Film: BFI London Film Festival Guide


How to Spend Summer in Birmingham

Image © The Custard Factory via Facebook

Where to have fun in the sun in the home of the Peaky Blinders

From moonlit movies to crazy cocktails, jazz, funk and soul festivals to abseiling, when it comes to where to have fun in the sun in Brum, we’ve got you covered.

Image credit: Summer Screens via Facebook
Watch movies by moonlight at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

When temperatures soar, there’s nothing better than taking indoor pursuits outside. With this in mind, why not book yourself a ticket to see one of your favourite films at Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ outdoor cinema. Run by outdoor cinema company Summer Screens, from August there are plenty of films to enjoy amidst the fragrant surrounding of one of Birmingham’s top attractions, from recent releases such as Bohemian Rhapsodyand A Star is Born, to modern classics such as Pulp Fiction and Grease. So, grab your significant other and head down to Birmingham Botanical Gardens to get yourself some Summer Lovin’ – because kissing in the backrow is still allowed even when the cinema has moved outside. 

Image credit: Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival via Facebook
Get your groove on at Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival

If you haven’t had enough of messing around in parks after your visit the Botanical Gardens, why not head to Moseley Park (another one of the city’s stunning outdoor spaces) to listen to some funky beats at Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival. Celebrating its ten year anniversary this year, the festival promises to be the most exciting yet with a plethora of internationally acclaimed artists (such as Burt Bacharach who wrote classic hits such as I Say a Little Prayer and Walk On By, and even the legendary group The Jacksons!) and new breakthrough acts. With music genres including Northern Soul, West African funk and disco, and even Acid Jazz, it’s the perfect place to get groovy and strut your stuff, and to taste a wide range of different cuisines from food stalls such as their onsite Persian kitchen, Caribbean barbeque and Indian street food station. After all, you’ll have earnt it after all that dancing! 

Image credit: Birmingham Cocktail Weekend via Facebook
Shake it up at Birmingham Cocktail Weekend

There are plenty of ways to cool down from the heat, from swimming to hanging out in your favourite air-conditioned café. But our favourite is most definitely cocktails! And what better place to try a few tantalising tipples than at Birmingham Cocktail Weekend? Taking place from 11-14 July, the festival have selected their favourite venues around the city which will all be serving up signature £4 cocktails to customers who display their Birmingham Cocktail Weekend wristband. From the Radisson Bluin the city centre to waterside venues along Birmingham’s extensive canal network, there's a veritable trail to follow to suit every cocktail lover’s taste. Not to mention the special events that are organised as part of the weekend which last year included rum and chocolate masterclasses, Chambord afternoon teas and live music outside Harvey Nicholls. Stay tuned to find out what they’ve got in store for this year! 

Image credit: The Custard Factory via Facebook
Brave new heights at the Custard Factory

By the time you reach forty you might think you’d start slowing down a bit, but that’s not the case for The Custard Factory. To celebrate their 40th Anniversary on 14 September, the Birmingham based alternative culture venue (which is located, as the name suggests in the old site of the Bird’s Custard Factory) is inviting you to abseil down its famous Green Man sculpture (which is the equivalent of 7 double decker buses high) and enjoy the breath-taking Birmingham skyline in the process! Dress up in fancy dress, or your favourite ’70s gear (harking back to the decade in which the Custard Factory came into being) as you go over the edge, and then reward your efforts afterwards with tasty treat from one of the Custard Factory’s many food outlets. After all, you’ll deserve it, as your efforts will all have been in aid of raising money for Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice campaign. 

Image credit: Highly Sprung via Birmingham Hippodrome
Blast off to another planet at Birmingham Hippodrome’s Summer in Southside festival

If you’re looking for something for all the family, then the Birmingham Hippodrome have got you covered with their free summer in Southside festival. This year, the festival is going intergalactic, and aims to transform Birmingham’s Southside into a lunar landscape in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. As such, there will be a plethora of performances, from contemporary circus company Motionhouse’s Gravity, which explores the idea of weightlessness through the company’s signature acrobatic style, to Urban Astronaut, which will see a space-suit clad performer navigate his way through the city whilst attached to a large robot that propels him through the air. Needless to say, by the end of the weekend you probably won’t feel like you’re in Birmingham anymore…