Bristol Harbour Festival 2012

Bristol Harbour Festival 2012 – Get Ready to Party

“Get your diaries out and save the dates: Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22” – that’s the message from Bristol Harbour Festival 2012 organisers as preparations for one of the country’s biggest, free cultural festival get underway.

In true harbour festival fashion, Bristol’s historic harbourside and Queen Square will take centre stage, offering visitors a vibrant mix of live performance, artists, musicians, dancers, circus acts, markets and street stalls. On the water, hundreds of sailing vessels, from historic ships and boats to pleasure yachts and harbour ferries will provide a colourful backdrop to Bristol’s annual celebration of its maritime heritage.


The festival is a rich and diverse platform for the city’s wealth of creativity, from dance performers to circus acts and a variety of musical stages including walking bands, interactive theatre and so much more. The festival stretches two miles along the city’s picturesque harbourside from Brunel’s ss Great Britain to M Shed, Bristol’s new museum and from Queen Square to the city’s leafy Castle Park, filling every cobbled street and open space with entertainment. Local and continental food stalls and markets line the streets, with dedicated French, Italian and German market offering visitors a mouth-watering choice of culinary delights.


The vibrant Dance Village area of the festival attracts renowned performers from across the UK. Visitors this year will be blown away by the assortment of beautiful, wild and mesmerising artists, including a mixture of acts from the worlds of ballet, African, salsa, Bollywood and street dance to name but a few.

Those inspired to give dance a try can head down to the participation dance stage, where the ‘Let’s Dance’ performance area, brought to you by NHS Bristol, gives visitors the chance to enjoy free dance sessions where they can tap, shake and swing their way to fitness, festival style. 


Musically, the free festival has an impressive lineup, drawing on the city’s vibrant music scene, covering a hugely diverse range from soul to folk, and from reggae to funk. Programmed by a team from the famous Colston Hall, the Queen Square stage is filled with the best of local music acts and visiting national and international artists, creating a fantastic atmosphere with picnics and dancing combining. If the audience can drag themselves away, the Cascade Steps stage offers a mellow location on the water, with acoustic musicians and slam poetry.

Family Friendly

Castle Park offers a fabulous array of lively children friendly activities including playful storytelling, creative activities, face painting, interactive performances and a multitude of rides. Bristol is a major centre for contemporary circus, with no less than two circus schools based in the city, together with number of international agencies, with audience participation readily available for those wishing to let loose! Drawing together people with fun, lively and unique activities, Cirque Bijou will return to dazzle the crowds with a full circus stage, complete with aerial and static trapeze performers, juggling, acrobatics and hoop artists with performances that will entrance all ages.

The 2012 Bristol Harbour Festival has been funded by Bristol City Council working in partnership with Bristol-based and award-winning event management company, Richmond Event Management. Set to attract over 200,000 visitors, organisers are inviting local business to get involved and make the 41st festival a massive success.

Entry to the festival is free and many of the festival events and activities are also free. Some shows and performance will incur a charge.

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