Culture Central, the leadership body for Birmingham’s cultural sector, are the producers of Birmingham Weekender, a free three-day festival that takes over city-centre in September.
Weekender celebrates all that Birmingham has to offer and, as the new year rings in, we are looking for new partners to work with us in 2017.
Birmingham Weekender’s last edition, in 2015, was a great success. We attracted in excess of 150,000 people, presented over 200 events or performances and generated press coverage worth £1m. Audiences watched French acrobats perform in the skies above Centenary Square, danced together on a car park roof thanks to one of the UK’s leading choreographers and watched Birmingham Royal Ballet perform in the Bullring.
The city’s numerous community arts groups showcased their talent on the Culture Catwalk, and with the best in regional street food in our main squares to enjoy, the weekend became a brilliant showcase of Birmingham.
We know from our festival surveys and evaluation that people really value this kind of free activity and they want more of it to happen: arts improves wellbeing and makes Birmingham a great place to live and visit.
There are of course challenges in producing such a vast event. It is important that we remain a free festival – this allows people who may not ordinarily experience arts and culture to get involved.
We gratefully receive support from Birmingham City Council, Arts Council England and Birmingham City University. But with no ticket income, and a shrinking public purse, our business model relies on private support.
Many private businesses realise the benefits of working with us, including the Retail BID (one of our main champions), Mailbox, Bullring & Bullring Markets and Grand Central.
Our focus in 2017 is to find new ways to work with the business community to help ensure sustainability and quality in what we do.
In 2015, Birmingham’s major arts organisations attracted audiences of over 4.4 million. Arts and culture is an essential part of our local economy: last year’s Cultural Investment Enquiry acknowledged the important role that culture and creativity play in attracting and retaining businesses and staff in the city.
Arts organisations are very lean, well-run institutions. The challenge now is for the arts to engage more effectively with the business sector, to mutually support each other.
With regard to Weekender, we’d love to talk to you if you’d like to be aligned with us and be part of the visible expression of creativity in Birmingham.
Your business may benefit from brand-association, or you may see the intrinsic value of giving to the arts: to support vibrant events happen in a city you love. We have a range of opportunities, including headline sponsorship, on offer.
Let’s be creative: perhaps your restaurant wants to profile a special Weekender menu? Perhaps your team could be part of our impressive army of volunteers? If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch.
Get a taste of Birmingham Weekender here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUrATU1Inhk
Read about the Cultural Investment Enquiry here: http://birminghamculture.org/files/BCIEFinal.pdf