Little moments of joy

Projection on cargo truck
09 Jun 2021

While audiences are most comfortable returning to outdoor events, organising a festival that can flex around ever-changing restrictions is still no mean feat. Penny Mills and Jonathan Goodacre have been looking at what’s working.

Reimagining the orchestra for the 21st century 

SMOOSH! perform at Knowle, West Bristol
12 Apr 2022

Charles Hazlewood is on a mission to disrupt the traditional model of orchestral music and bring the excitement into the streets.

Outdoor arts into the mainstream

02 Feb 2022

The main challenge for arts in outdoor spaces is that policymakers and funders tend to focus on art in buildings. But in a new report, Simon Chatterton says its time has finally come.

Knowsley becomes Liverpool's Borough of Culture

30 Nov 2021

Knowsley has become Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture.

Following on from Halton's year with the title, Knowsley will be the next in a rotation of the city's six regions to present a year-long cultural programme.

Planned events include a borough-wide sculpture trail, light installations, a six-metre-wide replica of the earth and the opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot next summer.

"I have no doubt that Knowsley will set a new benchmark for the next rotational round beginning in 2023... and I look forward to seeing what Halton will do again in 2026," Cultural Partnership Co-Chair Phil Redmond said.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, who introduced the initiative in the region in 2018, said Halton had "risen to the challenge of delivering Borough of Culture during some exceptionally difficult circumstances".

"Looking forward to 2022, I’ve been really excited by the enthusiasm and imagination shown by Knowsley in putting together their calendar of events."

A final programme for 2022 will be announced soon.

UNBOXED 2022 offers innovation - and employment

21 Oct 2021

Once derided as the Festival of Brexit, the eight-month mega event will "prove the naysayers wrong".

‘Re-veiling’ commemorates the truth of statues

A procession of people
06 Oct 2021

We often don’t notice statues of people, but they are part of our cultural history. Who are they? Why are they there? And where are the women? These are questions that fascinate Wanda Zyborska.

Dance is back – live and direct

group of dancers
06 Oct 2021

Birmingham International Dance Festival is a celebration of the return to outdoor arts. For Debbie Jardine and Raidene Carter, it is both a taste and a test for next year's Cultural Programme of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Arts centres to host conference on censored exhibition

05 Oct 2021

Two arts companies whose commission was censored by their council are hosting a public talk on the decision.

Gabriella Hirst's artwork An English Garden was deemed "a left wing attack" by local politicians for its interrogation of Britain's nuclear history. 

Arts company Metal said councillors' "fundamental misreading" threatened to distort the actual meaning of the work and agreed to remove it.

An online conference on October 23 presented by Metal and The Old Waterworks will "continue the discussions that were silenced through the censorship".

A workshop in September taught participants to graft the offending Atom Bomb roses, which are now on display outside Southend's Focal Point Gallery.

Reinsurance won't cover cancellations due to capacity limits

10 Sep 2021

Any reintroduction of social distancing won't be covered under the Government's £750m scheme, which comes with hefty premiums.

Festival visit sparks call for Irish capacity events

07 Sep 2021

Irish deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar has been criticised for attending a music festival in London whilst his government maintains restrictions on live events.

Ireland’s largest music festival Electric Picnic - cancelled this year due to capacity restrictions - was scheduled for the same weekend Varadkar was spotted at Mighty Hoopla.

The Event Industry Alliance (EIA) said it was “glad” to see Varadkar trust the UK’s safety measures and demanded a full reopening of Irish venues.

“It has been repeatedly stated and acknowledged by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister Micheál Martin) and the Tánaiste (Varadkar) that the commercial event sector requires 100% capacity to be viable,” the EIA added.

Ireland authorised indoor events to resume at 60% capacity and outdoor events at 75% on Monday (September 6). A return to full capacity events has been earmarked for October 22.

Locally-led arts sustained communities through lockdown

25 Aug 2021

Working around Covid-19 restrictions actually bolstered the vitality and value of local arts projects, research finds.

£750m live events insurance scheme approved

06 Aug 2021

The sector's prayers have finally been answered but the scheme comes with a significant premium that could prove challenging for smaller operators.

Councillors chastised for coercing company into censorship

20 Jul 2021

An artist, her commissioners and the council say the pressure to remove a nuclear-themed artwork was misguided. So why hasn't it been reinstalled?

Half of 2021 festivals have been cancelled

02 Jul 2021

The "unfortunate milestone" is the result of delays to reopening, silence over insurance and a dearth of new guidance that pilot events were meant to provide.

Bringing Manchester back to life

People sitting in tables outside in Manchester
09 Jun 2021

With the re-opening of outdoor festivals around the UK, John McGrath shares his thoughts on creating a responsible and safe festival that both responds to Covid limitations and offers a true artistic and community experience.

'Very good news': Huge optimism as partial venue reopening confirmed

Sadiq Khan at London's Pride Festival, 2016
12 May 2021

London launches a massive domestic tourism campaign as England progresses to the next stage of the reopening roadmap.

'Red alert': One quarter of festivals cancelled

07 May 2021

The first wave of festival cancellations is the canary in the coal mine as Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage says insurance is "still on the table".

Outdoor arts bring creativity to communities

Dancer pictured mid flight
04 May 2021

Hannah Hartley says the outdoor arts industry’s long-held resilience and versatility has given them the tools to overcome nearly anything, just when it’s needed the most. 

Confusion over ongoing ban on amateur performance

23 Apr 2021

Having promoted singing and brass instruments as safe last summer, the Government now believes they are more likely to spread Covid-19. So why can they happen at a pub but not a park?

'Market failure' in events insurance must be addressed, sector says

15 Apr 2021

If the Government is confident in getting events back by June 21, it shouldn't hesitate to extend insurance beyond its pilot programme. 


Subscribe to Outdoor arts