Vibrant Derby comes alive with Festé festival fun

Back with a bang, Derby Festé returns this September with a bumper festival of family fun featuring everything from Japanese drummers to choreographed aerial dancing.

One of the UK’s top street-fest events, and the highlight of the city’s events calendar, the annual arts and culture celebration has an action-packed two-day programme, which sees the return of large-scale public events.

Among top treats for this year’s event, 23 – 24 September, is dancing within a giant floating heart; a 13-foot Sea Giant puppet and contemporary dancer; and Titan the Robot, as seen on Britain’s Got Talent.

Featuring top national and international acts, and inspirations from around the world, venues and the streets of the city will be filled with street theatre, dance and music, with many performances free, and some ticketed paid for events.

This year’s festival also features a Japanese theme, with performances featuring live original music and movement influenced by the cultural tradition of taiko.

On Friday 23 September, the Market Place Marquee will be the place to be to feel the power of heart-pounding rhythms on huge Japanese drums from Mugenkyo, Europe’s longest-established taiko group, widely recognised as the ground-breaking pioneers of this art-form.

And Friday will also see Derby welcome ancient Japanese ‘guardians of storms’ as Raijin Storm bring rhythm to the streets with five dancers, dressed in mask and costumes, create a walkabout performance involving music and movement. Inspired by Raijin from Japanese folk, the performance is dynamic, interactive and sometimes comic, incorporating the surrounding environment and audience into the story.

For something completely different, Cathedral Green will host a 12.5m high, air-filled heart, as Love Art, from Dream Engine, creates an unusual setting for an aerial dancer to acrobatically twist and turn within the floating structure. Fluctuations in pressure cause the heart to slowly pulse during the show, which also takes place on the Friday evening.

Among highlights on the Saturday, is Out of the Deep Blue from Autin Dance Theatre – a 13-foot Sea Giant puppet and a contemporary dancer in a performance inspired by the themes of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis. The larger-than-life choreography, using dance theatre and movement as storytelling tools, will be set to a mesmerising musical soundscape as the procession winds through the city’s streets.

For family entertainment and comedy, Titan the Robot – a blend of comedy, street theatre and music – will be taking up residence in Cathedral Green during the day, with a show that promises to be funny, fast paced and full of surprises.

Saturday evening sees a spectacular show at Derby’s Markeaton Park, offering an evening of a jaw-dropping circus from one of the UK’s leading circus companies, along with a celebration of performances from local companies. The Wing Scuffle Spectacular Revel Puck Circus Show is billed as a ‘joyous, high impact show with no animals, no ringmasters and no bad clowns’.

And the festival culminates on the Saturday night with The Turbans, a London-based world music group, performing in the Market Place Marquee, supported by the Hoverla Ukrainian Dancers.

For full details and any booking information, visit

For more information about visiting, and staying in, Derby, see

Photo: 2022 Dream Engine – Love Art