This year, our annual Summer in Southside Festival head back to the carefree days of childhood with a weekend of fun for all ages. The streets of Southside were transformed into a summer playground with a range of pop-up performances, craft workshops, retro games, face-painting, street food, family activities and more.

Storytelling was a huge theme at this year’s festival which was brought to life with the vibrant Fantabulosa! a drag queen act that brought together lip-sync and huge characters to tell stories in their sequin-spangled pop-up grotto. This continued with The Fabularium whose brand new production joined the cranky but noble knight Don Quixote and his long-suffering- fortune seeking side-kick Sancho Panza through roaming storytelling. Alongside this, inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, there was an expedition where the public could follow miniature sculptures of people throughout the streets of Southside with Dot Comedy’s Small Wonder Tour.

The craziness continued with OSADIA, the Catalan hair and make-up artist that created an amazing live exhibition with festival audiences as part of their unique hairdressing show. Willing volunteers, including our own Artistic Director and CEO Fiona Allan, took part in the daring and imaginative makeovers.

The daytime Block Party for kids and parents Fun DMC filled the Arcadian with tunes whilst holding dance competitions where kids and adults could win their very own gold chain. Then the party continued into the evening with live music from Gorillabot – a costume-clad trio who are taking the Birmingham music scene by storm with their unique funk-rock sound.

With everything from the Actual Reality Arcade which allowed kids and adults to literally become the players in retro video games, to a love story told through the music and dance inspired by the Indian community in Trinidad with Kuljit Bhamra’s Chutney in the Street. We had it all at Summer in Southside and it proved to be a weekend to remember. Particularly the People’s Tower, a huge cardboard Chinese Arch structure that really stole the show.

During the festival with the help of Olivier Grossetête, the people of Birmingham built The People’s Tower which we then saw come tumbling down in the last hour of the festival. Throughout the week we held workshops with communities and schools to help us build the bricks to transform into our spectacular Chinese Arch.

The team were hard at work building the tower alongside the public from Saturday morning and Brummies were amazed by the spectacle of the final tower. To celebrate the end of the festival, the Chinese Arch was pulled down to a countdown and it truly was a vision to watch everyone charge onto the collapsed boxes and help stamp the tower down.