Final preparations for Sunderland's new River Festival in full flow

Sunderland’s new River Festival is getting ready to flow with a whole host of entertainment.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 5:27 pm
The Seagulls duo

The new festival for the city is taking to the water on the weekend of Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1.

Opposite banks of the Wear - the northside at St Peter's Quayside and on the southside along Low Street and into the East End - are hosting the weekend festival.

The line-up includes live music, family entertainment, giant costumed characters and stage performances while the river is hosting sports and activities.

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Bell and Bullock will be at the River Festival

This inaugural event is a celebration of both the city's maritime heritage and cultural future, and is being held on the same riverside sites which welcomed 1.2million visitors to last year’s award-winning Tall Ships Races.

Activity marquees on both sides of the river will be open each day from noon until early evening providing a base from which to explore the riverside.

Children and their families will discover walkabout characters, giant maritime creatures, and street theatre recapturing Sunderland's maritime heritage and age-old relationship with the sea.

Low Street will have a heritage focus where visitors are invited to meet costumed characters and famous faces from the city’s past such as Jack Crawford and Peggy Potts, and interact with a range of street theatre.

The Whale by Circo Rum Ba Ba

At St. Peter’s visitors can experience a beautiful, funny and interactive show within ‘The Whale’, which is an impressive 18m (60ft) giant inflatable blue whale.

Both days also feature the very best in live musical entertainment from the respective stage and bandstand areas, with singer Keith Gregson, leading local band Dennis and national folk/rock favourite Martin Stephenson among those appearing.

Sunderland City Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: "We hope that everyone will support the new Sunderland River Festival, and help us establish it as another part of our annual events programme in Sunderland. It’s a mixture of family themed events and activities, live music, street theatre and water-based sports programme for everyone to enjoy.”

On the river itself there will be a water programme each day between 12- 5pm.