Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: free events near you, festivals, family fun and more

The Commonwealth Games are the biggest event ever hosted in Birmingham. Alongside the 11 days of sport from July 28 to August 8 there is a Birmingham 2022 festival which includes free events for all the family in Castle Vale, Selly Oak, Sparkhill, Edgbaston, Yardley, Handsworth and Ward End - as well as big screens in Victoria Square, Smithfield and the King Kong Pop Up Park!

Free family fun events are being held in seven Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festival sites across the city to celebrate Birmingham 2022.

The Neighbourhood Festival sites are based in Castle Vale, Selly Oak, Sparkhill, Edgbaston, Yardley, Handsworth and Ward End - full details of the events and exact locations are below.

In addition, a host of free events combining sport, culture and entertainment are being staged in Birmingham city centre in Victoria Square and at Smithfield.

You can also cach free sporting action as the marathon, cycling road race, cycling time trial, triathlon and cycling mountain bike events make their way through the city (details below) - please be aware that road restrictions will be in place during these events. Details here.

If you live near one of the 15 venues, your neighbourhood is also likely to be affected by Commonwealth Games road closures.

Here’s what’s happening at the Neighbourhood Festival site:

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festival
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festival
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festival

Castle Vale - Farnborough Fields, Castle Vale, B35 7LQ

Opening Hours

Thursday 28 July: 3PM - 10.30PM

Friday 29 July: 11AM - 7PM

On 28 and 29 July Castle Vale will host the first ever Neighbourhood Festival Site and all residents are invited to be a part of the fun. With the spotlight on Birmingham, the Farnborough Fields community will come together for the ‘Big Warm Up’.  There will be a silent disco, screening of the Opening Ceremony and the field will come alive with a variety of sports, arts and cultural activities.

Highlights include:

NEONE The Wonderer - Born and raised in Wolverhampton, NEONE The Wonderer will perform a fusion rap, funk, soul and more. There will be tunes for all to move to, with lyrics that are thought provoking and inspirational.

O’Driscoll Collective - Dance performance with themes of duality of the mind and the importance of mental health awareness.

How to get there on public transport

Bus Routes: 67, 71, 28

Nearest rail service:Chester Road Rail Station then 28 bus towards Fox and Goose.

Sense Touchbase Pears Commonwealth Games Festival Site in Selly Oak
Sense Touchbase Pears Commonwealth Games Festival Site in Selly Oak
Sense Touchbase Pears Commonwealth Games Festival Site in Selly Oak

Selly Oak - Sense Touchbase Pears Festival Site

Opening Hours

Friday 29 12PM-8PMM

Saturday 30 July 11AM-7PM

On 29 and 30 July, the Relaxed Festival Site at Sense Touchbase Pears is promising tol be a joyous, welcoming Games experience for everyone, featuring an inclusive sports and arts programme which will allow everyone to be themselves - as well as offering an opportunity to learn and try new things.

Booking information coming soon.

Relaxed Programme Highlights include:

Creative Active Lives CIC - The Director of Creative Active Lives, Rachel Conlisk is dedicated to making physical and creative activity inclusive, accessible, creative and fun.

Billy Read - Forbidden Identity explores the personal struggle of a deaf child growing up in a hearing world; denied access to British Sign Language and the deaf community.

Creation Station -The Creation Station inspires imagination and nurtures potential through award-winning arts and crafts classes, clubs, parties, events and products for all ages across the UK.

Q Sermon - As a DJ and poet, Q Sermon is here to feed the soul through basslines and deep lines. Q Sermon will take you on an audio and visual journey, which translates their identity and personal experience existing within the diaspora. An opportunity to dance and reflect.

Sohan Kailey to perform at Sparkhill Commonwealth Games Festival Site
Sohan Kailey to perform at Sparkhill Commonwealth Games Festival Site
Sohan Kailey to perform at Sparkhill Commonwealth Games Festival Site

Sparkhill Festival Site - Sparkhill Park

Opening Hours

Saturday 30 July 12PM-8PM

Sunday 31 July 11AM-7PM

On 30 and 31 July, Sparkhill Park is set to become a centre of celebration for the community, inviting local people to enjoy and experience an array of dancing, local art and performances.

Sparkhill is home to people connected to many different countries, with a rich mix of languages and cultures. The Festival Site will explore what gives Sparkhill its spark! Local artists will deliver free performances and workshops for everyone to enjoy.

Sparkhill Programme Highlights:

B’Opera - Create high-quality, interactive, musical experiences for babies, toddlers and grown ups of all backgrounds.

Dhol Blasters - Created by King G Mall, one of the pioneers of Bhangra music industry, have made it their mission to promote Bhangra music and dance with a smile.

Oya Batucada - Birmingham’s original and best samba-reggae bloco. The lively community samba group will bring the vibrancy of Brazil carnival culture to Sparkhill.

Sonia Sabri Company - Mughal Miniatures is a series of linked pop-up, living pictures, evoking scenes of Indian princely courts and the glory of the Mughal period with a contemporary twist. Sonia Sabri Company (SSCo), a leading UK contemporary South Asian dance and music company.

How to get there on public transport

Bus Routes: 2, 5, 6, 41

Nearest rail service: Small Heath Rail Station then 20 min walk

Creative Active Lives to perform at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals
Creative Active Lives to perform at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals
Creative Active Lives to perform at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals

Edgbaston Reservoir Festival Site

Opening Hours

Monday 1 Aug 12PM-8PMM

Tuesday 2 Aug 11AM-7PM

On 1 and 2 August, the reservoir will be brought to life by reflective performances, celebrating the water and our relationship with it. The site will be jam-packed with activities for families, including free watersports taster sessions, performances from local voices, exhibitions by talented digital artists.

This will be included alongside the screening of major sporting moments from the Commonwealth Games. Soak up the atmosphere whilst listening to local artists performing everything from dancehall to neo-soul.

Edgbaston Reservoir Programme Highlights:

Sterran Dance Theatre - ‘All About the Fight-Going the Distance!’ is an innovation of Grime Dance Theatre honouring the skill, culture and spirit of boxing choreographed by Katy Sterran.

Sohan Kailey - Sohan Kailey is a Performing Artist, Bhangra Fusion Dancer, Actor, Children’s and Family Entertainer and Creative Artist. He provides Bhangra Pop Fusion Music and interactive Dance Entertainment.

How to get there on public transport

Bus Routes: 45 and 47

Nearest rail service: Five Ways Rail Station then 80 bus towards West Bromwich

Strictly Cycling The Bicycle Ballet to perform at the Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals
Strictly Cycling The Bicycle Ballet to perform at the Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals
Strictly Cycling The Bicycle Ballet to perform at the Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals

Yardley Festival Site - Oaklands Recreation Ground

Opening Hours

Wednesday 3 Aug 12PM-8PM

Thursday 4 Aug 11AM-7PM

On 3 and 4 August 3 Oaklands Recreation Ground will transform into a  celebration of play. Humans have an innate ability to play, whether that be elite sport or games with family and friends. This is an open invitation to the community of Yardley to explore and play together.

Get active with a range of classes and activities, rock climbing and skateboarding. See a different side of Oaklands as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, it is time to play.

Yardley Programme Highlights:

Project Number 5 - Since 2009, Project Number 5 have championed the movement against fast fashion in Coventry, whilst offering skateboarding lessons and promoting the sport as a way to develop self expression.

The Bicycle Ballet Co - Strictly Cycling takes over the park. Contemporary clowns create epic human/bike sculptures, looking for places to park, learn the rules of the road and battle in slow motion races. A silly celebration of cycling, life and yellowness.

Lekky - Formally known as Elektric, Lekky’s music fuses R&B, Indie and Hip Hop, sharing positive energy through a melodic rap songwriter style. Lekky’s diverse sound and the ability to merge genres together sets her apart.

Sophie Handy - Join creative duo Paul Green and Sophie Handy in a Recycled Art workshop. Tinker through their collection of bicycle odds and cogs and see what you can make.

How to get there on public transport

Bus Routes: X1, X2, 60, 17, 11C, 11A

Nearest rail service: Stechford Rail Station then 11C bus

Commonwealth Games Festival Neighbourhood sites free events
Commonwealth Games Festival Neighbourhood sites free events
Commonwealth Games Festival Neighbourhood sites free events

Handsworth Festival Site - Handsworth Park

Opening Hours

Friday 5 Aug 12PM-8PMM

Saturday 6 Aug 11AM-7PM

On August 5 and 6, the theme for the beautiful award-winning Handsworth Park will be ‘Balance’. You are invited to immerse yourself in the park’s unique, festival offering featuring creative sessions and wellbeing workshops. From live street art to captivating and inclusive workshops,  the Handsworth festival site will offer high-energy and chilled vibes to visitors who can’t wait to engage with the Games at their local festival.

Handsworth Programme Highlights:

Hearts Aglow Steelband - Bringing a vibrant energy to Handsworth Park, one that will get you rocking and dancing. Sensational steelpan music will be heard throughout Handsworth Park including Reggae pan classics and Caribbean favourites.

Black Heritage Walks Network CIC - Community Interest Company, Black Heritage Walks Network, and Birmingham based artist and designer Canaan Brown, will offer street art workshops.

Hatty Sutton - Create and make a block printed flag to use as part of the celebration. This workshop will show you how to print in fabric using basic materials and techniques thereby creating a flag as a memory of the celebration and leaving with new skills.

How to get there on public transport

Bus Routes: 74, 101, 16, 11A/C

Nearest metro service: Winson Green Metro stop then

101 bus towards Leveretts

Aayushi is performingham at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals
Aayushi is performingham at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals
Aayushi is performingham at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Neighbourhood Festivals

Ward End Festival Site - Ward End Park

Opening Hours

Sunday 7 Aug 12PM-8PM

Monday 8 Aug 10AM-6PM

On August 7 and 8, Ward End Park will celebrate everything it means to be a part of a proud Commonwealth Games host city. The Ward End festival site programme will champion multiculturalism and be full of colour and excitement, as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games come to a close. Honouring equality and youth within the neighbourhood, the site will celebrate champions of both community and sport.

Ward End Programme Highlights:

Impact Steelband - Will bring the love for steelpan music to Ward End this summer. With the motto of ‘Peace, Love and Pan’, the band will invite the community to join the party, bringing an incredible infectious energy to the site.

Aayushi - Will perform a blend of acoustic folk, poetry and soulful music at the Ward End festival site. The Walsall-based singer-songwriter takes influence from the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel, Rachel Sermanni and Corinne Bailey Rae; all of whom inspire her to craft songs that are gentle, honest and heartfelt.

How to get there on public transport

Bus Routes: 94, 95, 11A/11C

Nearest rail service: Adderley Park Rail Station then 20 min walk

What free events are available at Birmingham city centre Festival Parks?

Victoria Square

27 July - 8 August

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers say Victoria Square will be the beating heart of the City Centre Festival Sites, where you can join in with Sunrise Stretch Sessions, or bring the family in for a dance off with Perry.

Keeping one eye on the sporting action at Birmingham 2022, with medal moments on the screen alongside newly commissioned digital content, Victoria Square will be a great space to soak up the Games atmosphere. The stage in Victoria Square will be alive with the sounds of Birmingham so you can drop in to listen to artists and performers, whilst enjoying food and drink provided by some of Birmingham’s businesses.

Victoria Square will follow a daily schedule. Below is an overview, to provide you with a flavour of what you can look forward to. A more detailed day to day programme will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Provisional Daily Schedule

  • 09:00–10:15 (09:30 start on weekends) - Sunrise Stretch: an active, free to participate early morning programme for commuters and early risers, to start off the day with movement and fun 
  • 10:30-11:15 - Perry’s Playtime Disco: an opportunity for families to meet the Games mascot, Perry the Bull. Pose with Perry and show off your dance moves.
  • 11.15 -11.30 - Piing Play Session 1: A virtual game that brings people together. Play a high-speed game, using your phone as a controller, with the action played out on the big screen. There’s no app to download, so you can get involved straight away. Donations to charity can be made and  proceeds will be split equally between Comic Relief and registered charities United by Birmingham 2022 Legacy Charity and Commonwealth Sport Foundation.
  • 12:00 - 14:00 - Fountain Stage Lunchtime Slot: in collaboration with local curators, arts organisations and producers, the best up-and-coming talent in the city will perform on our iconic fountain stage.
  • 14:30 - 15:00 - Screen Spotlight (First Slot):  Birmingham 2022 Festival commissions and projects will get their moment in the spotlight. You’ll be able to see photography and video content created by local artists and organisations, and in some instances artists and/or participants will present their work and be interviewed on our stage. 
  • 15.00 -15.15 - Piing Play Session 2: See above for more details 
  • 16:30 - 16:45 - Screen Spotlight (Second Slot): Some of the Birmingham 2022 Festival commissions and projects get their moment in the spotlight on our big screen.
  • 16:45 -17:00 - Piing Play Session 3: - See above for more details 
  • 17:00 - 19:00 - Fountain Stage Sunset Slot: in collaboration with local curators, arts organisations and producers we will showcase the best up-and-coming talent in the city, who will have an opportunity to perform on our iconic fountain stage.
  • 19:00 - 21:00 - Fountain Stage Evening Slot with B:Music: B:Music is the music charity responsible for Birmingham Symphony Hall and Town Hall. They’ll bring their weekly free programmes outdoors, featuring jazz, South Asian music, Family Jam, and more. Keep an eye out for surprise performances by special guests as well. Generously funded by Colmore BID and Retail BID.

Special Events at Victoria Square

Victoria Square will also play host to several special events during the Games

Thursday 28 July - Opening Ceremony Watch Party

Haven’t got a ticket for the Opening Ceremony? Come down to Victoria Square and soak up the atmosphere instead. In advance of the ceremony starting on the big screen, join in fun games for all the family.

Saturday 6 August - Jamaica 60th Independence Day

Organisers are working with the Association of Jamaican Nationals to mark a day of celebration alongside a civic ceremonial moment to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Jamaican Independence.

Monday 8 August - Closing Ceremony Watch Party

This will be the last chance to come together and celebrate the athletes’ achievements in true Birmingham style, as we pass the baton to Australia.


29 July - 7 August

A Festival of Festivals

Each day will see a different regional festival or cultural organisation take centre stage, presenting the best DJs, live performances and dance moments. An iconic Beacon Stage - featuring a dazzling three-sided screen and stage structure - will host a mix of new digital commissions from across the region, a live feed of performances taking place across the site, and live highlights of the sporting action taking place from across the Games.

At 6pm each day, don’t miss the new digital visual spectacular - this will be a bold storytelling moment taking place on the big screen. Take time to explore a Spaghetti Junction inspired brand new inflatable art installation, watch live sports from across the games on our big screen, play table tennis against a robot, stumble on circus performances and watch a host of brand new films, music videos and digital commissions screening throughout the day.

Bringing nature to people in unexpected places, the National Trust has created a living green space within the heart of Smithfield. Featuring more than 70 young trees, colourful benches and hammocks, the installation provides somewhere visitors can connect with the natural world, relax and play in between the Games’ high-energy events.

On Saturday 30 July and Saturday 6 August, two special events will take place; ACE Dance and Music will bring carnival vibes to the heart of Brum in an explosion of colour, dance and movement in Illuminate, whilst the following week sees electric performances celebrating identity and individuality in Break Mission’s inclusive event, QueerSide. Expect drag performers, waacking demonstrations, House troupes, beatboxers and more.

Along with a selection of have-a-go sporting activities, the site will play host to a wide food and drink offer, games and activities from sponsors and chance to watch elite basketball players warm up on the Practice Court before competitions begin.

Friday 29 July - Simmerdown 

Simmerdown is a music and arts festival, which celebrates Birmingham’s rich cultural diversity by paying tribute to the centrality of reggae and other musical genres that have contributed to Birmingham as an international city of culture.

The festival’s inter-cultural programme features internationally acclaimed artists alongside the very best in homegrown talent. Their takeover programme will see a mix of live music, dance, spoken word, plus participation activities.

Saturday 30 July, 7PM - 9PM - ACE Dance and Music: Illuminate

An extravaganza par excellence as Carnival comes to Smithfield. A mass of colour, light, movement and music ignites the festival site, as 25 new costumes will be illuminated in a two hour spectacle show.

Hype men, DJs and large cast dance moments will bring the energy, Illuminate will be a party for all of Birmingham to come and move their feet! Carnival is an entire mind, body and spirit experience - and ACE will bring the party in one unforgettable celebration.

Sunday 31 July - Sandwell & Birmingham Mela

Sandwell & Birmingham Mela will bring the best South Asian talent to Smithfield; their programme of music and dance will get everybody moving, including their all-women line up of live DJs.

Mela celebrates the fusion of South Asian and contemporary styles, resulting in the creation of a vibrant and upbeat soundtrack for the day guaranteed to get people dancing.

Come and dance with Ultimate Bhangra, take part and learn some moves in their Bhangra workshop. See beautiful rangoli created in our stretch tent, dance along to our DJs and Dhol Frequency Brass Band, and we have a headline set from Birmingham’s rising star Muki.

Monday 1 August - Swingamajig

Swingamajig is a party like no other - taking the sounds and styles from the roaring 1920′s, and fusing them with a modern twist. With an eclectic blend of vintage-inspired music, dance, and cabaret, get ready to party like it’s 1929.

Taking over the Beacon Stage at Smithfield, you will be treated to live performances from DJs, vintage inspired dance moments and award-winning circus, cabaret and walkabout acts. Get those hips moving too with our mass hula-hooping, and dance and stomp along to Birmingham’s own Heavy Beat Brass Band - an eight piece marching band remixing funk, pop and hot jazz.

They will perform along with an incredible DJ line up, including The [email protected] In The [email protected] and Mr FX - big bass-driven beats and vintage sounds with freestyle MCing and live brass; Phat Sam, a Swingamajig favourite, will be playing a fusion of jazzy house and foot stomping electro beats; and legend of the electro-swing world and fiery party starter, Tallulah Goodtimes.

Tuesday 2 August - BBC Asian Network

Celebrating British Asian life, culture and music, BBC Asian Network will take over our Beacon Stage with a bang! Presenting a specially curated line-up of the best Midlands DJs, artists and special guest sets, join us for an unforgettable night.

Wednesday 3 August - Selextorhood 

Selextorhood is a Birmingham based community that supports, nurtures and empowers women and gender minority* DJs and inspires change in the music industries. Thriving for the past three years, Selextorhood run DJ workshops and co-created events. Selextorhood’s takeover day will look to celebrate the community, and continue SLX Education’s mission to remove barriers into DJing.

Taking over Smithfield for the day, their programme starts with a bang as Selextorhood DJs welcome crowds. Whilst Drum n Bounce classes will take place on stage, drop into DJ workshops to learn new skills, find your musical voice and build confidence. The DJ programme will build throughout the day, and as the sun begins to set, the party begins!

*non binary, trans women, gender fluid, non-conforming

Thursday 4 August – MADE

MADE Festival is one of the Midlands’ most loved annual music and arts festivals. Starting in inner-city Birmingham in 2014, over the past 8 years it has celebrated the best of the region’s contemporary music and street arts performers, whilst inviting some of the world’s best known artists to headline.

For Birmingham 2022 Festival - MADE invites a strong line up of the region’s best musicians, DJs, street and visual artists for a day of high quality entertainment. The programme will see collabs with British and Irish Modern Music (BIMM) Institute and Girl Grind highlighting the exciting and burgeoning music scene in the region. Wolves Records, an  independent label, will be presenting a line up of  black country top talent.

Friday 5 August, 1.30PM - 10PM - Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul

Curators of legendary line-ups, Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul will take over Smithfield with a special one-off line up of top talent designed to get you moving and grooving.

Big Fish Little Fish’s Family Rave from 11-1pm will be an inclusive dance party for families complete with giant balloons, stilt walkers, sfx and more! Since 2013, Big Fish Little Fish have brought family raving to festival sites. They are five-time winners of the ‘Best Family Event’ at the Fantastic For Families awards and appear regularly at Glastonbury, Camp Bestival, The V&A, The National Gallery, Pride and nightclubs, arts centres and festivals all over the UK and Australia.

Uplifting and upbeat dance workshops will take place throughout the afternoon - for fans of old school Soul, Funk and Disco classics, So Funk® Dance Fitness is for you.

As day turns to dusk, DJ Yoda takes to the decks with his headline History of Hip Hop set - an incredible mix to get you up and dancing paired with killer footage he has created for our Beacon Stage screens.

Saturday 6 August - Break Mission and Eric Scutaro

Break Mission and Eric Scutaro (House Of Scutaro) present Queerside a celebration of identity and individuality from the Queer Community, Through an inclusive line up of acts from the Ballroom and Hip-Hop community’s they will offer an iconic and proudly visible platform for queer performance, and will be a momentous live experience with intersectional artists.

QueerSide will take over the entire day with a continuous line up of the hottest performers will bring the energy throughout the day.

Programme highlights include; Kimmy Beatbox, a phenomenal talent no stranger to Birmingham’s stages; drag performances from Barbs and Beau Jangles; electric dance performances from the Welsh Ballroom Society; headline sets from Brum legend Sanity and renowned Parisian DJ Lazy Flow; dance workshops; a brand new digital photography commission celebrating queer representation and visibility, and more!

Sunday 7 August - Closing Dance Party

Special closing celebration party - more info coming soon!

King Kong Park is opening in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games
King Kong Park is opening in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games
King Kong Park is opening in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games

King Kong Pop Up Park in the Jewellery Quarter

The park will host live music, sport events and street food and drink suppliers in the run up to and during the Games.

Commonwealth Games events will be livestreamed on a big screen, with seating and refreshments available from local suppliers with evening food and drinks also available. The park will also have a running track - ideal for organised sports and fitness classes for visitors to enjoy. More details here

Commonwealth Games Marathon route for July 30 event
Commonwealth Games Marathon route for July 30 event
Commonwealth Games Marathon route for July 30 event

Where can I watch free sporting action at the Commonwealth Games?

The Ticketing programme is complemented by 5 free road events.

The 5 events which have sections that offer free viewing are:

Marathon - Saturday July 30 - from Smithfield to Bournville.

Cycling Road Race - Sunday August 7 - at Myton Fields Warwick

Cycling Time Trial - Thursday August 4 - at West Park Wolverhampton

Cycling Mountain Bike - Wednesday August 3 - Cannock Chase

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