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August 16, 2009

Bristol Harbour Festival achieves record audience figures

Revealing that people are embracing live events more and more as a little light relief from all the economic doom and gloom, Bristol City Council’s flagship event, the Bristol Harbour Festival, attracted its highest ever attendance this year, with an estimated 250,000 visitors over three days.

The annual music and arts festival, one of the largest free events in the UK, brought together local talent and internationally acclaimed performers to create a festival programme that reflects the cultural diversity of the city.

Seven stages ran across the city to offer an eclectic range of music, dance styles of every kind, circus and a new youth area on Redcliffe Wharf, rounded off with a stunning fireworks
which saw in the region of 30,000 spectators as they lit up the Harbourside. The harbour was adorned with visiting tall ships, craft and bunting, including the Kathleen & May, TS Royalist and newly restored steam craft the Irene.

“The festival was a fantastic success across every element, we knew Sunday morning that we were heading for record figures and that is what we achieved,” said Phillippa Haynes, head of arts and culture for Bristol City Council.

“The atmosphere, the fireworks,  and the range and quality of the talent on show have made the festival an integral part of Bristol’s event’s calendar.”

Highlight of the festival included soul legend Candi Staton, who took to the stage on Friday night to an audience of 5,000, and Saturday night’s headliner V V Brown, who pulled in an estimated 15,000.

The festival’s Dance Village hosted performances from national and international acts, featuring every type of dance from ballet to break-dance, Bollywood to ballroom, modern to contemporary. The Dance Village, supported by NHS Bristol’s Dance 4 Life campaign, entertained and amazed with special guest appearances from the American Ballet Theatre and the Netherlands Dance Theatre.

The ever popular circus stage wowed the crowds with two days of astounding and entertaining acts programmed by one of Europe’s most creative and diverse circus programmers Cirque Bijou.

“We had so many great performances across the weekend, something for everyone to enjoy, and the sun shone all day on Sunday,” added Haynes. “It was the Bristol Harbour Festival we know and love!”

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