UK City of Culture 2025 contender, Southampton, is a hosting a record number of high profile events this year
The exciting programme weaves together the city’s strong art, culture, maritime and LBTQ identity. Highlights on the Visit Southampton (https://visitsouthampton.co.uk) events calendar include:
28th August: SOUTHAMPTON PRIDE
With Brighton Pride cancelled this year, Southampton will be flying the rainbow flag with extra gusto this August and staging an impressive Pride event. The Pride Parade will make its way through Southampton’s centre and the city’s historic Bargate before heading back to the event site at Guildhall Square, where the Pride Village and Market Hall with entertain festival goers with talks, music, entertainment and market stalls that support the LGBT+ community. For more information: http://www.southamptonpride.org
4th September: SPORTERIUM
Sporterium is a brand-new festival of cycling combining scenic rides, competitive racing and a fun line-up of interactive events based in ‘Spin City’ within Southampton’s East Park. The three main events include two circular rides – the challenging 100km ‘Standard’ Sportive which takes more serious cyclists on a countryside route out of the city and a 60km ‘Short’ Sportive race – while the Criterium, is a 1.72km race around the two main city centre parks in which riders compete to make the most laps around the circuit in a short amount of time. Race participants from primary school age upwards are welcome, with the shorter Criterium event ideal for those who want to put a team together. Access to Spin City is free with event prices from £15 for the Criterium; £35 for the Short Sportive and £40 for the Standard. The event is supported by British Cycling. For more information: https://www.sporterium.co.uk/
5th Sept – ABP SOUTHAMPTON MARATHON
Starting and finishing at the centrally located and historic Guildhall Square, the two-lap Southampton Marathon racecourse weaves its way in and around the city. It takes in many landmark sights including the Itchen Bridge, with its glorious views across the Southampton Water and The Solent, inside the legendary St Mary’s ‘Saints’ Football Stadium, riverside vistas and a green space stretch through Southampton Common (home to the UK’s second largest parkrun!). Not just limited to marathon runners, the event also features a half marathon, 10km challenge, 1km fun run and other race-related activities – which are focused in and around the buzzy Guildhall Square Race Village. Entries cost from £54.99 (18 years+) for the marathon; £39.99 (17 years+) for the half marathon; £26.99 (£15 years+) for the £10k and £7 (2 years+) for the fun run – or £5per person based on a family entry of two or more participants. Charity entrants are free. For more information and to book: http://www.southamptonmarathon.co.uk
10 – 19th Sept – SOUTHAMPTON INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
Watersports enthusiasts are in for a real treat at the 52nd Southampton International Boat Show this 10-19 September. For the first time in the event’s history, as well as its on-the-water marina site, the event will spill along the water’s edge and onto Southampton’s historic City walls and Westquay Shopping Centre. Visitors will be able to take a peek at the marine world’s latest and greatest vessels and be entertained by a myriad of thrilling displays at the On The Water stage, including awe-inspiring flyboarders and jet-ski freestylers performances to wow the crowds. Water based fun includes Rockley Watersports Get-A-Float experiences offering SUP, kayaking and dinghy sailing, through to Try-A-Boat sessions on RIBS, powerboats, sailing yachts, and motor cruisers. The historic 1919 square-rigged Tall Ship Morgenster will sail daily from the show with visitors on board, and the passenger cruiser Island Scene will make regular passenger sailings throughout the Show. There’s also a new family-focused Festival Green area with music, entertainment and street food pop-ups.
Running over 10 days, the show is open from 9.30am to 6.30pm, with the Festival Green area remaining open to enjoy outdoor refreshments, food and entertainment until 9.30pm each evening. Advance tickets for the event cost from just £14 per day for key workers, NHS and emergency staff, armed forces, students and those with other concessions, with Monday-Thursday adult tickets at £21 and tickets for both Fridays and the weekends costing £25.50 per day. VIP experiences are also available and start from £89 per person. For more information visit: http://www.southamptonboatshow.com
25 – 26 September – RE:CLAIM – CITY CENTRE STREET FESTIVAL
A showcase of local creativity and talent, GO! Southampton’s inaugural Re:Claim Festival is set to take over Southampton city centre with its cool blend of street arts, music and sports.
The fresh new annual event, targeting youth and young adults, has a long-term aim to become a flagship event for the city, whilst in the short-term reconnecting Southampton’s communities with the city centre as it emerges from the pandemic.
With activities stretching from Carlton Place down to Westquay Esplanade, Re:Claim will bring together Southampton’s diverse creative forces, alongside a few guest pieces from outside of the city, in what will be a mainly free of charge programme.
Highlights include The Luminaria, the Architects of Air stunningly colourful & sensory inflatable “cathedral” – perfect for those oh so important “Instagram moments” and a series of “beat boxes” in which musicians across musical genres perform in repurposed shipping containers turned stages. Whilst roaming guerrilla-style street dance and theatrical performances will stop shoppers in their tracks with their amazing shows.
Sports activations include “Skate Street” – a skateboard hub featuring the Red Bull “Mind The Gap” competition, Red Bull DJ truck, new skate stunt sculptures and masterclasses. Plus, a street football freestyle zone with displays, skill sessions, drills and nutmeg competitions; and a “have a go” BMX pump track. For street art lovers, workshops and installations are set to transform some of the city centre buildings; whilst gamers will enjoy a hub of their own too. With a mini–Jerk Jam Caribbean event and a showstopping Saturday evening finale, Re:Claim is all set to attract residents back in to the city centre as it bids for UK City of Culture 2025 status.
3 – 4th October- WESTQUAY 21ST ANNIVERSARY
This autumn, Southampton’s shopping destination venue, Westquay, is celebrating its 21st birthday with a weekend of surprises, prizes and treats for customers of all ages. Event details and information about the exclusive birthday action will be uploaded on Westquay PLUS App ahead of the launch. For more information visit: http://www.west-quay.co.uk
2 – 3rd October – MUSIC IN THE CITY
Southampton’s biggest and best FREE music event is back live for the 13th year, celebrating the wonderful diversity of musical talent from the Solent area. From Rock to Jazz, Classical to Americana, Folk to Blues, a whole range of musical genres will be performed live from more than 20 venues across the city, including 800-year-old historic buildings, hip new cafés, restaurants and bars. For listings and more information visit: http://www.musicinthecitysouthampton.org
29 & 30th October – OKTOBERFEST
Southampton’s Guildhall Square will experience a full Bavarian makeover this October as the Oktoberfest comes to town. Serving the very best beers and wines – as well as traditional German sausage and pretzels – visitors will also be encouraged to dress up in the Lederhosen and imbibe against a backdrop of rousing Oompah Bands. With one evening session on Friday 29th October and two (afternoon and evening) sessions on Saturday 30th October, tickets cost from £10. For more information and to book visit: http://www.oktoberfestsoton.com
18th November – 23rd December – CHRISTMAS EVENTS
18th November – Christmas Lights Switch On
18th November-23rd December – Christmas Market