Published Thursday, 16 September 2021
The hugely popular Assembly Festival Garden will return to Coventry in the spring after proving to be a UK City of Culture hit.
The pop-up venue on the site of the former civic centre buildings, now owned by Coventry University, was unveiled in July in a partnership between Coventry City of Culture Trust and Assembly Festival.
It has been the festival hub for Coventry during its summer as UK City of Culture, playing host to some of the biggest acts in music, comedy, circus, and more. Highlights of the summer programme included the first English dates for musical hit Choir of Man, the return of international performers with the spectacular Circolombia, as well as one-off gigs for big names such as Neville Staple, Nish Kumar, Rob Beckett, and Hazel O’Connor.
The Garden was also at the centre at some of the most anticipated events of the summer – with live outdoor screenings of the UEFA Men’s European Football Championships, Ed Sheeran’s exclusive performance at the HMV Empire, and the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, which saw audiences in the Garden feature on national television. Performances have taken place in the Queen of Flanders, an iconic and beautiful 800 -seat double-decker spiegeltent, and the Piccolo, a smaller 180 seat spiegeltent, and the location provided a summertime hangout offering drinks and food from local operators.
More than 80,000 tickets have been issued for events at the Assembly Festival Garden and visitors have come from every ward of Coventry, as well as from further afield to enjoy its programme.
It has also played host to series of community events including Pride and Motofest.
Feedback from Coventrians has been overwhelmingly positive, with 90 per cent of visitors saying their experience at the venue was good, and 81 per cent saying it had improved their perceptions of Coventry in a recent audience survey.
The curtain will come down on events at the Assembly Festival Garden on Thursday 30 September with a performance from RuPaul’s Drag race star Scaredy Kat aka Alex Clubb in the Piccolo spiegeltent, with a final weekend of music on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September. Headline venue, Queen of Flanders will close with a Coming Home gig for Hazel O’Connor and The Subterraneans on Sunday 19 September.
Such has been its success, the Assembly Festival Garden will return to the city next spring with a fresh new programme for locals – as well as visitors to the UK City of Culture.
Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are delighted to announce that the Assembly Festival Garden will reopen again in Coventry in the Spring.
“We originally intended the Garden to be in the city for this Summer only but we’ve had such great feedback and have welcomed so many visitors that we’ve decided, with our partners at Assembly Festival, to bring it back in 2022.
“With the ongoing support of our principal partners including Coventry City Council and Coventry University, we are very much looking forward to helping make new memories when it returns next year.”
William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director Assembly Festival said: “It has been incredibly gratifying to see the calls for the Assembly Festival Garden to remain in Coventry. The reaction from the public has been amazing. It will be a great pleasure to bring the site back next spring.
“It has been a truly wonderful experience working in partnership with the City of Culture Trust and bringing the Assembly Festival experience and atmosphere to Coventry this summer. I want to thank the Assembly Festival team for their incredible efforts for putting together such a successful event in such a short time and dealing with all the difficulties of Covid; – and to our sponsors, Collegiate Accommodation Collection, Coventry Building Society, and Severn Trent Water, for their support.
“Opening the Garden on 1 July was an emotional experience after the difficulties of the past year and the closure of the entertainment industry. It has been a real pleasure to get work back on stage and introduce our acts to new audiences and hear the rafters of the Spiegeltent be filled with applause. We now look forward to getting to work on bringing the Garden back to Coventry next spring when we hope to see the site revived for existing and new audiences.”
The Assembly Festival Garden will return to Coventry in spring 2022. To keep up to date with dates and programme announcements please visit www.assemblyfestivalgarden.com.
For full information about Coventry UK City of Culture programme visit www.coventry2021.co.uk.