What’s coming to Freedom Festival this summer?

Hull’s famous international arts festival has announced the full programme line-up of their summer festival via their website. Audiences are encouraged to explore the page to learn about the artists and shows appearing on the streets, theatres, galleries and many places in between across Hull City Centre between Wednesday 30 August and Sunday 3 September.

The varied line-up this year is a mix of genres and styles, with something for everyone, from music to contemporary circus to a range of exhibitions and interactive installations. The festival has many jaw-dropping shows, with most being out in public spaces and free to attend. Thrill-seekers will enjoy shows such as Unity, EXIT, Encore Un Fois, We Agree to Disagree, and Primus – all of these are made up of some of the best acrobatic, dance, and contemporary circus performers touring the world today. Audiences will be left astounded and wanting more.

Parents with children may enjoy comedy and theatre-style shows such as Funny Business, HIPPOS, and Fast Food Megaverse. In the print guides being distributed from Tuesday 1 August across the city, the team have put together recommendations, based on taste and interest, of where to start planning your weekend.

Mikey Martins, CEO and Artistic Director at Freedom Festival, said: “We’ve put together a varied programme this year and we have focused the festival into five days, culminating in a big finale weekend with many of the performances to see within one key area. Alongside the brilliant weekend many visitors have come to expect, we have also programmed some incredible indoor shows, exhibitions and installations, many of which will be open for the full five days of the festival and more. We love seeing the city come alive every year for the festival programme and for our audiences to meet these exceptional artists from all over the world, and we welcome everyone to explore our website in anticipation of what is to come.”

And for those regulars of the festival who look forward to the one-off large spectacle event, this year UNITY by Gorilla Circus will be taking place in Albion Street Car Park – not just once, but on both the Friday and Saturday evenings, allowing people to see more of the evening programmes.

The festival’s key sites are concentrated around Queen Victoria Square over to Trinity Market with a central hub around Zebedee’s Yard and Princes Dock Street. There will also be a few additional events taking place on stage at the dock around the Fruit Market Area and shows at Hull Truck Theatre.

The team is also excited to announce what they are calling the ‘heart of the festival’, which is centred around Zebedee’s Yard and all along Princes Dock Street, where activity will start from the Friday and carry through to the Sunday. Audiences can find two stages in Zebedee’s Yard itself, alongside refreshments and picnic areas. There will be a music stage supported by local music label Warren Records featuring some of the best up-and-coming music talent in the city, and a large performance pitch, both of which will alternate between music and performance throughout Saturday and Sunday. Stalls and performance pitches will line up along Princes Dock Street, with parades, street bands and walkabouts creating a family-friendly local yet international street party as only Freedom Festival can.

The festival reminds audiences to check out their website for the most up-to-date resources and information about the five-day event, and to make sure to check if the shows they are planning to see may require a ticket due to limited capacity or venue requirements.

The Festival app is on track to launch on Sunday 27 August, which will allow audiences to download the full guide to their phone and use the My Festival feature to plan their visit, as well as reserve tickets and explore the sites. Then, throughout August, the printed festival guidebook will be distributed across the city, as well as a small companion guide for families, with recommendations of shows and some further information to navigate the festival with children.

Freedom Festival began in 2007 to mark the 200th anniversary of the first anti-slavery act in parliament. Inspired by the reformist legacy of Hull local William Wilberforce and the wider abolitionist movement, Freedom Festival Arts Trust builds local, national and international alliances to create cultural experiences that have something to say about universal values and the future we want to make together. The festival has been known for bringing the best cultural offerings locally, nationally and internationally through all sizes of performances and exhibitions, from spectacular large-scale to reflective and intimate.

Freedom Festival takes place between Wednesday 30 August and Sunday 3 September 2023. For the full line-up and to keep updated with the latest news, visit the festival website at www.freedomfestival.co.uk/whats-on/freedom-festival-2023