For Bristol, by Bristol: Bristol Harbour Festival returns for summer 2023

29th March 2023

The iconic free family event of the summer, Bristol Harbour Festival returns from 14th – 16th July 2023, with newly imagined entertainment zones, Circus Playground moving to College Green and an inclusive water programme that celebrates the city’s harbour.  

On Wednesday morning, organisers launched the return of the 2023 event with Mayor Marvin Rees and aspiring artists from Access Creative College. 

For the launch, 18-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Madara Plusa performed Massive Attack’s Teardrop, accompanied by 17-year-old guitarist, Jack Isgrove.  

The performers were also joined by fellow students 21-year-old Shaye Stewart, a gospel musician, pianist, and producer currently studying Access’ Artist Development course, and 18-year-old DJ Fitz, a music producer and DJ studying Music Production.  

Attracting over 250,000 visitors to enjoy over one mile of entertainment, the festival will feature a huge range of local talent, world-class circus, music acts and on the water activity from cardboard boat races to high octane jetpack stunts.  

With five areas filled with music and entertainment, Bristol Harbour Festival fans can look forward to five performance platforms, bringing beats, boats and backflips to the summer extravaganza. Cirque Bijou will once again be bringing tricks and trapeze, children’s entertainment and pop-up performances at the Circus Playground which will now take pride of place at a brand-new city green space, College Green 

The Jelli Shack will take over Millenium Square, providing chill-out beach-bar vibes with an acoustic programme brought to you by the team at Jelli Records. Featuring an abundance of Bristol talent, the Jelli Shack will also have dodgems and refreshments, making this a ultimate spot to bask in the sunshine.  

The Amphitheatre will become a great spot to enjoy a bite from the Food Court with music from Access Creative College, Ujima Radio and BCFM Radio as it becomes Harbour View. The perfect place to promenade alongside moored vessels and look out onto the stunning setting of Bristol’s floating harbour. It’s time to pull up a picnic bench and soak up the summer vibes. 

On the Water entertainment will return to the Harbour Festival, bringing the water at the heart of our city to life with activities showcasing maritime magic from jet ski stunts to the iconic Pyrounaut showing off its skills.  

Bristol’s Georgian Queen Square will transform into the Music Quarter; curated by Harbour Festival programming legend, Tony Benjamin. This space will kick start the festival on Friday night and will also feature the brightest talent from Access Creative College alongside established acts. 

The festival has opened its annual Expression of Interest for those wanting to perform and get involved with the festival this year, hoping to attract the newest and coolest into the festival from all over corners of the city once again. With a large number of performers coming through the EOI form last year, applications are open to everyone and anyone looking to share their talent.  

Access Ceative College has been providing creative education in Bristol for more than 20 years, offering full-time vocational courses in music, events, games design, computing, Esports, graphic design, film, and photography. 

The college has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, ensuring students, irrespective of background, successfully develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to thrive in the creative and sporting sectors.    

Achievement rates are above national benchmarks and progression to higher education from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are double the nation average.   

Bristol Harbour Festival’s new and reformed festival is brought to the city by Bristol City Council. The Circus Playground is supported and funded by the High Street Recovery Fund. 

To keep up to date with all Harbour Festival news and updates, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit the website 




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