If you’re looking for the ultimate British Bank Holiday experience to end the summer, then we can’t give you that. Chiefly, because that would be sitting in a traffic jam, eating tin-foil wrapped sandwiches, whilst peering through the rain to try to spy something with your little eyes beginning with W that isn’t windscreen wipers.
No, mercifully we offer you something much more enjoyable, and besides why try to escape the cityscape, when you can celebrate it? On August Bank Holiday weekend Southbank Centre plays host to Urban, our annual festival of art and artists inspired by the city. From hip-hop to hot dogs, beatbox to jump-shots we’ve something for everyone.
Energetic entertainment from a frighteningly talented cast of under 21s; ZooNation Youth Company take to the Royal Festival Hall stage with a riot of dance, music, spoken word and beatboxing. The young group, who’ve performed everywhere from Blue Peter to the London Olympics opening ceremony, are sure to deliver a highly inspiring, high-energy performance.
On Saturday our Riverside Terrace is the place to be, as throughout the afternoon our outdoor stage is invaded by an array of upcoming urban artists and musicians delivering slick beats, new sounds and phenomenal freestyle dance. And that’s just the start of things, as The Doctor’s Orders take over in the evening with their History of Hip-Hop Party. From the funk and soul breaks of the 1960s and 1970s, via the early days of rap to the golden age of the late 1980s, early 1990s to today’s producer-led sounds, join us on an toe-tapping journey through time.
Where else can you find frozen yogurt served from a converted double-decker, or enjoy brilliant BBQ on top of a shipping container? We’ve got a plethora of big name pop-ups on offer across the Bank Holiday, so if you fancy getting stuck into a much-celebrated burger or supping a cool craft ale you can do it right here.
Witness a fusion of hip-hop dance and parkour as the brilliant Compagnie Primitif join us from France on Saturday to rethink the urban space, in their amazing performances at 1pm and 3pm on the Riverside Terrace. Fancy yourself as something of a free-runner? The group will also be hosting workshops between their performances for anyone aged ten and over.
On Bank Holiday Sunday you can enjoy funk, soul and classic hip-hop in the summer sunshine (or the summer rain - you’ll be under the cover of Hungerford Bridge so it doesn’t matter) as The Bridge throws out beats, breaks and from lunchtime until late, with a fine mix of dancers, DJs and MCs. If that’s not your jam then up on Riverside Terrace you can find more music as Feeling Gloomy and Club de Fromage deliver a soundtrack to the city.
Want to dunk like Dr. J, throw down three-pointers like Reggie Miller, or just be like Mike? Then lace up your Air Jordans and head to the space between Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall for our pop-up basketball court. Whether you want to perfect your jump-shot or join a friendly pick-up game, you’ll find our court ready and waiting for you to fulfil your hoop dreams all weekend.
All that dancing and dunking got you feeling hungry? You’re in luck. Out on Southbank Centre Square, the SCFood Market hosts stalls offering street food that spans the globe, from Korean burritos to Icelandic hot-dogs.
Join us on Bank Holiday Monday as we cling desperately onto the summer with social street-dancing, DJs and performances from Swing & Jam’s infectious hosts Temujin Gill and Sunanda ‘SunSun’ Biswas. Sun by name, sun hopefully by nature for a vibrant afternoon and evening on our Riverside Terrace.
If it is the hot Bank Holiday we’re all holding out for, then a splash in the fountains of Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms offers the perfect way to cool off. Or if you prefer things a little less frantic head to our roof garden on top of Queen Elizabeth Hall and take five among the flowers.