Journeys Festival International to celebrate 10th anniversary this August

Celebrations will include the UK’s first Festival of Sanctuary.

Angels by Oakleaf Streetshow at Journeys Festival International (Credit Thomas Panzau)
Angels by Oakleaf Streetshow at Journeys Festival International (Credit Thomas Panzau)

Journeys Festival International (JFI) will return to Leicester city centre to celebrate its tenth anniversary in style.


Taking place August 12-14, JFI is a free arts festival, offering visitors a magnificent weekend, with curious characters and superb outdoor shows adorning the city's streets.


This year's festival will be themed around migration and sanctuary.


Alongside large and small performances from across the UK and Europe, there's also an opportunity for people to get involved in one of the city's most captivating performances ever.


With a cast of up to 200 performers in Southpaw Dance Company's show Rush, Lee Circle will be transformed by this electrifying spectacle, involving projection, mass movement, and Southpaw's distinctive award-winning storytelling.


“Rush is inspired by the global phenomenon of protest and by stories of the local community," says Robby Graham, Artistic Director at Southpaw Dance Company.


"The performance will be incredible, with an explosive storyline by local writer Jess Green, we can’t wait to share the show with the people of Leicester.


"No experience is necessary to get involved! We are inviting anyone and everyone aged 16+ who wants to be part of a positive experience and an amazing performance.”

Rush by Southpaw Dance at Journeys Festival International
Rush by Southpaw Dance at Journeys Festival International (Credit Southpaw Dance Company)

This year the festival will explore migration and experiences of seeking sanctuary. It will also play host to the final part of Liberty EU - a three-year European-wide arts programme.


The Liberty EU programme will bring a touring Jazz band and a carnival show from Denmark, dance performances from France, and live music from Italian performers.


There will also be peculiar lollipop wardens and mysterious guardian angels around the city during the weekend.


To celebrate the tenth anniversary, the festival has a new format this year too.


“This year, we’re hoping to give people the best weekend possible in just 72 hours of free festival fun," explains Lorna Fulton, Creative Director for Art Reach, who produce the festival.


"Ensuring that almost all the excellent performances and shows are on more than once during the three days means that the audience won’t miss a single thing.


"It’s thrilling to be able to host international artists in Leicester and we’re going bigger than ever in 2022.


"Thanks to Arts Council England and Creative Europe funding, we’re able to keep the festival free to attend, which is great and will help us create a real buzz around the city.”

CastAway by Highly Sprung Performance (Credit Andrew Moore)
CastAway by Highly Sprung Performance (Credit Andrew Moore)

The programme includes a fantastic selection of cultural events and creative activities that will intrigue and entertain people with a huge programme available.


Experience gardeners having problems with giant slugs, guided tours in extraordinary bicycles as well as parkour and break dance performances; the line-up also includes circus performances, aerial theatre, comedy shows and a zero-waste market.


This year, the festival will even produce its very own newspaper created with local people and artists.


To see the line-up of international artists and to find out more about how you can get involved during this very special tenth birthday weekend, visit the website for more details.