Bristol Harbour Festival

Showcasing the city’s incredible maritime heritage, Bristol’s free flagship event is back for another year, writes Keri Beckingham

Bristol Harbour Festival returns to the city from 19–21 July. Featuring familiar favourites and new attractions, it will fill the harbour with three and a half miles of vessels, food markets, circus acts, live music and performers.

The historic floating harbour takes pride of place during the weekend, celebrating its rich history with free, family-friendly activities programmed on the water’s edge. This year highlights include visiting tall ship, The Pelican, and the World’s smallest tall ship, The Little Brig, an ‘aircraft carrier’ race challenge and the return of the Shipshape and Bristol Fashion Best Dressed Boat competition.

Music highlights include two one-off gigs presented by the Colston Hall. On Thursday 18 July, legendary British band New Order will take the stage while ska pioneers The Specials kick off the weekend on Friday 19 July as part of their 40th anniversary tour. In addition, the free festival’s main music hub will return to Lloyd’s Amphitheatre with the Bristol Music Stage, as well as the Centre Stage at Cascade Steps, the Dockside Stage at The Grove, the Discovery Stage and the Brunel Stage at the SS Great Britain.

Prepare to be amazed at The Circus Playground in Queen Square. With daredevil stunts, high-quality circus, comedy street theatre and activities for children and families, it will be a highly accessible and exciting place to enjoy a range of free performances and activities.

In addition, the ever popular Bristol Dances stage will also return to Millennium Square for its second year, and after launching at the Harbour Festival just two years ago, presenters Rebecca Tantony and Lydia Beardmore will also present a full line-up of poetry and spoken word at Cathedral Walk.

Plus don’t forget that a visit to the festival is also an experience for the taste buds as well as the eyes and ears! The Continental Market in Queen Square will feature a fantastic lineup of stalls from across France, Italy, Spain and Germany – make sure you come hungry! 

Picture credit: Plaster Communications

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