Midsummer Festival 2024

Midsummer Festival 2024
Photos by Paul Brock and Ian Hodgson

We’re holding the city’s first ever, family-friendly Midsummer Festival, where we invite you to celebrate the summer solstice with a fun-packed FREE programme of music, maypoles, magic and more.

Famously, Midsummer Boulevard is aligned with the path of the sun at summer solstice, which in traditional folklore is celebrated on the night of 23 June. On Sunday 23 June from 10am to 10.30pm, Midsummer Boulevard East will be transformed into Festival central for a free event inspired by traditional midsummer themes of renewal, healing, and health. 

A music tent, street theatre, and folklore-inspired art will entertain alongside free making workshops. Fantastic pop-up street food curated by Sophie etc will be available throughout the event. The evening ends with a parade led by the mythical Ghost Caribou creatures to the Light Pyramid in Campbell Park at 10pm.

A full Festival programme can be found here.

More information

What's on

Highlights include:

  • Wild Rumpus, who produce immersive worlds that take audiences into magical and enchanting places, will transform the Boulevard into an inspiring space celebrating the natural world and will encourage participants to nurture a sustainable green future.
  • In Ghost Caribou from Thingumajig Theatre, giant illuminated mystical creatures that are ‘part caribou, part spirit’ will roam with a wild herdsperson. As they gather a crowd, they’ll perform other-worldly ceremonies and tell stories of impossible migrations filled with music, song, and shadow puppets. (Expected timings: noon-12.30pm and 4pm-4.30pm.)
  • Hip Hop maypole mavericks Folk Dance Remixed will perform their genre-breaking mix of maypole, clogging, breakdance and more. (Expected timings: 11am-11.30am and 3pm-3.30pm, each followed with a creative workshop.)
  • Make your own suncatcher or flower crown, design your own tarot card and taste the delights of locally foraged Solst-iced Drinks in the wellness workshop tent – timings for individual sessions tbc. Also visit the tent for face painting.
  • Three MK based artists will take over Porte Cocheres for improvised music and dance in response to midsummer. In ‘Natural Magic’ by Thomas D Gray and Effie McGuire Ward, musicians and dancers will respond to sunlight and shadow with three performances over the day. ‘Midsummer Mischief’ by Rost Productions and No Outcome Art takes inspiration from the city’s tradition of welcoming new settlers, as well as being home to magpies – who have an important magical tradition in folklore. Large magpie puppets will roam the Festival site, gathering materials for their Porte Cochere nest. Working with natural dyes and harnessing the power of the sun, artist Ciara Callaghan will transform a Porte Cochere with LITHA – an immersive artwork which tracks the movement of the sun as it filters through large-scale cutwork embroidery.
  • Fire Leap With Me’ by Carole Keating includes a very special ‘fire-jumping’ ceremony (traditionally those who make it across will enjoy good health throughout the year) where the artist’s ‘fire pit’ features paper logs and hand-painted flames built in collaboration with the audience.
  • The Music Tent will host a fantastic programme throughout the day with local folk duo Drywood performing a selection of traditional folksongs, as well as a new song specially written for the Festival. In the afternoon, SOULstice will offer a platform for local musicians to share their summer inspired tunes. As the sun slowly begins to set, experimental music network Outlands will take over with an electronic and acoustic set from 6pm, showcasing an incredible line-up of contemporary folk music with Stick in the Wheel, Benedict Drew and Arianne Churchman. A spoken word performance by Luke Pendrell/Ludd Puca completes the evening performance programme.

Eating and drinking

Street food curated by Sophie etc will be available all day including:

10am - 9pm on Midsummer Boulevard East

  • The Rub BBQ
  • Bokkie
  • Fold Me Close Pizza
  • Lime Face 

10am - 6pm by the performance space

  • Willen Ice Cream
  • Chouxly Scrumptious
  • Milk and Beans
  • JW Events Cart

10am - 9pm by the music tent

  • Papi's Cocktails
  • From the Hatch bar 

Transport and traffic changes

During the free Festival, Midsummer Boulevard East will be closed to traffic to allow festival goers and event production teams to use the site safely.

Road closure signs will be in place to redirect motorists, and buses that usually drop off and pick up on Midsummer Boulevard East will instead do so outside The Point on Lower Tenth Street. Bus diversion routes will be published here by the end of May.

Festival map

Midsummer festival map

Other events

If you’re coming to the Festival you might also be interested in:

  • Midsummer Place Shopping Centre solstice activities including stalls, workshops and a talk covering supernatural lore. Find out more here
  • MK Gallery’s new MK Calling exhibition where more than 120 established and emerging artists explore themes including identity, inclusivity and heritage. Find out more here.