Five things not to miss in Festival Gardens this month
- Credit: Norfolk & Norwich Festival
With only a few days until the Norfolk & Norwich Festival opens its doors for its 250th anniversary celebrations, the arrival of the festival also means that Chapelfield Gardens will soon be transformed into the hottest ticket in town.
Every May, this gorgeous area of greenery in the heart of Norwich becomes Festival Gardens for 17 days - a hub of activity to enjoy some of the world’s finest performances. From May 13-29 pop-up shows, live music, outdoor dining and the legendary Festival Bar will bring Festival Gardens to life, rendering it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the evening sun.
We’ve rounded up the top five things you can expect in the Festival Gardens this year, so get yourself down and enjoy the party.
THE BAND STAND
Launching Festival Gardens is The Band Stand: five evenings of outdoor music that celebrate the best new musicians around. The recently announced line-up champions local artists, including the likes of singer-songwriter Molly Willis, rapper-producer and producer-vocalist Avenhue x Latekid, soul-rock band MAMA OH NO, Ben Auld and producer Malana.
Curated in collaboration with BBC Music Introducing, each night boasts the stars of tomorrow. Catch them first from Friday, May 13 to Tuesday, May 17 at daily performance slots of 7pm and 9.30pm.
THE ADNAMS SPIEGELTENT
- 1 Sweet Briar Road to reopen TODAY
- 2 Rumours Sweet Briar Road will close again QUASHED by council
- 3 Norwich pub to host street party with Caribbean BBQ, DJs and stalls
- 4 'Barcelona-style' redevelopment of Next store mooted
- 5 Chaos at major airports sees demand for Norwich flights increase 400pc
- 6 Hunt to track vandals who broke into jet after cutting wire fence
- 7 Norwich pub selling out on Sundays with new head chef's roast dinners
- 8 M&S to close 32 stores as part of move away from town centres
- 9 London man, 25, charged in connection with Class A drug dealing in Norwich
- 10 Wakey wakey! Church bells pose dilemma to swanky flats plan
Returning to the Norfolk & Norwich Festival for the first time since 2019, the iconic Adnams Spiegeltent will take pride of place in the Festival Gardens from May 18-29.
Hosting an eclectic variety of family-friendly shows, music, circus, cabaret, late nights and comedy, the decadent 300-seat venue is sure to be a firm favourite throughout the month.
Kicking off the programme on May 18, the renowned Canadian circus troupe Cirque Alfonse will perform Barbu, a jaw-dropping experience where music, video, circus and general mayhem collide to explore the origins of the Montreal circus as you’ve never seen before.
Filling the gardens with a dazzling array of the UK’s finest outdoor entertainment, Garden Party will take over the Festival Gardens on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22.
Proudly boasting eight new shows (all for free!) visitors will be able to enjoy the idyllic bar and delicious food offerings alongside world-class performances.
From the electrifying hip-hop dance theatre of Scrum to the family-friendly, treasure-seeking interactive mission of Community Chest, there is something for everyone to enjoy. And if it starts to rain, Flood will see audiences stand under their own personalised sound umbrella in an epic feat of acrobatics.
Growing in the Festival Gardens from Saturday, May 14 to Sunday, May 15, Unfurl is a garden like no other. Nature, art and technology have combined to create something spectacular. The plants know you have come to visit, and they reach out to connect with you.
Creative robotic studio Air Giants has applied cutting-edge robotics to large-scale inflatables to develop a dreamscape of interactive gentle giant robots that tower up to 5 metres high. Unfurl is a garden of light, colour and sound, where the plants have ever-changing personalities just waiting to be discovered.
Explore this beautiful intersection of art and technology in a 21st century horticultural experience.
CITY OF LITERATURE
In case the Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s 250th anniversary wasn’t enough of an occasion - this year also marks the 10th anniversary of Norwich becoming a UNESCO City of Literature, where the power of words have changed lives for hundreds of years.
From Friday, May 27 to Sunday, May 29, the festival will host the City of Literature Weekend. Why not join an Antarctic expedition in Deception Island, where an immersive storytelling experience awaits you in Festival Gardens in an exact replica of an Antarctic hut?
In the Adnams Spiegeltent, globally-renowned writer Kit De Waal will deliver the Harriet Martineau Lecture on Saturday, May 28, not to mention thought-provoking talks by acclaimed authors Mieko Kawakami (All the Lovers in the Night) and Richard Mainwaring (Everybody Hertz) as they discuss their latest work.
For the full programme of Norfolk & Norwich Festival events and to book tickets, visit nnfestival.org.uk