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A group of people are sat on beanbags on the floor watching a person on stage

A free festival of creativity, inspiration and entertainment,

OpenFest, invites you to dip into a mix of events and activities from pop-up performances to interactive installations, film screenings, talks, dance performances and gigs. Get a flavour of what the Barbican is all about. Taking place in the Barbican and surrounding venues, this popular event is essentially our version of an open house and is enjoyed by thousands every year.


In 2018, 59 Productions brought Tunnel Visions: Array, an unforgettable light and sound installation, to Beech Street tunnel, which runs under the Barbican Estate. Commissioned especially for OpenFest by Culture Mile, the tunnel was transformed into a stunning visual realisation of a piece of music. Unfolding over 30 minutes, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Karawane, recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, provided the soundtrack, as projections of vivid colours and images flickered across the walls in response, constantly re-shaping the tunnel’s interior as people moved through the space.

In 2019, OpenFest: Art 50 explored what it means to be British today through the works of artists from around the UK in partnership with Sky Arts. Highlights included a new dance piece by hip hop dance group Boy Blue and a performance by Nitin Sawhney with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain - all for free.

The network

One of the things that makes OpenFest a truly special event is that it brings together all of the Barbican’s art forms for an exciting festival of performances, shows and activities that take place across different spaces in the Centre, as well as in surrounding venues throughout the City of London’s Culture Mile. In previous years we have staged everything from music and dance performances, to workshops, installations, tours and talks in spaces including Milton House, The Charterhouse, LSO St. Lukes, Museum of London as well as many other familiar and hidden spots which allow visitors to discover and enjoy the historic City of London's Square Mile. As well as working closely with Culture Mile partners, OpenFest also celebrates our incredible East London partners.

Get involved

Check this page for future OpenFest announcements and opportunities to get involved.

Beyond Barbican


Inspired by the bold ideas and creativity of communities, we believe in working with our neighbours across east London, and learning together to develop inclusive and sustainable projects and networks.

Working year-round, Beyond Barbican builds relationships and connections with, and between, local partners, creating space for people with different skills, backgrounds and expertise to come together to realise creative projects in their neighbourhoods.

Find out more