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Build-up begins to City Festival

Published on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Jubilee Square big screen crowds outdoor cinema

THE countdown is underway for the return of Leicester’s City Festival.

The event, which begins on Friday, runs from August 17 to 27, and its opening weekend promises to transform the city centre with a stunning programme of arts, music and dance, as well as sports, activities, heritage events and scores of attractions for all ages.

City Festival is centred around Gallowtree Gate, Humberstone Gate West and the Clock Tower, bringing the festival atmosphere to the heart of the city centre.

Festivities will get underway this Friday (August 17), with a chance for visitors to enjoy a Bollywood blockbuster movie under the stars at the Outdoor Cinema in Jubilee Square, from 7.30pm to 11pm.

The film – Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani – tells the romantic tale of two friends who meet when they graduate from college, and again in their late twenties. The event will also showcase South Asian street food and drinks, and also a virtual reality demonstration of Sikh museum relics, from 5pm to 7.30pm, produced by the Sikh Museum Initiative.

The Cosmopolitan Carnival will continue the celebrations to Jubilee Square, High Street, the Clock Tower and Humberstone Gate, with a packed programme of arts, music and dancing, including some of Leicester’s finest musicians. It takes place on Saturday, August 18, from 2pm to 9.30pm.

Music will also take centre stage during the weekend at the King City Blues Festival, which brings together the city’s biggest live blues acts, including The Della Grants and Rollo Markee, at the Musician pub in Clyde Street. A packed programme will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Leicester Belgrave Mela will bring the opening weekend to a close by bringing South Asian art, dance, music, food and the UK’s biggest shopping bazaar to the city centre.

Focused around Humberstone Gate, Gallowtree Gate, Clock Tower, High Street and the Market Place, the Leicester Belgrave Mela will showcase the best in South Asian arts and Indian culture, with mouthwatering food and drink, dazzling arts and stunning live performances.

The vibes of Indian music will also be felt over at Belgrave Hall and Gardens on Sunday, August 19, for the Ragas in the Garden event, bringing classical Indian music to the beautiful surroundings of the hall and gardens. It runs from 3-5pm.

Over the 11 days, City Festival will encompass events including outdoor entertainment and live music, street performances, talks and tours, arts activities and exhibitions, as well as a programme of heritage-themed events, sports, theatre and film.

New events making their debut this year include workshops in all styles of dance at Dancing in the Street, and Art in the City scheme giving local artists and photographers a chance to display and sell their original work.

Leicester deputy city mayor for culture and leisure, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “The brochure for this year’s City Festival shows just how many different events and activities people can look forward to this year.

“It’s a fantastic chance to see the city at its very best, celebrating all the things that make Leicester such a diverse, vibrant and exciting city.”

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby added: “Now in its sixth year, the City Festival continues to grow and develop, bringing new and exciting activities and entertainment to the city centre.

“There’s a packed programme this year, combining established favourites with new innovative ideas. With this year also marking the centenary of the end of the First World War, the Old Town Festival, which brings the events to a close, will reflect this element of the city’s history.

“I look forward to City Festival getting underway and for people from all over the city to visit and experience what is on offer at this wonderful event.”

Brochures are available from the Visit Leicester centre in Gallowtree Gate, we all as libraries and customer service centres.

Full details are available at