When: 20th – 22nd July 2018
Where: Bristol city centre
£: Free (some events need to be booked in advance)
What is it?
Bristol Harbour Festival, one of the country’s largest free festivals, returns from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July with a special programme celebrating the city’s maritime heritage.
Now in its 47th year, Bristol Harbour Festival is set along four miles of the city centre, from the SS Great Britain to Welshback. This year’s programme will feature live music, performances, family entertainment, food, markets, and maritime themed entertainment and sports.
Maritime highlights at this year’s festival will include a boat show, historic vessels, a display from the pyronaut, the Young Shipwright’s Boat Race, Power8 Sprints, Newfoundland dog displays, Jetski stunts, steam boats and a festival fleet of more than 250 vessels in all shapes and sizes. The quirky maritime highlight will be the Cardboard Boat Race on the Saturday, with teams hoping not to sink.
Historic vessels at the festival will include traditional Dutch herring-lugger Iris, 15th century replica boat Matthew of Bristol, and Irene, one of the UK’s last remaining West Country ketches.
Entertainment will include live street art, roaming pirate adventures, immersive circus experiences, spoken word performances, Bollywood dance, a circus playground, roaming mermaids (and mermen), circus workshops, acrobatics and clowning acts.
Quirky entertainment highlights will include the Water Balloon Tossing Championships, and a special performance in Redcliffe Caves, one of Bristol’s hidden places, for Beneath Our Feet.
There will also be live music covering everything from folk, country, samba, soul, indie, ska, reggae, and blues, to choir music and opera. Acts will include The Mighty Shinkickers, The Lasting Days, Bristol Reggae Orchestra, The Tiffanys, David 9 Lunas, and The Ambling Band with Fanfarefelue.
There will also be a Curious Cube, a recycled playground, hands-on origami sessions, baby racing, a continental market, a vintage market and a maritime shindig.
Bristol Harbour Festival is the city’s flagship free family event and cultural celebration. Running for more than 40 years, it has become Bristol Council’s largest event in its annual events programme. The festival celebrates Bristol’s harbourside with a programme of arts and cultural activity, providing local businesses, communities, cultural organisations and artists with an opportunity to come together and participate in a large-scale celebration of the city.