Free Brighton Festival and Fringe events to look out for this May

As one of the most exciting times of the year for Brighton and Hove is upon us, we are spoilt for choice with all the culture and entertainment Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe has to offer. However, if you’re in a perpetual state of penny-counting that can often come as a side effect of living in the South, then it’s easy to miss out. Fear not, we’ve discovered some wonderful events that our city’s festival season has to offer, and even better, they’re free.

One wonderful thing that Brighton Festival recognises is that art should be an everyday part of life, something everyone can enjoy and experience. That’s why Your Place is back again this year after it’s successful initiation last year. Brighton Festival is working with local residents and festival artists to programme an exciting and diverse line-up of music, dance, theatre and spoken word in the Hangleton and Whitehawk communities. Your Place is an inclusive event, created with and for the communities who could otherwise miss out.

If community collectivism is something that warms your heart, then the Children’s Parade is something to attend, as it kicks off the festival. The parade will see around 5,000 children from local schools and community organisations parading through the city in an explosion of sound and colour. Each school will bring their own masterpieces along with being dressed up in vibrant costumes whilst marching along to music and carnival structures.

How about further igniting the child within you with some semi-intelligent talking seesaws? Pivot is an event that will be as interesting as it sounds. The seesaws will have built-in voice communicators with a mind of their own, this chattering apparatus will poke, probe, question and counsel you as you seesaw your way to equilibrium. Not only will you get a chance to vent your woes, but an excuse to relive your youth on a playground classic.

If music is more your forte, Pitch Perfect sets to present an array of young musicians performing music for all tastes, featuring the Brighton & Hove Big Band; unplugged pop and folk-inspired acts; and string quartets and chamber wind ensembles. Set in different parts of Brighton, it will be an excellent chance to see the young talent blooming in the city.

Film installation Shut Down is a show of movement, spoken word, rap and striking visual imagery in the premiere of Charlotte Vincent’s powerful and darkly funny new film. Played across six screens, with an outstanding cast of seven performers including three talented teenagers, SHUT DOWN investigates the pressures, contradictions and confusions of being a man.

The Fringe festival also offers plenty more of interesting and captivating events that won’t cost you a penny. The Psychedelic Dream Temple embodies the greatness of the visuality of art. The temple will showcase work from some of the world’s most talented artists as well as acting as a space to inspire creativity. The Psychedelic Dream Temple works around the understanding that the visual art not only requires observation but active participation whether that’s creating it or simply just admiring it. This immersive experience will leave you feeling positively influenced and craving more art.

Returning to the Marlborough pub for its third year, the FEM. ALE Brewster Beer Festival is back this may to celebrate the women in the brewing industry. The weekend will be set to bring DJ’s, a street party with some of Brighton’s and Norwich’s grrrl bands, and a place for women who are experts – or even just interested – in beer to share their knowledge. Of course, there’ll be plenty of beer to add to the joyous weekend (unfortunately not free…).

An insightful series of events by the University of Brighton will be taking place at the Pavilion Parade throughout May. The Refugee Festival will host readings of poetry and tales, discussions, art events and educational seminars focused around the social issues surrounding refugees. It will be an eye-opening experience in which attendees can learn more about refugees and even what can be done to help the crisis. For something more uniquely obscure, enter a small dome tent where you will find traditional Finnish circus skills. VÄKEVÄ/LYYDIA (Double Bill) stars Sasu the Strongman who performs gut wrenching stunts from circus past and Lyydia the aerialist who climbs and swings gracefully all over the tent, a surrounding that will help with the authentic circus feel. Part of the duos goal is to expose audiences to circus arts that have not been seen before, guaranteeing that it’ll be a breath-taking event.

If you’re looking for a family event, then the Fringe City Family Picnic is something to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, taking place in the beautiful location of the Pavilion Gardens. Over the course of eight days, you can see performances, installations, sideshows and surreal walkabout performers, and of course don’t forget your picnic hamper!

These fun and free events will cater for all kinds of people and every interest, as well as being educational too (and not in the boring way). These are not even all the free events happening during the two festivals; for more details visit or

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