Whats Happening During Bristol Harbour Festival

The Harbour Festival is returning to Bristol on the 18th-21st July. Find out everything that’s going on here…

The Amphitheatre

On Thursday 18th July English rock royalty New Order will be kicking off Bristol’s biggest weekend of the summer as part of the Colston Hall presents programme, with ska pioneers The Specials taking to the outdoor stage on Friday 19th. You had to move quick to get your hands on tickets for these gigs, however, as both sold out weeks ago, but why not grab a spot on the harbourside and listen from the waters edge. 

On Saturday the Bristol Community Big Band will open the festival with swing and funk classics followed by a lineup of jazz, hip hop, afrobeat and reggae, culminating with legendary Bristol DJ Rob Smith, one half of Smith & Mighty, who blazed the trail for the dubstep scene in the city. Sunday sees local collective Tan Teddy celebrate Jamaican culture through song, Australian singer-songwriter Nuala Honan, Bristol-born poet Dizraeli and the city’s greatest festival band Sheelanagig take to the stage. 

Cascade Steps and The Grove

Acoustic music will be at the heart of the Floating Harbour with Jelli Records presenting their Centre Stage programme at Cascade Steps. 80% of the programme comes through the festival’s Expression of Interest programme, so expect a multitude of local artists and bands. Down at The Grove the musical offering will continue, despite The Thekla being absent for its refurb. Start the day on Saturday with punk rock aerobics and keep the party going all the way through until gypsy, folk-rock band Imprints close the show on Sunday night. 

Merchants Quay, Hannover Quay, Narrow Quay and Queen Square

Markets galore are to be found on the quays around the harbour. Independent traders from Bristol and the Southwest will be selling wooden crafts, artwork, jewellry, clothing, collectables and vinyl throughout the weekend. Peruse the stalls on your way to Queen Square where you can grab some delicious lunch from the Continental Market. Queen Square will also play host to The Circus Playground – a family-friendly programme of circus, street theatre, comedy, walkabout and things to  play, make and do. 

Cathedral Walk

Away from the hustle and bustle of the main festival areas, Cathedral Walk offers the peaceful surroundings where the power of spoken word will reign supreme. Curated by one of Bristol’s leading poets, Rebecca Tantony, the spoken word area will host performances from Isadora Vibes, Donna Williams, Malaika Kegode, Tom Sastry and Dizraeli.

On The Water

The history of Bristol’s maritime heritage will be celebrated on the waters of the Floating Harbour during HarbourFest. Visiting tall ships including The Pelican and the Little Brig will arrive alongside professional jet skiers and The Western Boat Show whilst competitions including The Cardboard Boat Race and the Shipshape and Best Dressed Boat Competition will take place across the weekend.