The Bristol Harbour Festival is back this weekend, a free festival held annually, which celebrates the city’s maritime heritage and the importance of Bristol’s docks and harbour. Most of the activities, including live music, street performances, dance acts, interactive theatre, international circus acts, fireworks and a variety of other live entertainments, are held on or near the waterfront of Bristol Harbour. Venues include Queen Square, Lloyds Amphitheatre, Millennium Square and Castle Park, with seagoing vessels moored nearby. The liveliest part of the festival is quayside, but the main attractions are entertainment designed to engage all the communities of Bristol, as well as entertain the thousands of visitors to the city.
The city has hosted the festival since 1971, when it was started as part of an, ultimately successful, attempt to save the docks from being filled in. In 2012, the festival attracted over 200,000 visitors, its highest ever attendance, with the Irene and the Matthew being two of the tall ships to attend that year. The festival is held every year in July over a weekend and many of the bar and restaurants put on extra entertainment to keep visitors happy during the late evenings. In 2018 visitors will be able to watch for the first time, the Power8 rowing sprints battle it out on the water, as teams from eight cities compete to be the best.
The highlight of this year’s festival will be the arrival of three impressive ships – The Kaskelot, this year, it will be open for the public, after undergoing a full restoration, you can explore the boat and discover the inner workings of this gorgeous boat. The Earl of Pembroke, the current rigging has been designed and built the remarkable HMS Endeavour. The Phoenix, being the star of several tv productions and movies. They all return home to their registered port of Bristol, symbolising and celebrating Bristol’s wonderful maritime heritage.
More than 250 boats of varying shapes and sizes will be tied up at every available mooring along a four-mile stretch of the Harbourside, with familiar sights such as the SS Great Britain and the Matthew all set to appear.
There’s so much entertainment to keep you engaged including music at the huge outdoor concert area, the Lloyds Amphitheatre, top quality circus and street theatre acts from Circus Bijou. Western Boat Show, showcasing all kinds of sailing boats and power boats. Continental Food Market at Queens Square, a fantastic line-up from across France, Italy, Spain and Germany providing olives, cheese, crepes and more, an experience for the taste buds together with traditional gifts and crafts and lots of Harbour side fun for everyone.
Travel – Head for the City Centre, follow signs for Harbour Festival.