A north-east festival is to celebrate the region’s seafaring past.

The Sunderland River Festival, on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September, will see street theatre, live music, water-based entertainment and even an enormous inflatable whale.

The family friendly event will be taking place on both sides of the River Wear at St Peter’s Quayside and Low Row, and will hope to repeat the some of the success of The Tall Ships Race, which brought 1.2 million visitors to Sunderland.

Music will be provided courtesy of leading north-east band Dennis and folk-rocker Martin Stephenson – famous for his album Boat to Bolivia – along with his band The Daintees.

On the Low Row side of the river, festivalgoers will get to meet costumed characters and famous figures from the north east’s past, such as naval hero Jack Crawford and smuggler Peggy Pots.

On the St Peter’s side, on the other hand, visitors can experience an amusing, interactive show inside The Whale – an 18-metre inflatable blue whale.

Out on the river itself, a range of water sports activities will be on offer thanks to Sunderland Yacht Club and City of Sunderland rowing club.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture, Cllr 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.”

(This article’s featured image is courtesy of Liam Swinney from Flickr Creative Commons.)





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