38,000 people attended Lunar New Year celebrations in Southside on Sunday 11 February, the best ever attended day in Southside for Lunar New Year celebrations. The free festival was produced by Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee, Birmingham Chinatown Business Association and Birmingham Hippodrome offering a weekend packed with performances, craft activities alongside traditional and contemporary arts to celebrate the new year.
The festival brought a buzz to Southside, starting with the much-loved dragon and lion procession in Hippodrome Square. Speeches were given by Birmingham’s Lord Mayor Councillor Chaman Lal and Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Creative Director of Birmingham Hippodrome Chris Sudworth, Chair of the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee James Wong and Chair of Birmingham Chinatown Business Association Kin Bong Lam. Following this, the stage was packed with a mixed programme including traditional music, sword dancing, face changers and KPOP dance.
Visitors to the festival were also invited into the foyer areas of the Hippodrome to take part in dragon puppet making classes, fan dance workshops and traditional calligraphy sessions. An art exhibition was on display in the atrium, next to performances from British East & South East Asian creatives MOVE Midlands in the Patrick Studio.
Food stalls, craft markets and funfair rides provided outdoor opportunities and fun for families throughout the day, with a spectacular fireworks finale closing the celebrations.
James Wong, Chair of the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee said: “Kung Hei Fat Choy! We are delighted our festival brought so many people together as well as shining a light on the incredible talent within our local communities.”
Mr Lam, Chair of Chinatown Business Association expressed satisfaction with the success celebration of the Year of the Dragon and said: “We are delighted to have co-hosted a memorable festival this year. It was truly gratifying to see individuals from across the city appreciating the a diverse array of offerings provided.”
Chris Sudworth, Creative Director at Birmingham Hippodrome, said: “We are thrilled to call Southside and Chinatown our home and always look forward to embracing the Lunar New Year with the local community. The packed programme provided a fantastic free day out for families and local people.”
Julia Robinson Manager of Southside Business District said: “Our Chinatown family made Birmingham proud this year, the incredible numbers speak to the popularity of what has become a tradition to so many, thank you to all the Brummies who came to welcome the Year of the Dragon!”
Lunar New Year 2024 was produced by Birmingham Hippodrome with Principal Partners Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee and Birmingham Chinatown Business Association and Uber Eats returned as sponsors of the Festival Stage. The family zone was sponsored by Birmingham Chinese School.
This year’s festival was supported by Bentley Birmingham, Southside District, The Arcadian and Berkeley St Joseph. We are also grateful for the donations, partnership or in-kind support received from Rainbow Casino, The Southside Building, Bullring & Grand Central and Hollywood Monster.