Thousands set to flock to Bristol Harbour Festival
Bristolians are hoping for a ray of sunshine this weekend as the harbour comes alive for the annual festival.
Boasting circus stage acts, a dance village and a live music extravaganza, the Bristol Harbour Festival attracts more than 250,000 revellers from across the country.
Now in its 41st year, the festival will see a two mile stretch - from Brunel’s ss Great Britain to M Shed, and from Queen Square to the city’s Castle Park – bustling with activity.
Aside from the breathtaking flotilla taking over the harbourside, visitors can soak up some jazz at the Grain Barge, be blown away by street performances from the Cirque Bijou, and explore the video game come art installation Hidden Fields at the Arnolfini.
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Running from Friday July 20 to Sunday 22, the festival promises to be a feast for all the senses.
The event has been presented with the Greener Festival award in the commended category, for its continued commitment to improving the sustainability of the event. It was also shortlisted
for Best Metropolitan Festival in the UK in 2010.
The first festival took place between June 26 and 27, 1971, and was originally named The Bristol Water Festival.
Established as a boat rally in protest to the ‘Bristol City Docks Bill’ passed in Parliament to concrete over the water in the city’s docks, the event was designed to showcase the harbour as a perfect location for leisure activities.
Created by the Inland Water Association and Cabot Cruising Club, and opened by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Helen Bloom, the festival prevented Bristol’s docks from becoming a concrete jungle.
Admission to the festival was free – a feature today’s organisers proudly maintain. It is now one of the largest free public events in the country.
The event is organised by Bristol City Council in partnership with cultural organisations in the city, and with the support of the city’s business community.
The wealth of activities on offer at the festival will leave revellers spoilt for choice.
Highlights include the Dance Village, where the cream of the local and national dance artist crop will be on show.
There visitors can enjoy performances from The Original Spinners, celebrating the anniversary of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago’s independence, or check out the street dance skills of Cerebro.
Film and performance project Marks Set Go! is also set to wow crowds.
Festival-goers can even get their groove on thanks to the participation dance stage, where the ‘Let’s Dance’ performance area, brought to you by NHS Bristol, will host free dance sessions.
Meanwhile Cirque Bijou promises to dazzle crowds with a full circus stage in Castle Park, complete with aerial and static trapeze performers, juggling, acrobatics and hoop.
And for the music lovers in the crowd, British reggae band Black Roots will be performing in Queen Square, as will the Colman Brothers and Alejandro & The Magic Tombolinos.
Meanwhile the markets located all over the site, from Queen Square to Hannover Quay, will be brimming with local food, unique gifts and a selection of art from local artists.
For more information, visit www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk