Festival Focus in Derby Cathedral Quarter

Street bunting will be erected across the Cathedral Quarter this week in preparation for a month of festivals and events planned for the area which have been supported by the Business Improvement District (BID).

Colourful flags will adorn the Cornmarket and Irongate – two key streets in the Cathedral Quarter – and will stay throughout September to add to the festival atmosphere in the area. The bunting has been funded by the Cathedral Quarter BID, Derby Feste and Derby Folk Festival.

The first event in the Cathedral Quarter will be on Saturday September 17 when the Derby Market Hall will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its opening with a day of Victorian-themed celebrations. The event aims to recreate the Victorian splendour surrounding the official opening of Derby Market Hall and will include a Music Hall variety show and a procession through the city.

The day will start at 9am with visitors joining a free creative workshop on Osnabruck Square at the front of the Market Hall to make Victorian hats and flags. This will be followed by a performance by the Ambassadors Show Band before members of the public will be invited to join performers and singers dressed in Victorian costume for a street procession beginning at 11am.

On returning to the Market Hall visitors will be treated to an afternoon of celebrations including vintage vocalist Veronica Jones, ‘Man of Mystery’ Lord Illusion, performances from Derwent Harps, stiltwalkers, fairground strongmen and contortionists as well as Victorian wresting in a full size ring situated on the Market Place.

The whole event will be compered by ‘Dapper’ Dan Webber whilst Market Hall traders will be dressed in traditional outfits from the era alongside actors in character who will entertain and pose for photographs with visitors.

The following weekend sees the tenth annual Derby Festé (Friday September 23 and Saturday 24) with much of the spectacular family entertainment based in the Cathedral Quarter.

Derby Festé is produced and presented by Derby LIVE, Déda, QUAD and Derby Theatre in association with the Without Walls Associate Touring Network. It is funded by Arts Council England and Derby City Council, with sponsorship from Cathedral Quarter, Intu Derby, Derby Riverlights and Park Farm Shopping Centre.

The fun starts on the evening of Friday September 23 with a performance of Carousel by the Southpaw Dance Company on Cathedral Green.  The headline act on Friday evening will be the return of the stunning giant fire-breathing Sarruga Dragons that took the city by storm at the first Festé in 2007. The breath-taking parade will start at Derby Riverlights and wind its way through the city centre and into Cathedral Quarter before making a spectacular entrance to the Market Place. From 9.45pm, the Market Place will then be transformed into a party space with The New York Brass Band and Alex Blood and the Diggers performing live on stage.

Throughout the evening, the Night Market by Sheena Holland, which has become a popular calendar date in the Cathedral Quarter, will be set up in the Market Place – with stalls selling street food, drink, crafts and vintage.

On Saturday September 24 the Cathedral Quarter will be a bustling hub of street entertainment featuring more than 20 different acts including dance, aerial performance, theatre, comedy and contemporary circus.

The People’s Stage in the Market place will also feature live music performances from all over the UK and the Furthest from the Sea Splash Stage in Osnabruck Square will see some of the region’s best performers showcasing dance, theatre, music and comedy. The climax of Derby Festé will see the nearby Bass’ Recreation Ground transformed into a magical underwater spectacle on Saturday evening for Transe Express’ performance of MÚ.

Finally, the month will conclude with the return of the popular Derby Folk Festival which is being supported for the third year in succession by the Cathedral Quarter with the area once again playing host to a variety of performances, events and street entertainment. Dance displays will be held by various groups on Saturday October 1 and Sunday October 2 between 10am and 3pm. The displays join a wide range of acts at the Market Place marquee, Guildhall Theatre, the Old Bell Hotel and Derby Cathedral.

Martin Langsdale is chair of the Cathedral Quarter BID management group, which drives forward activities under the area’s BID status.  He said: “The Cathedral Quarter BID has developed a programme of street entertainment entitled CQ Saturdays which attract a good deal of visitors into the area every weekend. “This programme certainly whets the public appetite for the major festivals and events that happen in the city centre and September is a particularly busy month. “We support the major events and festivals that happen in the city to ensure that the area and the businesses operating here fully benefit from the thousands of people who come to enjoy themselves and then explore the rest of the Cathedral Quarter. “The bunting along the Cornmarket and Iron Gate will add to the festival atmosphere. We would have loved to have adorned all the streets with these flags but it would have seriously hindered the Sarruga Dragons as they make their spectacular procession through the Cathedral Quarter as part of the Friday night Derby Festé.”

For more information about all the events happening in the Cathedral Quarter throughout September and in the coming months, please visit www.derbycathedralquarter.co.uk, like the Facebook page CathedralQuarterDerby and follow on Twitter @DerbyCQ.

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