Everything you need to know about Birmingham Hippodrome’s B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival 2023

Birmingham Hippodrome’s B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival 2023 is returning to the city in two weeks, bringing together exceptional artists and acts from all four elements of the genre: breakin’, graffiti, DJ’ing and MC’ing. 

Details of the programme have been announced ahead of the seven-day festival, which will be celebrating 50 years since the birth of hip-hop next month. 

Programme highlights:

Thursday 8 June

  • Young Community X B-SIDE Takeover: From taster sessions and workshops led by local artists, which explore all elements of hip hop, to an informal jam session to finish the evening, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Young Advocates’ takeover event has been curated by young people, for young people (Free, aged 14+).

Friday 9 June

  • Sweat the Technique Workshops: Led by international artists and judges from the Break Mission Worldwide Championships, workshops in Breakin’, Rocking & Waacking are open to experienced dancers and bookable via Birmingham Hippodrome’s website.
  • Fight the Power Screening: Featuring an exclusive Q&A with Assistant Producer Samora Tikly, the Hippodrome’s special screening of the acclaimed BBC documentary, Fight the Power – How Hip Hop Changed the World starts at 8pm on Friday – free tickets can be booked online soon. 

Saturday 10 June

  • 50 Years of Hip-Hop Block Party: Thorp Street will be transformed into an all-day Block Party with live DJ sets, a Graff Jam and new murals to celebrate five decades of hip-hop. 
  • Afroflux - Fluxcon: Combining visual art, cosplay, creativity, workshops and marketplaces, Fluxcon is a micro-convention in celebration of Afrofuturism. Taking place inside the Hippodrome.
  • Break Mission - Breakin’ Qualifiers: Known for attracting exceptional dancers from across the globe, Break Mission’s Worldwide Dance Championship qualifiers kick off the dance battles with breakin’ returning to a purpose-built stage on the upper level of The Arcadian Car Park. 
  • Break Mission – All Styles & Queer-Side Waacking Qualifiers: All styles Hip-Hop and Queer-Side Waacking qualifiers take over Hippodrome Square, in front of the Hippodrome. Queer-Side makes a welcome return to the festival, bringing the fast-paced dance style that was created in 1970s dance clubs on the west coast of the USA to the heart of Birmingham.
  • BAR 4 BAR Cypher: Showcasing individual and collaborative performances, BAR 4 BAR Cypher is a positive participation rap battle, brought to Digbeth by Punch Records. 

Sunday 11 June

  • Break Mission Art of Raw Concrete Battle: Art of Raw returns to Central Street at Bullring for a dance competition like no other, with dancers battling it out without a dance floor. 
  • Break Mission & Queer-Side Dance Championship Finals: In partnership with Bullring & Grand Central, Break Mission and Queer-Side Waacking finals will feature the best dancers from the weekend and will be livestreamed online. 

Tuesday 13 June & Wednesday 14 June

  • Breakin’ Convention: The festival culminates at the Hippodrome with Breakin’ Convention, a jaw-dropping showcase of hip hop dance theatre.The UK tour of Breakin’ Convention comes to an end in Birmingham and features exceptional international headline acts alongside the best local hip hop crews.

Chris Sudworth, Creative Director at Birmingham Hippodrome said: “We’re thrilled to have worked with our fantastic partners to curate our most ambitious B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival programme to date.

The seven-day festival not only celebrates 50 years of hip hop but provides a platform for both international and local dancers, graffiti artists, DJs and MCs. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Hippodrome and across the city – it’s going to be a special week.”

Find out more at www.birminghamhippodrome.com   

B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival is produced by Birmingham Hippodrome with Break Mission, Afroflux, High Vis Festival, Queer-Side, Punch Records and Breakin’ Convention. The festival is in partnership with Bullring & Grand Central and supported by Arts Council England, The Arcadian and Southside District. 

Photo credit: Joe Bailey

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