Plans have been announced for a new temporary “hub” venue for City of Culture events. Assembly Festival Garden will be open from July-October 2021 on the site of the former Civic Centre buildings in the city centre.
The venue will be run by event group Festival Assembly which has been involved with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 40 years.
Assembly Festival Garden will be an entertainment, food, drink and events space. Performances will take place in the Queen of Flanders, a 1,000 seater double-decker Spiegeltent. [A spiegeltent is Dutch word for “mirror tent”].
There will also be the Piccolo, a smaller 180 seat Spiegeltent, a treehouse that will look out over the site and an outdoor venue in front of the Piccolo which can play to the entire audience in the Garden. The site will serve as a bustling hangout hub, and will play host to a wide selection of local food makers. The Garden will also host a box office that will serve both the Garden as well as all City of Culture events in other locations.
The Garden has been designed to include covid-specific adaptations to ensure events run as smoothly and safely as possible.
Assembly Festival Garden will be located at the site of the demolished former Civic Centre buildings, now owned by Coventry University, opposite the Council House in the city centre. The university has cleared the area for development but is handing it over for free during the city’s year in the national spotlight. The empty lot will be transformed into a temporary city centre oasis with 150 trees and festoon lighting creating a welcoming space with a family-friendly festival vibe.
Assembly will oversee all programming and be responsible for running the site. There will be a series of spectacular productions spanning cabaret, circus, comedy and children’s shows that will call the Gardens home for the summer, as well as a selection of high-profile comedy and music gigs from well-known faces alongside rising stars. Assembly Festival Gardens will also provide a new platform for local artists and entertainers.
Tickets are set to go on sale for the first major events at the end of May, with further line-up announcements to follow. Assembly Festival Garden is expected to welcome visitors from across the region and nationally, and will provide audiences with a much-needed dose of fun and a chance to come back together in a new safe go-to social spot for Coventry.
The site will eventually be home to Coventry University’s new hub for academic and research facilities as well as public spaces for the wider community.