience the world famous Globe Theatre cast perform one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays Much Ado About Nothing. A little of the pricier side at £15 a ticket, this is an fantastic opportunity to experience Shakespeare in the beautiful, tranquil setting of St Nicholas Rest Garden.
- Brighton Rock (Sunday 25th May, 2pm – Duke’s at Komedia, £10-13.50)
This is one of Brighton’s most famous films, perhaps THE most famous! Based on Graham Green’s famous tale of gang culture in Brighton’s underworld in the 1930’s. Richard Attenborough plays Pinkie, a psychopathic young gangster who marries a waitress to stop her testifying against him as a murderer.
Alice’s Top Picks:
- The Great Escape (8-10th May - £55 for the whole weekend)
This is a mini music festival for one weekend in May. You buy a wristband for the whole weekend and then can enter 35 different music venues around Brighton to see over 400 new bands. Brighton is famous for its music scene and this is a great opportunity to see some of the amazing talent on show. Visit the website http://greatescapefestival.com/ for more information!
An Evening of English Nonsense (23rd May £7 St Luke’s Church, Queens Park)
This music concert celebrates everything strange about English Folk music and dance. From music in a market stall to music from the village green, this concert will take you on a journey through the most bizarre musical sounds in Britain. You will also see things like Morris dancing!
- A Dash Through Dickens (30-31st May, 1st June - 12.30pm - £7)
Charles Dickens is one of the most famous British writers of all time. He wrote about the lives of poorer people in the Victorian times, 150 years ago! This is a family friendly theatre performance that will show you what it really felt like to live in Victorian Britain at the time of this famous writer.
- The Moscow State Circus (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th 13th, 14th 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th - from £7 – Preston Park)
Only once a year this traditional circus from Moscow visits Brighton. Come and be amazed by juggling acts, acrobats and clowns! The Circus tent will be put up in one of the biggest parks near the centre of Brighton.
- Brighton’s Victorian Sewer tours (most days in May - £7)
Guided tour of Brighton’s magnificent Victorian sewers! This tour is only available during Brighton festival so this is your only chance to go and see where all of our lovely toilet waste goes!