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SIRF is back - and back with a bang!

31 May 2022
Gratte Ciel’s large scale spectacle, Totem launching SIRF 2022

Gratte Ciel’s large scale spectacle, Totem launching SIRF 2022

Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) returns this summer for the 35th time, promising to be bigger and better than ever!

The world-renowned festival will once again be wowing crowds in Stockton Town Centre from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 August after a two-year hiatus due to Covid.

But it's worth the wait as this year's SIRF promises a jam-packed programme with four free unmissable days which will move the hearts and minds of our loyal audiences with high quality circus, dance, music and outdoor arts for all the family.

The festival launches in dramatic fashion on the Thursday with the joy and thrill of Gratte Ciel's large scale spectacle, Tawa.

As live music fills the air, aerialists and acrobats will spin in a spectacular explosion of colour on Stockton's Riverside with incredible acts of human strength and resilience.

And there'll be plenty more on offer as SIRF brings together some of the best international artists and performers from across the world, with a mixture of both small and large scale shows for people of all ages to enjoy.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: "SIRF is the Borough's hugely popular signature event and has been greatly missed over the last two summers, so I'm sure the festival's return will be welcomed by all.

"After an incredibly tough couple of years people will be ready to celebrate - and this year's SIRF will give them plenty of opportunity to do so! Stockton High Street, Trinity Gardens and Riverside will be alive with music, dancing, and the sound of communities getting together and enjoying our much loved festival.

"In addition and in partnership with Canal and River Trust, we are delighted to present a special international showcase at Tees Barrage as part of the charity's 10th Anniversary. Harmonic Fields, by Lieux Publics, is an ambitious installation of 500 wind instruments, creating a fantastic and unique musical experience for audiences as they navigate through the landscape.

"There is also an interactive family show Ear Trumpet by 'Gobbledegook and a spectacular fire performance by Entre Terre Et Ciel.

"To be able to bring friends, neighbours and visitors together once again will be so special and it's going to be a truly memorable festival. You don't want to miss it, so keep your diary free from August 4 to August 7 and your eyes peeled for more SIRF announcements coming soon!"

New to this year's festival, SIRF Green - based on the corner of Bishop Street and Thistle Green - will tantalise tastebuds with a range of food outlets serving flavours to suit every taste, from gourmet brownies and flapjacks, to Korean food, vegan dishes, cocktails and alcohol-free mocktails.

As well as delicious street food, SIRF Green will be home to the Festival Village where people can relax and enjoy chill-out activities in a tent - aka "The Tentickle" - between shows, enjoy a picnic of their own, and watch live music and entertainment on the Garden Stage throughout the weekend.

The much-loved SIRF Community Carnival moves to Sunday this year for a day-long celebration. The theme is 'Everything under the Sun', and the Carnival will see hundreds of young people, adults, community members, musicians and street performers dance and sing their way along Stockton High Street in a sea of colour and music on Sunday 7 August.

The vibrant procession will make its way through the Town Centre to the Riverside from 1.15pm where the party will continue throughout the day.

SIRF is supported by Arts Council England.

For all the latest information visit the SIRF website.

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Photography credit: Declan Colohan Photography