5th Jul, 2022

Coventry's biggest carnival parade, aerial acrobatics and more this weekend as UK City of Culture comes to a close

Tristan Harris 11th May, 2022 Updated: 13th May, 2022

MORE than 1,000 Coventry people will bring sound, colour, action and celebration to the streets of the city centre as part of the culmination of UK City of Culture 2021.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust is putting on a spectacular weekend of events this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 13 to 15.

The event will feature ‘This is the City’, Coventry’s longest ever carnival-style parade which will celebrate the local communities and wonderful array of artists that have helped Coventry move over the past 12 months.

This free event at 1pm on Saturday will be full of dancing, drumming, music, singing with colourful costumes, flags and much more, celebrating the real mash-up of wonderful creative events that have marked the year.

Each section of the parade is based on the 12 themes that led the UK City of Culture year – Welcome, Sanctuary, Harmony, Freedom, Peace, Utopia, Coventry in the World, City of Light, Being Human, Hope, Amazing Women and Green Futures.

Picture by FiveSix Photography. s

This Is the City Parade will start and end at the Cox Street Car Park and will travel 2.8km around the city centre, passing Coventry Transport Museum, Belgrade Theatre, the former IKEA Building, Bullyard, The Wave, Assembly Festival Garden, Coventry City Council House, the Herbert Art Gallery and the Elephant.

The full procession is expected to last around two hours before it reaches its conclusion back at Cox Street Car Park.

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “It’s been an extraordinary year for the city, full of many wonderful memories, and This is the City is the perfect chance to reflect on some of the amazing highlights.

“The parade will be a vibrant celebration of the diversity of cultures and creativity here in the city and across the region.

“At about 350 metres in length, This is the City will include everything from all night ravers, upcycling fashionistas, faith leaders, ska steppers and community choirs, creating a feast of sound and colour to celebrate the city and its people.”

She added so many people had played a part in the memorable year and everyone would have lots of favourite moments – this was the moment to relive the excitement.

The UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, The Reel Store, will open at the Telegraph Hotel later on Friday evening and repeating on Saturday.

At 6.30pm on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, Broadgate will host the world premiere of The Awakening by French company Gratte Ciel.

Picture by Aengus McMahon. s

Acrobatics, aerialists and plenty of colour will all feature in the 40-minute spectacular.

Viewers will be treated to incredible aerial stunts hanging from a giant dream catcher while highly skilled acrobatics, musicians and dancers perform with artists on sway poles guaranteed to wow the crowd.

Tickets for the event, presented by Coventry City of Culture Trust, are priced at £5 and available at coventry2021.co.uk/ but are selling fast.

Coventry City of Culture Trust producer Josie Bamford urged people to get their tickets to what would be a truly memorable spectacle.

Originating from Arles in France, Gratte Ciel has presented shows around the world – from Montreal to Stockholm, and Buenos Aires to Adelaide.

On Sunday Our Wilder Family, a spectacular artist-led drone show inspired by the movements of flocks of birds, will take to the skies above the city at War Memorial Park.

Wildlife Gathering takes centre stage on the third weekend (next Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and 22), with Coventry’s myriad of parks and green spaces being celebrated with activities.

The festivities conclude with Radio 1’s Big Weekend coming to Coventry’s War Memorial Park from Friday, 27 to Sunday, 29 May with Harry Styles recently announced as one of the headliners.

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