The 2022 Commonwealth Games are set to descend on the UK city of Birmingham in July and August, when international athletes will compete across 11 days of sport for a place on the podium.
However, the highly anticipated multi-sport action will be just part of the spectacle against a backdrop of a six-month cultural festival that will aim to keep visitors engaged until September.
More than 200 events have been planned, including immersive 3D experiences, an outdoor photography exhibition, and the celebration of Birmingham’s rich and diverse cultures through carnival, reggae, singing and dancing. In the final month of the festival, fabricated trees and plants will take over the city’s Victoria Square for a grand finale.
Inspired by sport
Several events will also be inspired by sports that will feature at the Games, including the street theatre show ‘Come Bowl with Me’, as well as ‘Outside the Box’, which will celebrate squash at the University of Birmingham’s courts with a guest appearance from James Willstrop, who won gold in the singles competition four years ago on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Other events will be inspired by women’s cricket, basketball, gymnastics, weightlifting, table tennis, swimming and athletics.
“The Birmingham 2022 Festival is one of the biggest cultural festivals ever associated with a Commonwealth Games and it’s absolutely central to Birmingham 2022 as a global event,” executive producer for the Birmingham 2022 Festival, Raidene Carter, told Fan XP.
“The festival is an incredible opportunity to showcase the amazingly vivid cultural world that is reflected in Birmingham and the West Midlands. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is more than 11 days of world-class sport – the surrounding festival which runs from March to September will offer everyone the chance to enjoy a wide range of events right across the city.”
Off the line
The Birmingham 2022 Festival has already begun, with thousands of people attending the opening show, Wondrous Stories by Motionhouse, which was a massive display of song, dance, acrobatics and more.
“The show brought together the creativity and talent of so many performers from across Birmingham and the West Midlands, and it heralded the start of an incredibly exciting summer ahead,” Carter said. “The atmosphere definitely demonstrated that people are excited for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
There will be nine festival sites across Birmingham during the Games, including two major festival locations in the city centre alongside the beach volleyball, 3×3 basketball and 3×3 wheelchair basketball events.
A further seven sites will be located throughout Birmingham neighbourhoods, including a Relaxed Festival site – a first for the Games – where visitors can go to be calm and feel supported.
Carter added: “The festival sites are the city’s own front room to the Games – places where sports and culture go hand in hand. Spectators will be able to enjoy the big screen action, innovative live and digital performances, food and drink, as well as unique chances to participate in sports in a fun and welcoming ‘Brummie’ atmosphere.
“Festival sites are the perfect opportunity for everyone to be part of the Games, even if you don’t have a ticket.”
Giving members of the public the chance to immersive themselves in the spirit of the Games through a series of in-person cultural events will simply strengthen the legacy of the event, according to Carter.
“Previous Commonwealth Games and major sporting events have already shown us that when sport and culture come together, they achieve more than the sum of their parts,” she added.
“From unforgettable ceremonies that reflect our time and place, to street-side carnivals that drive athletes on to victory, to celebrating the landmark cultural venues that make tourists out of spectators, the power of art and creativity in the context of sporting moments is unquestionable and unbeatable.
“The Birmingham 2022 Festival is a festival that’s made in the West Midlands for the Commonwealth, and everyone is invited.”
Did you know? CSM Live have been appointed as the Official Provider of Look, Wayfinding and Signage for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Find out more here.
This exclusive insight is part of “Fan XP” – a newsletter designed to keep you abreast of the latest innovations, strategies and more regarding fan experience across the globe. To sign up, please click here.