Bristol Harbour Festival

The Bristol Harbour Festival is a festival held annually in the English city of Bristol, and which the celebrates the city's maritime heritage and the importance of Bristol's docks and harbour. Most of the activities, including live music, street performances, 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.

Bristol Harbour Festival
Pero's Bridge full of people passing over the harbour at one end of the Bristol Harbour Festival in 2010.
GenreMusic Festival, Community Festival
Dates18 – 20 July 2014
17 – 19 July 2015
15 – 17 July 2016
21 – 23 July 2017 [1]
Location(s)Bristol, England – Bristol Harbour, Queen Square, Millennium Square, Castle Park, Harbourside
Years active1971–present
WebsiteBristol Harbour Festival Website

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.[2][3] In 2012, the festival attracted over 300,000 visitors, its highest ever attendance, with the Irene and the Matthew being two of the tall ships to attend that year. In 2013 fireworks returned to the festival after a two-year hiatus.[4][5][6][7]

The festival is typically held over a weekend at the end of July or beginning of August. In 2016, it was held on Friday 15 to Sunday 17 July. In 2018 it is scheduled to take place on Friday 20th to Sunday 22 July.[8]


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

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.[9][10][11]

In previous years entertainment has included Beth Rowley, the Hot 8 Brass Band, DJ Derek, The Blessing, The Bristol Ambling Band, Phantom Limb, Kid Carpet, Natty, Barry Adamson and VV Brown.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


  1. ^ "Bristol Harbour Festival 2017". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  2. ^ "The Plan To Fill In The Docks". Bristol Post. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Saving Bristol's Unique 'Floating' Harbour". Inland Waterways Association. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Saving Bristol's Unique 'Floating' Harbour". The Inland Waterways Association. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Enjoyed the Harbour Festival? Give us your views for the next festival". WestburyPeople. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Bristol Harbour Festival attracts about 250,000 people". BBC News. BBC. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Fireworks return to Harbour Festival". Bristol Culture. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Bristol Harbour Festival 2017". Bristol Harbour Festival. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Summer survival guide - The Big 3: #1 Bristol Harbour Festival". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Dance Village". Bristol Harbour Festival. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Happy City". Bristol Harbour Festival. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Bristol Harbour Festival". BBC News. BBC. 4 June 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Bristol legend DJ Derek to scratch outdoor career after fest gig". Bristol Post. 4 July 2014. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Gabby Young and Other Animals". Archived from the original on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  15. ^ "A wealth of music and more at Bristol Harbour Festival". Metro. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Bristol Harbour Festival 2011". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Your guide to the Bristol Harbour Festival". Bristol Post. 1 August 2009. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Bristol Harbour Festival 2008". Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Staton headlines Harbour Festival". BBC News. BBC. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2015.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°27′N 2°36′W / 51.45°N 2.60°W / 51.45; -2.60