The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019

The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, Day 1, 14 September 2019

Birmingham went back in time as the old streets in Digbeth turned into a two-day immersive experience celebrating Steven Knight’s outstanding creation Peaky Blinders. For the uninitiated, the drama tells of gangsters who used to rule these Birmingham streets in the 1920s.  

The whole festival recreated the Peaky world perfectly. It was not just the young and old wearing the Shelby’s signature flat caps or the flapper girls dancing around. The fancy-dress carnival brought together an impressive amount of musical performances, actors, bespoke ballet acts and guest speakers, but what could shout Peaky Blinders more than the cast itself? Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby), Finn Cole (Michael Gray), Kate Phillips (Linda Shelby) and Harry Kirton (Finn Shelby) were all there. Even more, the theatre company Dank Parish took over the streets for impromptu ‘Blinders performances. 

What was the first thing one could see at the festival? The ’20 clothes style, of course! Nearly everyone was dressed accordingly, we were also delighted by the Garrison Tailors Fashion Show. The official Peaky Blinders Menswear Brand definitely didn’t disappoint, with all the stylish looks and confident models. They even had their own store there, so fans could buy fancy Peaky-style suits and accessories. If you went to the other side of the room, you could find yourself in a barbershop, ready to get that Shelby haircut (and many did!).  Three big outdoor stages, multiple indoor venues, a carousel, a Gypsy fair, a fight ring and more – this was the way to get the full experience

Special guest Liam Gallagher was definitely the most awaited act. The biggest crowd of the weekend seemed to enjoy to the maximum the artist’s rock ‘n’ roll. Liam treated fans with some Oasis classics like Morning Glory’, ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’, but also songs from his two albums, including ‘Wall  of Glass’ and ‘Shockwave’. Nadine Shah took over the Arena Stage, putting on one of the most passionate performances I’ve ever seen. Dressed all in black and surrounded by red light, she shared powerful messages through her incredibly raw music. I was surprised that the audience wasn’t bigger, but the ones present seemed to feel her emotions  and understand her touching lyrics. This was the third time I have seen Ivory Wave live and I can tell that they just keep getting bigger and bigger as a band. Bringing their indie swagger and Brummie vocals to the BBC Introducing stage, they played some of their contagious indie/house anthems like ‘Cool Kids’, ‘Separate Beat’ and ‘Uptown’. 

Also originating from Birmingham was JAWS. The indie rock three-piece closed out the BBC Introducing stage with a chaotic performance consisting of inspiring lyrics and energizing instrumentals, leaving the fans out of breath after a full festival day. They played many songs from their last album “The Ceiling” and some older ones. The crowd jumped up and down and sang along to every word. 

The “maximum rock ‘n’ roll” continued with Primal Scream, who blasted nine electrifying songs including ‘Moving On Up’, ‘Can’t go back’, ‘Loaded’ and ‘Rock’. Bobby Gillespie, in his bright pink suit, put out all his energy for that astonishing act, ending the first day of the weekend. 

One of my favourite parts of the festival was the Carousel Stage – an actual carousel transformed into a stage. Miss Kiddy and the Cads, Swingrowers, The Jive Aces, Jim Wynn Swing Band – all played there on Saturday and their acts were most appropriate to the ages in Peaky Blinders world. The swing and jive bands, with all their members dressed up in the ’20 style, played boogie-woogie music the whole time, inviting people to dance like nobody’s watching. 

I between acts three flapper girls delighted the audience and all the eyes were on them! With attractive outfits, different accessories and hula hoops, everyone had a smile on their face while watching them dance. 

Let’s not forget about “The first annual Digbeth Fayre”, decorated with fairy lights, colourful caravans and numerous rugs on the walls. Actors from Dank Parish put on a full gypsy fair, spending the day as it could see them in the TV show. But that was not what all the actors did! They created their own version of the Peaky Blinders world, calling family meetings, organising fights (yes, in a fight ring!) and of course always having a drink in their hands! 

The 1920s were not only boogie and style! Women had to ask for equal rights and they were still not taken seriously. A march took place, the ladies in attendance asking for everyone to join to support them, and the crowd became huge with all the women joining. 

The first day of the festival was definitely memorable – and everything was officially by the orders of the Peaky Blinders 

 

Review and Photos: Andra Tudoran 

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