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Mersey River Festival is back for a summer scorcher this weekend

The tall ships are in, plus live music, street theatre and wakeboarding

Published on June 6th 2013.

Mersey River Festival is back for a summer scorcher this weekend

JUST two weeks after the thousands descended on the waterfront for the Battle of the Atlantic celebrations, it's time to get back down there for some more hot seafaring action.

One of the biggest maritime festivals in the UK returns to the Liverpool waterfront this weekend. 

The Mersey River Festival will see half a dozen tall ships sail in as Liverpool becomes one of the host ports for the Irish Sea Fleet – Maritime Tour 2013. The weekend will not only see ships from Ireland, but also from Denmark, France and Belgium. 

Visitors can expect aerobatic displays from Russian aircrafts, street theatre, wake boarders and a canoe polo tournament.  

And this year sees an international flavour to the weekend as a World Music Stage will be set up at the Pier Head playing authentic African, Indian and Arabic music and dance for all to enjoy. 

Culture Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “The River Festival is one of many occasions this year to showcase our historic waterfront to visitors from all over the world. 

“As in previous years there will be something for all the family to enjoy so I would encourage as many people as possible to spend a day or two at the Pier Head, soak up the wonderful atmosphere and celebrate the return of this much loved and popular festival.” 

The River Festival will also coincide with Music on the Waterfront, building on the successful partnership with Smooth Radio established last year.

After welcoming 20,000 people to the Pier Head in 2012, Love Live Music returns with a bigger line up than ever - and it's all free. Big names such as Katie Melua, Nell Bryden, Russell Watson, KT Tunstall and local band The Christians will perform. 

On Sunday 9 June the city will host Brouhaha International Carnival, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and Sights and Sounds of India, bringing a splash of colour and music to the Albert Dock and Pier Head.


Where to be and what to do - the full lowdown

Tall Ships 2012 - Pelican 

Liverpool Water Sports Centre. Ticketed | 7th June - 9th June 9am - 5pm , 110 Mariners Wharf, Queens Dock, Liverpool, L3 4DA

Whilst at the waterfront, why not pay the Liverpool Water Sports Centre a visit? With rafted canoes, kayaks, open canoes, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing and power boating you’re sure to have a whale of a time.

For further details and to book call 0151 708 9322 or visit the Liverpool Water Sports Centre web. Visit Website

Performance: Liverpool & The Sea Free | 8th June, 1.30pm - 2pm, 2.30pm - 3pm & 3.30pm - 4pm , Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

Drawing on Liverpool’s deep and rich musical traditions, performers from the area will be singing sea shanties and ballads including favourites from ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ to ‘Maggie May’. Supported by Liverpool John Moores University. Visit Website

Red Bull Harbour Reach 2013. Free | 8th June, From 2pm - 5pm , Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

Get ready as fourteen of the world’s best wake-boarders descend on Liverpool for Red Bull’s Harbour Reach. The Albert Dock will play host to the most challenging setup yet, using industrial features to create a competition that pushes the rider’s agility and creative thinking to the limit. The competition will feature a series of heats from 2pm, before the semi and grand final which is scheduled after 4pm. 

Tate Liverpool Extended Opening Hours,  Free & Ticketed | 8th June, 10am - 8pm, Last Admission 7pm , Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 4BB

Discover for free the beautiful and dream-like works of Chagall, pay a visit to the shop and cafe and explore the ground floor Wolfson gallery display Moira Davey during this exclusive extended opening hours.

Tickets for Chagall cost £10 or £7.50 concession. Visit Website

Balloonatic, Free | 8th June - 9th June, Performances Between 12 noon - 5pm , Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ & Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG

This wonderful balloon-art act will help transform your day. Decorating people with incredible hats, giant costumes and hilarious balloon toys you’re sure to have a laugh. 

Craft Workshops Free | 8th June - 9th June, Between 12 noon - 5pm, Unit C7, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

as creatives, Spiral Arts and Unity Theatre bring a set of wonderful crafty workshops to get your creative juices flowing. Fun for all family, come along to make your very own flags, hats, ships and boats. 

Dockwatch Free | 8th June - 9th June, 11.30am - 4pm , Seized! UK Border Force National Museum Inside Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ

Take a closer look at the creatures in the waters of the Albert Dock with a team of museum experts and the Border Force underwater camera. Visit Website

Liverpool International Canoe Polo Tournament. Ticketed | 8th June - 9th June, 9am - 6pm Sat, 8.30am - 3pm Sun , Dukes Dock, Gower Street, Liverpool, L3 4AS

This will be the 24th tournament organised by Friends of Allonby Canoe Club. So if you are a canoe polo team from Great Britain or Ireland come along and compete. Novice to elite paddlers in different classes are welcome as well as spectators. Teams wishing to compete should visit the web.

Pre-book your place Visit Website

Meet Sniffer & Smugglebuster. Free | 8th June - 9th June

12.30pm - 4pm, At Intervals , Seized! UK Border Force National Museum Inside Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ

Look out for a larger than life sniffer dog and his handler as they search around the museum. Visit Website

Nutkhut With Princess & Maharajah, Free | 8th June - 9th June, Performances Between 12 noon - 5pm , Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ & Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG

Adorned in beautiful drapes and jewels this Princess oozes style, elegance and grace. Alongside is a Maharajah, an archetypal Indian King, regal and opulent in both stature and attire.

Stalls In The City, Free | 8th June - 9th June, 10.30am - 5.30pm , Liverpool ONE, Thomas Steers Way, Liverpool, L1 8LW

This summer there will be fabulous arts and craft fairs at Liverpool ONE. There will be independent artists, designers and makers bringing a selection of everything from handmade gifts and bespoke jewellery to fine art and prints. Visit Website

Water Animation & Safety, Free | 8th June - 9th June, 11am - 5pm , Salthouse Dock & Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

The Maritime Volunteer Service will be on hand during the weekend providing water safety. Watch as they animate the docks with their maritime skills. Visit Website

Queen Liz & Sir Walter Raleigh, Free | 8th June - 9th June. Performances Between 12 noon - 5pm , Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ & Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG

Royalty, scandal, intrigue! Meet Elizabeth, a noble monarch handsome and towering in her striking regalia, accompanied by the somewhat overshadowed and henpecked Sir Walter Raleigh. This contrasting comic duo is more Blackadder than Royal Shakespeare Company

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Free | 8th June - 9th June, 11am - 5pm , Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1BY

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is joining the Mersey River Festival for the weekend. Why not pay their gazebo a visit for a selection of maritime themed fun and activities? Free

Swank – Joyous Jamboree, Free | 8th June - 9th June. Performances Between 12 noon - 5pm , Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ & Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG

Be guided by Val Keen and Babs Eager as they lead the general public into riotous pack participation. Come and join these good time guides in their monstrously merry movement. Whether ‘Ging Gang Goolying’, or simply ‘Doing My Best’, everyone is a badge winner.

Urban Canvas Giant Pavement Art, Free | 8th June - 9th June, Between 12 noon - 5pm , Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG

A fantastic opportunity to be inspired and help create a piece of artwork on the pavement. With chalk at the ready, be part of something big! 

Van Dunk Brothers, Free | 8th June - 9th June. Performances Between 12 noon - 5pm , Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ & Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 1DG

Armed with a chest full of trunks, swimming caps, goggles, armbands and verruca cream, the boys will delight crowds with their award-winning dry-land synchronized swimming display. Marvel as the boys perform the routine that won the brothers the gold medal at Burnley Baths Swimming Gala, using only a kitsch soundtrack, physical comedy and two bottles of still mineral water.

Yakovlevs Aircraft Acrobatics, Free | 8th June - 9th June, 3pm Sat & 2pm Sun , Over The River Mersey

Flying authentic Russian aircrafts, watch in awe as the display team perform precise, yet graceful combinations of tight formations and exciting aerobatics, high speed passes and breath-taking crosses.

Anywhere along the Liverpool waterfront will provide a great vantage point to watch the aircrafts.

Zap Cat Racing, Free | 8th June - 9th June, Times TBC , River Mersey

Watch as the River Mersey comes alive with the exciting motorsport of intense powerboat racing. Hugely popular with families, pop along and witness the thrills and spills of this energetic and exciting sport.

World Music Stage, Free | 9th June, Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1BY

A World Music Stage will be at the heart of the Pier Head, where a selection of authentic African, Indian and Arabic music, dance and performance will be played out for all to enjoy.

Brouhaha International Carnival, Free | 9th June, 11am - 12 noon , Liverpool Big Wheel, Albert Dock & The World Music Stage At The Pier Head

Brouhaha International brings the colours and sounds of the Liverpool International Carnival to this year’s River Festival. Showcasing large scale carnival puppets and costumes watch as the waterfront is animated with the unmistakeable atmosphere of carnival. Visit Website

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Free | 9th June, 12 noon - 5pm , World Music Stage, Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1BY

Hip-hop and Arab dance artists from The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival’s programme join city artists for this spectacular riverside event. Visit Website

Sights & Sounds Of India, Free | 9th June. 12 noon - 5pm , World Music Stage, Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1BY

From explosive Bhangra performance to mellow classical sounds, the flavour of both North and South India is brought to the Mersey River Festival courtesy of Milapfest. Nachda Sansaar are a Bhangra troupe with style and their dynamic Dhol drumming and exciting choreographies will have you dancing in no time! If you’re after a bit of relaxation, the Tarang ensemble present the perfect tonic with chilled out grooves performed on an array of beautiful Indian instruments. Visit Website

Steam Tug Daniel Adamson, Ticketed | 7th June - 9th June

There is also a chance to see the Steam Tug Daniel Adamson as it celebrates its 110th birthday. A special vintage bus will be running from the Albert Dock to its berth in the North Docks for specially guided tours of ‘The Danny’.


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Lex IconJune 8th 2013.


1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 8th 2013.

Yeah, fancy having aircrafts during a display of rivercrafts It'll really confuse the publics!

AnonymousJuly 8th 2013.

All the senseless bloodshed could have been avoided if the organisers had staged a hovercraft display. When will they learn? - The Man With Too Much time On His Hands

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