4 years, 6 months ago
A guide to what’s happening – apart from rugby – all over England, during Rugby World Cup 2015 this autumn.
Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off at London Twickenham at 8pm on Friday 18th September. With 20 international teams playing over 6 weeks at venues all across the UK it’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world this year. But, even with 49 matches before it’s all back to Twickenham for the final on October 31st, we’re thinking you might have a few spare hours to fill. And we’re not alone. Every one of the 14 host cities wants to be the one that’s remembered and competition’s fierce – on and off the pitch. Here’s our pick of what’s good and distracting and where to get a break from post-match forensics, the celebration, commiseration and full-on rugby immersion.
Depending on how things pan out at Villa Park, Birmingham’s Comedy Festival could prove essential. It’s 10 days and nights of stand-up, new talent and theatre with a line-up including ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Lee Nelson, Phil Kay and Steve Lilly. Plus there’s kid’s comedy, free performance, street performance and enough improv to take the most ardent fan’s mind off rugby for a bit.
Birmingham Comedy Festival
Even if you don’t make a firm plan to catch a performance, the chances of not bumping into something Fierce somewhere in Birmingham from October 7th to 11th are small. This cross-art festival launched in 1998 and calling it ‘alternative’ doesn’t quite catch its broad spectrum. Dance, music, art, performance, activism, installation, provocation, protest and parties are all in there, all over the city and some of the venues are as extraordinary as the events themselves.
Fully Loaded or Exeter Festival of Rugby? Call it what you want, on Friday 2nd October Devon’s County Town is inviting you to party in celebration of Rugby World Cup 2015. From Loft Live Sessions (with a haircut, not as strange as it sounds) to live jazz, dance, funk and more to come, Exeter may be a smaller host city but it has nothing to prove in the enthusiasm stakes.
Exeter Festival of Rugby
Leeds Art Gallery is famously one of the finest outside London. And if you’re in the city this October, it’s also one of only four UK venues hosting British Art Show 8. This huge exhibition of recent works by 42 contemporary British artists is held once every five years and 2015’s event is the most ambitious to date – the last time it was in Leeds was 1990, this time round British Art Show 8 is taking over Leeds Art Gallery in its entirety.
Leeds Art Gallery
It’s a slow week when something foodie isn’t happening in Manchester. The city’s known for its bars and restaurants and you could tour Greater Manchester by Farmers Markets alone. So where better to host the UK’s biggest urban food festival? Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2015 is right across the city for nearly two weeks, unlimited by venue or location it’s basically eating and drinking at its best wherever you find it. Go for fantastic new street food experiences, markets and stalls, feasts, exhibitions and gallons of the locally brewed finest.
Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2015
Milton Keynes’ Clash of the Drums extravaganza brings together Les Commandos Percu from Toulouse and Bilbao’s Deabru Beltzak to battle it out percussion style. Midi-Pyrenees and the Basque Country are famous for their rugby fanaticism so this is an inspired event to celebrate Rugby World Cup 2015. Expect performance on stage and in the streets, an unbelievable racket, pure showmanship and spectacular fireworks on both nights.
Clash of the Drums
Ever up for a party, Newcastle isn’t content with one event to celebrate Rugby World Cup 2015. North East Oyster Festival on September 25th is as extravagantly good as ever on September 25th and includes a Rugby World Cup Fan Zone. Newcastle Falcon’s play Southern Hemisphere in a Rugby Legends one-off match on 2nd October. Conversion Festival from 2nd to 11th October is a full-on family festival with rugby at its heart. And Craft Beer Calling from 23rd to 26th October is hosting over 60 indie brewers, has its own Gin Palace, DJs, live music and miles of street food.
Newcastle Gateshead Festivals
Leicester’s Night of Festivals is normally a three day event which takes over the city with performance, art, dance, music, children’s activities and a huge street parade. It’s colourful, wild, multi-cultural and very family friendly. This year it’s bigger and longer than ever before to celebrate Rugby World Cup and includes additional FanZone events planned in and around King Power Stadium before each of the city’s First Round matches right up until October 11th.
Night of Festivals
That’s our pick of what a few host cities are playing at when they’re not playing rugby between 18th September and 31st October. London doesn’t need a major sporting event to be one of the world’s most exciting places to visit and plenty of other venues haven’t even finalised their plans yet. So whatever happens, boredom is clearly not an option anywhere during Rugby World Cup 2015.