Bristol Harbour Festival

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Bristol Harbour Festival
Pero's Bridge full of people passing over the harbour at one end of the Bristol Harbour Festival in 2010.
Genre Music Festival, Community Festival
Dates 18th – 20th July 2014
Location(s) Bristol, England – Bristol Harbour, Queen Square, Millennium Square, Castle Park, Harbourside
Years active 1971–present
Bristol Harbour Festival Website

The Harbourside in Bristol, England, has hosted the Bristol Harbour Festival since 1971 started to save the docks from being filled in,[1] with over 250,000 visitors attending live music, street performances and a variety of live entertainment. The festival includes music stages, a dance stage, street theatre performances, and water displays. In 2013 fireworks returned to the festival after a two year hiatus.

Most of the activities are held near the waterfront, in 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 festival celebrates the city's maritime heritage and the importance of Bristol's docks and harbour, and takes place over a weekend at the end of July or beginning of August.


The Bristol Harbour Festival has a variety of entertainment from dance acts, interactive theatre, international circus acts and a mix of musicians. The Dance Village, programmed by Swindon Dance, features a main stage and participation area where visitors can learn to dance. Cirque Bijou's famous circus stage takes over Castle Park, next to an interactive Children's Area, which featured a pirate ship in 2013. SS Great Britain hosts an outdoor stage with BBC Radio Bristol, while Happy City creates an interactive area within Lloyds Amphitheatre to demonstrate all the elements which make up a happy life. In 2013 the Thekla Harbour Stage was created in Muddock to showcase up and coming bands alongside a new festival bandstand.

In previous years entertainment has included Beth Rowley, The Hot 8 Brass Band, DJ Derek, Gabby Young and the Other Animals, Sheelanagig, The Blessing and Phantom Limb, Let's Tea Party, Kid Carpet, Nuala and the Alchemy Quartet, The She Creatures, Natty, Barry Adamson Babel, Bobby Andersen and VV Brown.

In 2012 the Bristol Harbour Festival attracted the biggest crowd to date with 300,000 people visiting the festival.[2] The Irene and The Matthew were two of the tall ships to attend the Harbour Festival this year.[3]

The Planetarium (a large stainless-steel sphere), and people outside of "At-Bristol" at the Bristol Harbour Festival in 2008.

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