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Bristol Harbour Festival announces second wave of performance areas, new for 2024 Festival Fringe and on the water spectacle

Dance Tent returns, Bristol Rising Stage announced and Royal National Lifeboat Institution confirmed as official charity partner for the 2024 Bristol Harbour Festival

29/05/2024

As Bristol sails into the summer season, Bristol Harbour Festival (19 – 21st July) has announced a boat load more entertainment and talent as part of its line-up of maritime-magic. With new performance areas, stages, the return of the hugely popular Dance Tent and a new-for-2024 Bristol Rising Stage in association with Access Creative College, this year’s event is set to bring the very best to Bristol’s floating harbour. 

On the Water, guests can expect fan-favourites as well as brand new additions. Former fireboat, The Pyronaut, will officially open the festival on the evening of Friday 19th July, with a performance guaranteed to make a splash and cool down the crowds. My Future My Choice will also return, hosting the festival’s signature cardboard boat race, which sees groups, pairs and solo-sailors battle it out in not-so-waterproof vessels to make it across the finish line. New-for-2024, visitors to the harbourside can also expect to see Dragon Boat Racing, steamboat processions and a very special flotilla to close the show on Sunday 21st July, with a dazzling parade of sail along the water.

For 2024, the festival has teamed up with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as its official charity partner, which will bring together a fantastic nautical showcase. The RNLI team will be running lifeguard demonstrations as well as collecting donations to support the charity throughout the weekend. 

Championing the best of Bristol and emerging talent, Queen Square will welcome two performance areas to its much-loved green space. As well as the Bristol Rising Stage, programmed by creative industry college, Access Creative College, Bristolians will also be entertained by local dance troupes and organisations at the Dance Tent, which has been curated by Bristol-based dance charity Movema and Trinity Community Arts. Bringing dance of all genres, mediums and ages to Queen Square, the Dance Tent will also see a queer DJ night takeover the space on Saturday 20th, with local LGBTQ+ collective, Booty Bass, on the decks. 

Providing back to back live entertainment, the new-for-2024 Bristol Rising Stage will see an eclectic range of musical performances from students at Access Creative College as well as other artists that applied through the festival’s expression of interest form. From Bristol-based singer Marns bringing soulful sounds, to four-piece band LAKEDOWN’s indie rock, the line-up will introduce a varied sound to the festival while shining a light on Bristol’s up and coming talents. 

Completing Saturday’s main stage line-up and hot off the back of a successful Love Saves The Day set, Bristol vocalist and multi-genre artist Eva Lazarus has officially been announced for Greenpeace’s line-up at Harbour View at the Amphitheatre, alongside Bristol-based hip hop artist Nat Oaks and the emerging American indie band Langkamer.  

Beyond the main activity of the 2024 Bristol Harbour Festival, the celebrations will extend into the wider city centre, with food, hotel, retail and other venues taking part in a brand new Fringe Festival, which will see artists, musicians and performers showcase their unique talent in the city’s spaces – widening the programme beyond the footprint of the main festival. Those venues interested in becoming part of the Bristol Harbour Festival Fringe should head to https://www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk/get-involved/fringe-festival

Bristol Harbour Festival is delivered by Bristol City Council, Proud Events and Swans Events in partnership with Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) and Redcliffe & Temple BID. The new four year partnership with the BIDs and their business communities has enabled organisers to extend the festival beyond the core activities through the Bristol Harbour Festival Fringe, which will see the continuation of entertainment in venues and businesses in and around the city centre over the course of the weekend.

Councillor Tony Dyer, Leader of Bristol City Council, said:

“The programme for the 2024 Bristol Harbour Festival is truly a fantastic showcase of what our incredible city is all about. From showcasing the best home-grown talent, to the awe-inspiring entertainment that you’ll find on the water and at the Dance Tent, which we are thrilled is returning, it’s going to be a brilliant three days. Our city is wonderful, diverse and creative - and this programme showcases that brilliantly.”

Charlie Grier, Outreach & Events Officer at Access Creative College Bristol, said:

“We’re so buzzed to be a part of the Bristol Harbour Festival once again to programme and curate the Bristol Rising stage in Queen Square. It’s a phenomenal event, and being able to give our students such a huge platform to showcase their talent is just brilliant. At Access Creative College, supporting youth talent on their creative and professional journeys is exactly what we’re about - and when the entire Bristol community comes out to support them - it’s such a great feeling.”

Vicky Lee, Director of Bristol City Centre BID, said:

“The BIDs’ partnership with the festival is one we are both significantly invested in. Local businesses have an opportunity to really engage with the activities over the weekend and the introduction of the Fringe Programme really supports that. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming visitors into the city centre and can’t wait for the entertainment to trickle out into the city’s businesses and late night venues, to further widen the festival's footprint. The Fringe programme is going to be a stand-out addition to the already incredible event.”

For more information on the Bristol Harbour Festival, head to the website for all the latest line-up and performance information, and Follow the event on Facebook, Instagram and X

To support this year’s festival, there’s the option to make a donation – and all funds will go directly into the artist programming for 2024. For those who simply can’t wait for their Harbour Festival dose, they can also access the official Bristol Harbour Festival playlist on Spotify

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