BRIGHTON Festival and Fringe are back – with thousands of shows across the next four weeks.

There will be everything from dance and drama to comedy and classical music as the cream of artistic talent descend upon Brighton and Hove.

For a month the city will be taken over, with dozens of shows each day at venues across the city.

The Festival, which is this year guest directed by choreographer Hofesh Shechter, will feature a dance-influenced programme.

There will also be world-class theatre from the Globe Theatre with Much Ado About Nothing and Catch 22, music from the likes of Cat Power and Peaches, and an assortment of classical treats from the Brighton Festival Chorus and the Elias String Quartet.

It all begins this morning with the Children’s Festival (see page 12) and continues for the next three weeks with something for everyone each day.

The Fringe, meanwhile, will run for four weeks for the second year, in an attempt to attract families over the half-term holiday.

Billed as the biggest programme ever, there are more than 730 events and close to 3,500 performances staged across 200 venues.

This year sees the first ever WINDOW festival within the Fringe, which features carefully chosen shows by Arts Council England.

The much sought after performances will all be held across the first week.

There is also a strong focus on the First World War, with this year being the centenary of its outbreak.

As always there will be numerous impromptu and pop-up shows.

Julian Caddy, managing director of Brighton Fringe, said: “It is encouraging to see the continued confidence in Brighton Fringe being shown by participants and, judging from advance ticket sales, by audiences too.

“We have come a long way in only a few years and it’s our job to consolidate on this development to make a meaningful, long-term difference to the UK arts scene. The future is Fringe.”

The annual The Great Escape music festival takes place on |May 8-10, headlined by Kelis, |Wild Beasts and Example.

Hundreds of artists will also throw open their doors each weekend for the Artists Open Houses festival.

The month of events is estimated to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city, pumping millions into the local economy.

For more details and to buy tickets, visit and