Stars take to the stage for Birmingham’s festival season

Thursday 9, June 2011


Stars take to the stage for Birmingham’s festival season


City to welcome Sir Anthony Hopkins, Black Sabbath’s Toni Iommi and jazz legend Booker T as part of star studded event line up.


As the UK enters festival season a star studded line up of musical greats are preparing to descend on Birmingham for a summer long celebration of music, culture and art in the Midlands. Oscar winning screen actor turned music composer Sir Anthony Hopkins, Black Sabbath’s Toni Iommi and jazz legend Booker T are just some of the big names in the business paying a visit to Birmingham this summer. With over 10 music festivals and events taking place throughout the summer, everything from Folk to Heavy Metal, Jazz, Blues and Classical is on the programme this year.


The sounds of Hollywood

This summer, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is bringing Hollywood to the Midlands, with a unique Film Music Festival from 19 – 23 July. The only one of its kind in the UK, there will be four show-stopping performances over the festival, including 21st Century Soundtracks, featuring music from some of the most successful blockbusters of the last 10 years and an evening dedicated to John Williams's film scores - from Star Wars to Jurassic Park. Stealing the show is screen legend Sir Anthony Hopkins, lesser known as an accomplished composer, who will be making a special appearance in Birmingham for a performance of live music and conversation.


Commenting on this unique collaboration with the CBSO Sir Anthony Hopkins said, “I am immensely happy to be working with the CBSO to bring my compositions to the UK for the first time. There are themes and passages in these pieces that have been several decades in the making, and to bring them all vividly to life with one of the great symphony orchestras of the world is absolutely thrilling.”


A head banging good time 

Between 18 June – 25 September Home of Metal pays homage to 40 years of Heavy Metal and its unique birthplace in Birmingham and the Black Country with a series of events and exhibitions across the region. Forefather of heavy metal, Black Sabbath guitarist Toni Iommi, will be in Birmingham to launch the festival at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, featuring a number of his personal items and stage costumes, on 18 June.


Rob Halford of Judas Priest, a Midland-born innovator of the genre, said:

"Judas Priest have always been proud to fly the flag for British Heavy Metal on our tours around the world. We make a point of letting everyone know that we are from the Black Country and so for us to be included in the prestigious Home of Metal event is another solid way of showing the strong connection we share with Birmingham and local fellow metal musicians throughout the region.”


All that Jazz

On 1 – 3 July the Mostly Jazz Festival returns to Birmingham’s beautiful Moseley Park for a weekend of contemporary jazz, funk and soul. This year is set to surpass the success of 2010’s inaugural event with headline acts including The Cinematic Orchestra, topping the bill with their only UK summer performance, the Matthew Herbert Big Band and Grammy Award winning, groove jazz legend Booker T who will be bringing the curtain down on 2011’s festival with a typically energetic performance. Extending the festival with the addition of a third day, there will be even more on offer, encompassing everything from the jazz influenced to avant-garde modern jazz to jazz-fusion.


Birmingham continues the celebration of the city’s musical heritage throughout the summer with world music event Celebrating Sanctuary Festival (1 – 30 June), BASS festival (throughout June), celebrating Black music and arts and the world famous Birmingham International Jazz Festival (1 – 10 July), now in its 27th year. Other festivals on the line up include Birmingham favourite Moseley Folk Festival (2 – 4 September), Brazilian music celebration Espirito Brum (16 – 18 September), Harmonic festival (29 September – 2 October), featuring Birmingham born jazz musician Soweto Kinch, and the experimental Supersonic festival (21 – 23 October).


Emma Gray, Marketing Services Director for, the city’s leisure tourism campaign, said:

“Birmingham’s music scene is thriving with more independent music festivals and events taking place than ever before as visitors seek out smaller, more authentic music experiences. With over 900,000 people visiting the West Midlands for music each year, contributing £138 million to the local economy annually, Birmingham is a growing force on the international music scene, helping it to attract big music stars such as Anthony Hopkins and Toni Iommi to its unique range of independent festival and events.”



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