95,000 attend 4 Squares Weekender

Huge crowds flock to city centre events.

An estimated audience of 95,000 attended 4 Squares Weekender, the weekend of free live arts in celebration of the new Library of Birmingham and the re-opening of The REP.

Presented by Birmingham Arts Partnership – the informal partnership of the leading arts and cultural organisations in the city – 4 Squares Weekender saw a host of events take place across Birmingham’s city centre squares.

Residents of Birmingham, together with visitors to the city, mixed in Victoria, Chamberlain, Centenary and Oozells Squares to enjoy stunning events. Early indicators suggest that 66% – two thirds – of audiences made a special trip into the city for 4 Squares Weekender and to see the Library of Birmingham, with an estimated spend of £900,000 over the three days. Local businesses have reported a significant rise in takings over the weekend – up to 300% in some instances. Some 72 local volunteers helped to staff the event, welcoming and providing information for visitors.

Christopher Barron, Chief Executive of Birmingham Royal Ballet, said: “The new Library of Birmingham has been described as the People’s Palace, and we certainly witnessed thousands of people flock to the building and surrounding squares to enjoy an eclectic mix of the best outdoor arts from Birmingham and around the world. 4 Squares Weekender proved, as if it were needed, the appetite of Birmingham audiences for high quality, spectacular and accessible cultural experiences.

Highlights included As The World Tipped, a late night spectacular show in Victoria Square involving a vast 12m screen and fearless aerial performance, presented by Birmingham Hippodrome and Wired Aerial and appearances by the CBSO and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Nofit State Circus gave a display of contemporary circus stunts while there was live music from Musical Youth and Tippa Irie on The Drum’s Simmer Down Stage and a transformation of Centenary Square into a Musical Picnic. The REP itself presented a Secret Drama involving police and fire crews in a staged fight on the roof of the refurbished theatre and Oozells Square became a ‘clayground’ as Ikon Gallery encouraged visitors to build a giant city from clay.

As Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Visit Birmingham, put it: “The international spotlight is shining on the city like never before. 4 Squares Weekender welcomed the arrival of the city’s newest cultural space in spectacular fashion.”