"Everything is officially by order of The Peaky Blinders"
An official Peaky Blinders music and culture festival has been announced to take place in the show’s native Birmingham next month, featuring the likes of Primal Scream, Anna Calvi, Slaves, The Streets‘ Mike Skinner, and many more. See ticket details along with our interview with show creator Steven Knight below.
Fans are eagerly awaiting news on the TV premiere date of Peaky Blinders season five after the first full trailer dropped earlier this week, and now they have another thing to look forward to.
After an increase in unofficial festivals, events and bars have been set up around the world to pay tribute to the show, now The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival has been announced to take place in Digbeth in Central Birmingham on September 14 and 15.
“Episode 1 series 1 was captioned ‘September 1919’,” show creator Steven Knight told NME. “This is the 100th anniversary of that.”
After being confirmed to have written the score for Peaky Blinders season 5, Anna Calvi leads the live music line-up across five stages alongside Primal Scream, Slaves, a DJ set from The Streets’ Mike Skinner, as well as performances from Nadine Shah, The Correspondents, Swingrowers, Electric Swing Circus, Heavybeat Brass Band, Jive Aces, Jim Wynn Swing Band, Baghdaddies, Miss Kiddy and The Cat, Swing Zazou, Thrill Collins, Punch The Sky, with many, many more to be announced.
“It’s incredible to be part of something like this,” Calvi told NME. “It’s a whole new thing for me, but it felt completely natural. Bizarrely, I feel like I can really relate to the characters. It was a really good fit.
“I’ve always loved the show – everything about the way that they dress, the music that they feature, how strong the characters are and how filmic it is. It’s just much better than most things you see on TV.”
The whole event has been co-curated by show creator Steven Knight, and will also see Dank Parish present an Immersive recreation of the Peaky Blinders world, appearances from cast members and special guests, and Q&As and debates with Knight on the history, politics and social themes of series five. Not only that, but following the announcement of David Beckham’s clothing line Kent & Curwen collaborating with the show, they will also be in attendance across the weekend. Fans can also expect themed bars, pop-up food stalls and even bare-knuckle boxing.
We had a quick word with Knight on what to expect from the festival…
How do you feel about all of the unofficial Peaky Blinders festivals that have been taking place over the years?
“They’ve all been different. I’ve never been to one and I don’t really know anyone who has been to one, but I’ve heard that some are good and some are not good. The most important thing that I wanted to do with this official one was not only to make it the biggest and best, but also to bring it back to Digbeth in Birmingham. Those streets are the streets where the Peaky Blinders first walked and drank and swaggered. I’m really pleased that we’re bringing this back to the roots of what the Peaky Blinders really are.”
What will you be doing to make Digbeth feel as ‘Peaky’ as possible?
“The funny thing about Digbeth is that it feels pretty ‘Peaky’ already! It’s a suburb not far from the city centre that survived the Second World War and the city planners. It’s got a lot of Victorian industrial building stock. There are big warehouses and it’s still got that feel. To me, it feels like Tribeca before it became Tribeca. We’re going to take over these streets for two days and turn it into a celebration of what it was 100 years ago and what it is now. The heart of it will be the live music and we’ve got some incredible names already confirmed with some to be announced.”
And a ballet too?
“Yes! Ballet Rambert have created a Peaky Blinders ballet that will be performed on the streets and on the main stage. There’s going to be immersive theatre, discussion groups on how the Peaky Blinders lived at the time in comparison to how things are now. There will be food, a barbershops, tattooists, plus David Beckham’s Peaky Blinders clothing line with Kent & Curwen will have a presence there.
“I’m looking to get every kind of artform together to celebrate not just the TV show, but also the incredible fan base that we have. For all of these years, they’ve been doing this for themselves. They’ve been doing all of these events and opening bars and while they’ve not been official and I’m not saying that I condone it, they have really embraced it. It’s not a brand, it’s more a way of life. I just want a physical place where everyone can get together.”
And what can you tell us about the collaboration with David Beckham?
“Kent & Curwen have announced a collaboration with Garrison, which is the official Peaky Blinders clothing range. They’ve produced a Peaky Blinders capsule and that will be launched this Autumn. David Beckham is a British icon who creates this British glamour, and he does it quite effortlessly. It’s so good that he’s responded to the show and I know he’s a big fan. Following his equaliser against Greece, I’m a big fan of his too.”
What can you tell us about the artists and bands that have been handpicked to perform?
“Cillian Murphy said, ‘When you listen to a piece of music, it’s either Peaky or it’s not’. I think we’ve established that it’s actually quite intangible what it is to fit in with a show. It’s not a matter of musical genre, I think it’s the words that connect it. There’s always a beautiful poetry about the stuff that’s used. The line-up that we’ve got reflects that – there’s a beauty and thoughtfulness to the lyrics.”
What will be the involvement of the cast at the festival?
“There will be Q&As. We hope that all of the cast that are available will get there. The problem with Peaky is that it has been so successful that all of the cast are constantly in demand. We will do what we can to get as many of them there as possible, but all of them want to be there. The rapport between them and the fans has been incredible. There’s a feeling of being among people that really get it.”
Tickets to The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival will go on sale from 10am on Friday August 9 and will be available here.
After the trailer was released earlier this week, news on the TV premiere of Peaky Blinders series five is expected to be announced shortly.