When: 15th – 17th July 2016
Where: Harbourside, Bristol
What is it?
Bristol Harbour Festival celebrates its 45th anniversary this month. The festival takes place from 15th to 17th July with music, entertainment and activities around the city’s harbourside.
The harbourside will be transformed with over four miles of activities, showcasing the talent and skills of the city.
Stretching from Underfall Yard on Cumberland Road, into the City Centre and up to Castle Park, there will be a wide variety of cultural entertainment.
This year’s more unusual festival highlights will include a cardboard boat race, trips in historic vessels, flyboarding, foot juggling, dance theatre inspired by the pub, and a Carboot Disco Bingo.
The anniversary celebrations will start with an outdoor concert in the Lloyd’s Amphitheatre on Friday 15th July. This event is ticketed, and will be headlined by 80’s chart toppers, Echo and The Bunnymen, with support from Nick Heyward.
Lloyd’s Amphitheatre will be the venue for the festival’s music stage, making the most of the natural acoustics of Bristol’s harbour.
The dance performance and participation stages will be located in Queen Square, surrounded by a continental food and craft market.
Aerial acts, daredevil stunts and family entertainment will return to Castle Park. A new route, featuring music and markets, will run along Redcliffe Quay and Merchants Quay, connecting the festival areas.
Cirque Bijou’s circus stage in Castle Park will have foot juggling by German performer Ulrike Storch, hat juggling from Paddy McCrea, and raucous games and street theatre shenanigans from Desperate Men.
The festival showcases Bristol’s maritime heritage, encompassing M Shed and Wapping Wharf at the east end of the harbour, ss Great Britain, and the visitor centre at Underfall Yard.
M Shed’s fleet of historic vessels will be offering trips around the harbour on both the Saturday and Sunday.
Flyboard riders will be showing off their skills in the air, powered by water jetpacks.
The Young Shipwrights’ Annual Cardboard Boat Race will be taking place on the Saturday. It will see brave volunteers racing cardboard boats built by school children.
Waste recycling will be a high priority at this year’s festival. Visitors will be encouraged to ‘Keep Glass off the Grass’, be responsible with litter, and use the recycling bins.
To maintain the green space, alcohol cannot be brought into Queen Square this year. However, there will be bars available for refreshments. Festival traders will also be encouraged to use environmentally friendly packaging and food wrapping.
Bristol Harbour Festival launched in 1971 and has now become Bristol Council’s largest event in its annual programme.
The festival is estimated to attract 250,000 visitors and 250 visits from vessels over the weekend.