UK City of Culture year will kick off on 15 May 2021

Coventry City of Culture

Coventry City of Culture Trust has confirmed that the year of culture will start on 15 May 2021 and run for 12 months, and has given an update on what the opening weeks will include.

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 will open on 15 May with a celebratory moment enjoyed from home, delivered under lockdown restrictions, designed to showcase the city and kick off a year of major cultural events.

The signature event, Coventry Moves, will now take place on 5 June following consultation with partners and stakeholders across the city – including West Midlands Police.

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We continue to monitor closely the wide range of challenges that are associated with planning such a hugely significant event during a pandemic.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “Coventry Moves will be an experience created in the city and enjoyed by audiences online and via broadcast.

“We have been planning the event for several months, to be delivered safely within the restrictions in place, and 5 June has been widely agreed as a date that allows us to deliver the best moment for the city.

“While the detail of how we will open on 15 May remains a secret for now, from that day onwards as the UK’s City of Culture, we remain committed to ensuring Coventry has a year to remember.”

The opening on 15 May will be followed by a significant festival of street art and artist-designed shop windows to welcome visitors as they start to return to the City Centre, as well as a range of events from partner organisations, including the Belgrade Theatre, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and Warwick Arts Centre.

Coventry Moves on 5 June 2021 will kick-start a Summer of Surprises which will also feature events previously announced by the Trust including Tides Within Us, a stunning outdoor experience in Charterhouse Heritage Park, a celebration of community radio and a major Sound Systems event showcasing Coventry’s rich cultural links with Kingston, Jamaica.

This update follows a series of programme announcements, with further announcements and tickets becoming available later in April.



Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 will commence on 15 May 2021, running for 12 months. The 365-day cultural programme will reflect Coventry as a diverse, modern city, demonstrating that culture is a force that changes lives. Coventry is known internationally as a city of welcome, a city of activists and pioneers, peace and reconciliation, innovation, and invention, and now a City of Culture.

Coventry is the city where movement began, from innovation in the transport industry to a history of welcome, it has moved people for centuries. For a whole year, Coventry will celebrate with events, music, dance, theatre, and large-scale spectacle. As well as these big celebrations, it will show its unexpected side, with more intimate experiences and ways to get involved in every neighbourhood. And it’s not just Coventry. This epic celebration will also witness the entire region getting involved and benefitting from the opportunities that being City of Culture brings.

It will be co-created with the people of Coventry and bring about long-term social, economic and cultural benefits.

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021’s Principal Partners are Coventry City Council, West Midlands Combined Authority, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Arts Council England, National Lottery Community Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Warwickshire County Council, Spirit of 2012, Coventry University and the University of Warwick. Its Major Partners are Coventry Building Society and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Its Regional Partners is Ricoh Arena/Wasps. Its City Champions are Coventry College, Garfield Weston Foundation, Orbit Group and Pet-Xi. Its International Partner is the British Council. Its Honorary Partner is Positive Youth Foundation.