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Castlegate Festival → Our Favourite Places – Sheffield Culture Guide

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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Photos by Owen Richards

Castlegate is the historic heart of Sheffield. The area gets its name from the fact that it was once the site of the town’s castle. In the centuries since, it's housed bustling marketplaces, while its riverside has recently been transformed with the Grey to Green public spaces. Join in the seventh Castlegate Festival in September 2023 to celebrate the area's heritage, arts and music, and the plans for the future of the currently derelict Castle site.

Our highlights from the 2023 Castlegate Festival programme:

Quayside Market
Victoria Quays, 9 September, 12–9pm, free
A monthly street food, craft and independent business market in the beautiful canal basin. This month’s market also hosts local DJs and musicians throughout the day.

Art Market
Kommune, 10 September, 11am–6pm, free
Explore a diverse selection of prints, original art, custom clothing, handmade products, photography and more. Kids will have their own creative corner with colouring and drawing all day. It will be a fun day filled with community spirit.

Skate Jam and Street Party
Exchange Street, 16 September, 2pm–5am, free
Organised by Exchange St Collective (Delicious Clam, Plot 22 and Bal Fashions) and Skateboard GB.
2–4:30pm: Sheffield’s Marioland Skateboard Jam – welcome to all, with best trick competitions, prizes and live music.
2–10pm: Street Music – a one-day festival with DJ sets from Sheffield crews including RiteTrax, Andy H, Pipes and others, licensed bar, food stalls and market with local independent businesses, art and much more. All ages welcome. Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult after 9pm.
10pm–5am: ESC Night Parties – join Bal Fashions and Plot 22 for the finest in underground music from across the spectrum of sound in Exchange Street's intimate club spaces (ages 18+).

Pollen Inner-City Flower Market
17 September, 10am–4pm, free
A floral feast showcasing plants, flowers and produce. You can also join the Sheffield Castle: Site History and the Future 45-minute tour at 12pm and 3pm – book on the day at the Sheaf and Porter Rivers Trust stall. At midday, a plaque dedicated to Lizzie the Elephant will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield.

Heritage Open Days
14 and 17 September, free
Each year, Heritage Open Days gives people the chance to discover hidden history. As part of the Sheffield programme, in Castlegate there'll be: Tales of City Centre Music Halls (also part of Sheffield Walking Festival) on the 14th, and A look at Castlegate in Sheffield – A Guided Tour by the Victorian Society on the 17th.

Yorkshire Artspace Exchange Place Studios
16–17 September, 12–4pm, free
Join artist Bethan Maddocks to make your own pop-up paper scene that explores the changing face of Castlegate and Sheffield’s past, present and imagined. Free and suitable for all children. All materials provided. Drop-in, no need to book. Visitors are encouraged to walk by throughout the festival and see a series of changing paper installations in the windows.

Fast Travel
National Videogame Museum, 8–10 and 14–17 September, museum entry prices apply
Discover worlds real and imagined at the National Videogame Museum as they extend their Fast Travel programme especially for Castlegate Festival. Visitors can be whisked around the museum by following one of three unique trails (Real World, Local Line or Out of this World). Hop off at any game station that takes your fancy and discover old favourites or a host of fresh games. There is also opportunity to view rare gaming objects such as maps, manuals and artefacts that explore the travel theme, and take part in family-friendly activities including programming a mini robot.

See the full Castlegate Festival 2023 programme.

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