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Dragons and Sea Creatures bring magic to Derby for the 10th Derby Festé

24 June 2016
The tenth annual Derby Festé will return to the city centre on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 September with a packed programme of spectacular family entertainment featuring a host of top local, national and international artists and performers.

Derby Festé first came to the city centre streets in September 2007 to mark the opening of the Westfield Derby shopping centre (now Intu Derby) and then, the following year, the opening of QUAD arts centre.

Derby Festé is produced and presented by Derby LIVE, Déda, QUAD and Derby Theatre in association with the Without Walls Associate Touring Network. It is funded by Arts Council England and Derby City Council, with sponsorship from St Peters Quarter, Cathedral Quarter, Intu Derby, Derby Riverlights and Park Farm Shopping Centre.

The festival has grown in size and stature every year since then with thousands of people enjoying the spectacle of live daytime and evening performances by some of the best outdoor artists including those who come to Derby as part of their European tours.

The fun starts on the evening of Friday September 23 with a performance of Carousel by the Southpaw Dance Company on Cathedral Green.  The set is a fully functioning merry-go-round which provides the centre piece for an edgy story of the enigmatic characters who inhabit the fairground.

The headline act on Friday evening will be the return of the stunning giant fire-breathing Sarruga Dragons that took the city by storm at the first Festé in 2007.

The Sarruga Dragons are giant robotic creatures created by world famous Catalonian street-arts company Sarruga who have performed across the world.

The breath-taking parade will start at Derby Riverlights and wind its way through St Peters Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter before making a spectacular entrance to the Market Place.
From 9.45pm, the Market Place will then be transformed into a party space with The New York Brass Band and Alex Blood and the Diggers performing live on stage.

Throughout the evening, the popular Night Market by Sheena Holland which has become a popular calendar date in the Cathedral Quarter will be set up in the Market Place – offering an eclectic mix of vintage crafts and food and drink stalls for visitors to enjoy.

On Saturday September 24, the Cathedral Quarter, St Peters Quarter and Intu Derby shopping centre will be a bustling hub of street entertainment featuring more than 20 different acts including dance, aerial performance, theatre, comedy and contemporary circus.

The People’s Stage in the Market place will also feature live music performances from all over the UK and a special Derby Festé commission of Tarzanna by Ilkeston-born aerial artist Ria Ashcroft and the Gramophones Theatre Company will make its debut performance at Derby Riverlights St Peters Quarter.

The climax of Derby Festé will see Derby’s Bass’ Recreation Ground transformed into a magical underwater spectacle on Saturday evening.

French company Transe Express will bring its brand new outdoor performance MÚ which will be only its second performance in the UK.

The atmospheric show will transport the crowds to a magic oceanic world. Colourful neon sea creatures elevated on a huge telescopic crane will cavort on the lit surface of the sea with the fish and other ocean dwellers weaving their way through the audience on the sea bed.

Derby Festé Artistic Director Stephen Munn, Director at regional dance house Déda explained: “We are delighted to have two such spectacular headline performances over the Festé weekend. The Sarruga Dragons and MÚ show two different but equally stunning aspects of outdoor performance.

“To mark the tenth Derby Festé this year – we wanted to re-capture the excitement and sense of wonder that everyone felt at that first festival back in 2007 as they experienced the majestic Sarruga Dragons roaming through the city streets.

 “People still talk about the Sarruga Dragons as they were a spectacle that had never previously been witnessed in Derby. 

“The main feedback was that, on that very special night, Derby felt like a truly European city. It raised the bar for arts and culture in the city and proved the public appetite for outdoor entertainment and arts festivals that have developed over the past ten years.”

Mr Munn continued: “MÚ is a beautiful and emotional journey that is a feast for the senses thanks to its ethereal splendour. 

“The performance starts with the eerily calm spectacle of glowing sea creatures moving gracefully above and amongst the audience with a haunting original soundtrack and then builds to a crescendo that is spine tingling.

“Many people will remember Transe Express’ spectacular aerial show Mobile Homme back in 2008 and we are delighted to have secured just the second performance in the UK of this brand new show.
“These two headline acts – coupled with the packed programme of entertainment both on the Friday night and throughout Saturday - will make this tenth Derby Festé two days for all the family to enjoy.”

Adam Buss, Director at QUAD continued: “We had no idea what reception Festé would have back in 2007 and, to our delight, more than 25,000 came out onto the streets to watch this and the other acts.

“Numbers have swelled since then and we have tried to bring together a combination of dance, music, contemporary circus and street theatre acts from around the UK and the world for the annual festival.”

Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director of Derby Theatre, added: “The joy of performances throughout Derby Festé is that they really interact with the crowds and people are drawn into the drama of the whole experience.

“This extensive programme is a very fitting way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Derby Festé and I am sure will bring thousands of people onto the streets of Derby over the two days.”
Pete Meakin Culture Development Manager at Derby City Council added: “Derby Festé looks set to be another spectacular two-day festival for local people and visitors to our city alike to enjoy.

“It is a true partnership event – bringing together the energy, creativity and expertise of a number of organisations who have the vision and know-how to combine high quality outdoor entertainment with crowd pleasing spectacles.

“We are proud that Derby Festé has grown to a festival of national and international repute and has helped to put Derby on the map.”

MÚ is Derby Festé’s only ticket event.  Prices are £7 each and will be available to purchase online or via the Derby LIVE Box Office www.derbylive.co.uk 

All the other performances are free of charge and the full programme is available to see at www.derbyfeste.com