20th March 2017

UTSAV 2017 – Birmingham’s Year of South Asian Culture

Birmingham City Council has nominated 2017 as Utsav: the Year of South Asian Culture. Utsav is an old Sanskrit word meaning festival or celebration. 2017 marks an important milestone in South Asian history and activities will be taking place in Birmingham and across the country to mark the UK’s longstanding cultural ties with the Indian subcontinent.

Utsav 2017 will celebrate the rich heritage and cultural diversity of  Birmingham with plenty of colourful and exciting activities for all the city’s communities to participate in and enjoy throughout the year, featuring a mix of local talent and established international artists.

Sampad is working closely with Birmingham City Council to support Utsav 2017. If you are organising activities, events and/or projects throughout 2017 which you feel could contribute to the Year of South Asian Culture, please let Birmingham City Council’s Culture Commissioning team know by filling out their form via this link!

Birmingham’s biggest arts festival, the award-winning Birmingham Weekender returns Friday 22 to Sunday 24 September 2017. Led by Festival Directors Graham Callister (Director of Creative Programmes, Birmingham Hippodrome) and Piali Ray (Artistic Director, Sampad South Asian Arts) Birmingham Weekender promises a packed weekend of free outdoor theatre, dance, music, art installations and hidden performance across the city-centre, from Broad Street to Eastside, including the city’s retail heart, with a South Asian focus as part of Utsav, Birmingham’s Year of South Asian Culture.

All the colours of Birmingham will come to life in a spectacular city-wide parade: Rangeeli – Colours of Birmingham. Rangeeli tells the story of Birmingham in keeping with the Rio Carnival’s tradition of storytelling. Co-designed with the citizens of Birmingham, the parade will explore, celebrate and share the heritage of the city with a South Asian twist – Utsav (festival) style!

Participants will meander their way through the city from New Street with unique, distinctive and vibrant flags, hand-held puppets, masks, costumes and a colourful kaleidoscope of Patang South Asian kites – accompanied by Harminder, an amazing, life-size, mechanical elephant born from reclaimed bicycle parts, metal and other recycled materials.

Colours of Birmingham will culminate at the Square Dance on Victoria Square with a crescendo of sound including Dhol and Brazilian beats, exhilarating dance styles in the form of Kathakali, Bollywood, Bhangra, Bharatanatyam and African and contemporary.

For more information visit www.birminghamweekender.com