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Story last updated: 31 Jul 2004 1017 BST Printable version of this page
Waterside fun at the festival
Boats festooned with bunting  

More than 150,000 visitors are expected to flock to Bristol's historic harbour over the weekend of July 31 to August 1 for the annual SWEB Energy Bristol Harbour Festival.

And they are sure to be enthralled and entertained, with an exciting programme of free events and activities, live music, performance and dance stages, food markets and festivities.
Colour, boats and fun at the Harbour Festival

Now in its 33rd year, the event- formerly called the Bristol Regatta - has grown to become one of the most popular free festivals in the West Country.

This year's event (as always!) promises to be the best-ever, with the programme being extended into Queen Square to include: markets, music, a Portugese area and a new dance stage at the Mud Dock.

>> Festival highlights - WHAT'S ON WHERE AND WHEN

Queen Square will also host a new, expanded children's entertainment section.

Firm favourites will feature in the programme, such as a flotilla of tall ships, and yachts, boats, and sailing crafts of all descriptions will be sailing into Bristol's floating harbour.


Then of course there's the spectacular firework display on Saturday night which is always well worth a look. This year there will be the added attraction of fire performances.

Georgette Van Hoof, events manager at Bristol City Council said:

Women in costume
There will be plenty going on to interest even the most jaded festival-goer

"The festival has become one of the best-loved free events in the South West, attracting thousands of visitors from across the region and further afield.

"I am confident the 2004 Harbour Festival will be a fantastic weekend for everyone to enjoy."


Three stages programmed by the Colston Hall, will be distributed around the Harbourside, featuring a wide variety of live music performed by both local and international musicians.

The main stage will be located on the Lloyds Amphitheatre whilst the smaller ones can be found on the Cascade Steps and in Queen Square.

Then there's the addition of the dance stage on the Mud Dock, which will showcase a spectacle of dance from around the world.

Featuring Bristol-based dance organisations, this stage will showcase professional performances, as well as give the audience the chance to join in during taster sessions ranging from tango to break-dancing, via salsa and belly dancing.

Building on the success of its hugely popular stage last year, Bristol-based Cirque Bijou will be bringing a new and varied show to Millennium Square this year, featuring some of the region's best talent in circus and street theatre.

Water attractions

And on the water itself there will be plenty to look at, with the tall ships Kaskelot, the Earl of Pembroke and the Matthew.

Naval vessels such as HMS Inverness, HMS Trumpeter and HMS Charger will also be there and there will also be a steam tug challenge and a lifeboat parade featuring three of the region's boats.

Sky Divers will also be performing an aerial display once a day, landing in the docks from where they will be rescued.

Celebrating 20 years of friendship between Bristol and its Portugese twin town of Oporto, a special Portugese area will feature music, dance and cuisine from the region.

>> Find out more about Bristol's Portuguese connection

There will also be an opportunity to learn Portuguese and find out more about Bristol’s links with Portugal’s second city.

Then there's the ever popular French Market, which can be found in Queen Square this year, whilst the Seven Counties Market will be on Waterfront Square.

The fireworks display on Saturday night starts at 10pm.

Phew, an action-packed weekend all round!

  Bristol City Council

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