Every May, Norwich hosts the largest arts and culture event in the East of England. Norfolk & Norwich Festival works all year round to bring local and national gems to the city for two weeks. This year the festival runs 9-25 May with events and performances throughout the city.
It’s the busiest fortnight in the Norwich calendar. So if you’re in the area on business or after some bank holiday or half-term fun, there’s plenty going on in the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
So many sounds
Music plays a major role in the NN Festival. The mellow streets of Norwich take a break from the peace and quiet to stage a variety of music. This year Norwich welcomes Riot Jazz Brass Band – an ensemble of aggro jazz, hip-hop samples and funky beats. MC Chunky fonts the punchy jazz posse that stormed the festival scene last summer.
For a taste of the exotic, treat your ears to the psychedelic storm of Family Atlantica. This transatlantic gang blends a diverse mix of sounds and infectious grooves. Producer Jack Yglesia leads the pack, with intoxicating vocals from Venezuela’s Luzmira Zerpa – all backed by the African beats of Kwame Crentsil.
That’s just a teaser of the sounds on offer. For more on these guys and the rest of the line-up, check out the NN Festival website.
Art for your eyes
The Norfolk & Norwich Festival is big on visual art too. Innovation is the common theme, starting with The Last Travelogue Of Albert Sitzfleisch in the Upper Cathedral Close. Follow Albert – a fictional traveller – through a sculptural trail of billboards, illustrating his journey across Europe. It’s a bold rework of photography, hand sketches and diary excerpts to reflect travel and recent history in Europe.
Tim Davies brings another touch of inspiration to The Gallery at Norwich University Of The Arts. His latest film echoes the historic and cultural relevance of Norwich’s architecture. And you can see his earlier works, including his rhythmic journey through cityscapes and Venetian canals.
For a sneak peak of what else is on the visual arts bill, take a look at the NN Festival website.
Plenty for the kids
The NN Festival is one of 14 Bridge Organisations under Arts Council England. The scheme aims to develop arts and culture opportunities for local kids and young people so there’s plenty to keep the younger ones entertained. The Norwich Playhouse gets involved with a production of Not Now, Bernard. Ellen McDougall directs the adaptation of a kid’s favourite tale, bringing the iconic picturebook to life.
There’s an entire weekend of family entertainment going on at Chapelfield Gardens and Outside The Forum. All events are free at the two locations and you’ll find a range of activities and performances to keep all ages entertained during the Festival’s middle weekend.
For more info on stuff for the kids, visit the NN Festival website.
Make Your Own Festival
You don’t have to follow schedule. Norwich comes alive during the festival and the city makes a great place to wander about, grab a bite to eat or chill out with a drink. You’ll find live bands and events at the best pubs in the area and a great selection of local beer and ales.
If the weather turns up, grab yourself an outdoor seat at the Gibraltar Gardens. Soak up some sun by the river and take in the sounds of live bands and local banter. Visitors look for self-catering accommodation will find fully serviced apartments with home from home comforts.