Lighting up our vibrant city every spring, it’s no surprise Brighton Festival is the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England. Outdoing itself every year, it brings the best of visual art, film, spoken word, literature, contemporary music and theatre and much more on Sat 4 May – Sun 26 May.

This year’s festival promises to be a wide-ranging, diverse and international event, encouraging audiences to meet, listen and pass on their experiences. Featuring over 130 events by artists and performers from over 20 countries, the essence of this year’s programme is to reiterate the importance of respect for all cultures and nurturing the next generation of artists. All events will be taking place across 25 different venues in Brighton, Hove and Sussex all easily accessible for audiences.

Honoured to be this year’s guest director is Rokia Traoré, who will bring three exclusive performances to Brighton, opening with her blues rock band to perform the critically acclaimed album Né So, which translates as ‘home’ in the Bambara language. “I hope that through the festival, visitors listen to stories from far away and from right next door,” says Rokia Traoré. “Stories with characters and ideas you never could have dreamed of, stories that touch you, thrill you, bring you happiness and perhaps move you to experience life in a different way.” Some of the artists and performers invited by Rokia to be part of her three performances are visiting the UK for the first time, continuing Brighton Festival’s commitment to international engagement.

As usual, the festival includes free and participatory activities for all ages, starting with the Children’s Parade on Sat 4 May. This sees over 5,000 children, from schools and organisations across Sussex, kick off proceedings with a dazzling display of energy and creativity after six months of preparation.

Other free events include the Museum of the Moon, on Fri 17 May – Mon 20 May in Queens Park, where an internally lit model of the moon, in incredible detail, will be hanging at just arm’s length for people to explore. This event is happening in celebration of the 50-year anniversary since the moon landing.

If you’re interested in films, Flight by Vox Motus follows the story of two orphaned brothers on a desperate odyssey to freedom and safety. It combines unsettling themes with spellbinding images. The screening is taking place at King Alfred Leisure centre and is priced at £12.50.

Coming all the way from Australia, the internationally renowned circus Gravity and Other Myths, are bringing their award-winning show, Backbone, to Brighton Festival. The show explores the limits of emotional and physical endurance, showcasing human ability and connection.

And if you’re looking for something a bit more light-hearted, An Evening with Andy Hamilton should be right on your street. The comedian returns to Brighton Festival with his first ever up close and personal show, promising a funny and revealing night at Theatre Royal Brighton.