What you can find at Night of Festivals
Sometimes Night of Festivals includes a large scale carnival procession where roads are closed and audiences line the streets to join in with singing, dancing and to interact with giant carnival puppets and costumed sections!
The procession is made of floats, musicians on rickshaws, hundreds of community participants suited and booted by Mandinga Arts and other carnival partners, bands from a range of cultures and of course, YOU!
Night of Festivals has also introduced “carnival interventions” to the programme. This concept has enabled us to provide inspirational carnival throughout each festival day, all day and every day! The carnival interventions involve costumed sections of the carnival busting out onto the street and animating the festival site in-between performances on the stage or in the Dome. Interventions involve giant puppets, community performers and mischievous costumed carnival characters!
The Storytelling Yurt hosts traditional stories and new tales from cultures across the world to share with audiences both young and old. Many first timers say that they thought stories were just for children, then return, again…. and again.
All our stories are told inside the cosy Mongolian Yurt, on cushions, benches and bean bags!
Meet the quirky ArtReach Nanoplex!
This old touring caravan has been given a new lease of life as a small, surround sound moving image gallery. With seating for 12 people the Nanoplex is a key part of Night of Festivals, screening shorts from artists and moving image makers who respond to the Festivals theme of celebrating freedom and democracy.
If you'd like to present a short piece at Night of Festivals, or hire the ArtReach Nanoplex, then drop us an email to
Bespoke Installations & Visual Art
Over the years ArtReach has commissioned a variety of artists to create special Night of Festival installations that respond to its theme of celebrating freedom and democracy.
Many of these involve local people in the making or designing, and find poignant ways to help them to express their ideas of Freedom.
Inspired by the use of cloth in protests for freedom and democracy in the Middle- East, Alinah Azadeh worked with participants in Night of Festivals Touring locations to explore what FREEDOM means to them, and how this can be depicted through words, images or symbols.
The 1,500 multi-coloured flags subsequently created were installed in the Performance Dome, and grew and grew as the Festival moved on and met with more audiences and participants.
NIGHT OF ST JOHN
Laura Belém’s interactive art installation Night of St John was a site-specific commission for Night of Festivals 2010.
It led the audience to the Festival Hub, beneath a shimmering sea of 745 flags, accompanied by an audio montage of festival sounds. The work, evocative of the traditional Brazilian festival of the same name, explored how the perception of a public space can be altered by a visual and sound intervention. A visual signifier for the Festival, it revealed the importance of festivities and celebrations for different cultures and societies.
Ali Pretty & Kinetika
ArtReach commissioned international artist Ali Pretty (Artistic Director, Kinetika), to work with local artists to design, develop and create a 40m piece of silk that reflected Leicester and its communities. Participants explored the city and designed a Freedom Tapestry that included images of the Ghandi Statue, Curve theatre, the Caribbean Carnival and even some Tigers & Foxes.
The 40m piece of silk was then displayed at Curve as part of its 2014 Diwali Celebrations.
The group Atis Rezistans is based in the makeshift car repair/graveyard of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Two members of the group, Andre Eugène and Celeur Jean Herard, were commissioned as part of Night of Festivals 2012 and delivered a residency in Nottingham which led to the creation of a new sculptural installation.
The result was Queen Erzulie!
She has looked over every Night of Festivals since.
Housed in the City Arts Performance Dome, Night of Festivals presents an exceptional line-up of culturally diverse and inspiring performers, some of whom create work especially to share with Festival audiences. The programme usually includes world music, dance, children’s theatre, comedy, spoken word, drama, workshops and installations.
For more information on participating artists see the artists section of the website.
Rachael Young, The Way I Wear My Hair
Stephen Jon, The Maid of Mariposa
Night of Festivals hosts a programme of live music from artists across the world, some of the musicians directly referencing the Festival’s themes; for example NGOMA, an African Storytelling band who had to flee Zimbabwe as a result of the political music they made – and others like Romani Voice, whose Roma folk music nods towards the ongoing displacement of its peoples.
Each Festival the live music programme presents a new series of exciting and challenging artists who can complement the Night of Festivals theme.