Sunderland’s famous riverside will play host to a new, family focussed event later this year.
The riverside, which welcomed some of the 1.2 million visitors to last year’s award-winning Tall Ships Races, will host the Sunderland River Festival 31 Aug – 1 September.
This inaugural event will be both a celebration of the city’s maritime heritage, and a tribute to its creative future.
On opposite sides of the Wear at St Peter’s Quayside and Low Row, there will be a weekend of music and water based entertainment, with events, street theatre, activities and performances for all the family to enjoy.
Live music, including performances from leading local band Dennis and national folk/rock favourite Martin Stephenson, best known for the acclaimed album Boat to Bolivia along with his band the Daintees will provide a musical backdrop to the event.
Low Row 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.
At St. Peter’s visitors can experience a beautiful, funny and interactive show within ‘The Whale’, which is an impressive 18m giant inflatable blue whale.
Out on the water, community maritime activities and watersports partners Sunderland Yacht Club and City of Sunderland Rowing Club will be organising a range of activities and demonstrations.
Sunderland City Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “It was fantastic to see this part of our famous riverside help host the Tall Ships last year, bringing people to these historic sites to celebrate our city’s maritime heritage.
“We want this new event to help recreate that same sense of excitement, with live music, street theatre and a diverse and entertaining water programme.
“The River Wear brought life to our city and the communities along its banks, and this festival will help bring life back to the river itself.”