After storming September last year with a bumper line-up of music, arts and culture, and gaining a prestigious ‘Best Event Teesside’ nomination in the annual Journal Culture Awards that landed this spring, Hartlepool Waterfront Festival is back for its second outing, with the theme ‘Oh, I Do Like To Be’. After seeing the line-up, we know exactly where you’ll want to be this month.
On Friday 20th July, Hartlepool Borough Council has put together a miniature outdoor film festival, with classics such as Finding Nemo and the Goonies screened alongside a piece from Hollywood legend and former CCAD student, Sir Ridley Scott. Grab a picnic and a cushion and get yourself to Hartlepool Waterfront to see Boy and Bicycle on the big screen!
Following the Friday Film Fest, the festival officially opens on Saturday with a procession from festival friends ‘SIRF’ who are arriving in the town to wiggle, shake and shimmy in a dance and costume extravaganza as they open the festival with a mini-procession across the site. And following their grand opening, the Waterfront Festival programme begins in earnest.
This year, festival organisers have ensured that there’s something for every taste by producing a range of different zones with various activities taking place in each area. The first, the MainMast Stage, is where we’ll see the likes of The Lake Poets, FIKA, Samantha Durnan, Eve Conway and James Leonard Hewitson take to the stage to serenade the days away. Alongside these popular music acts, there’ll be the ever-popular band North Road, as well as Hartlepool perennials in the form of Channy Thompson, Sparkle and Miss Toni’s Academy.
Building on last year’s street food market, Hartlepool Council have hand-selected a group of the best street food sellers that the North has to offer. From Seaton to Sunderland, from Teesside to Tyneside, the line-up is sure to satisfy even the most discerning taste-buds. On top of that, this year they’ve curated spoken-word, acoustic music, and even epic Drag Theatre-Makers Bonnie and the Bonettes as their comperes. If you haven’t seen their smash-hit first show, ‘Drag Me To Love’, then think divas, glitter and neon wigs. Alongside Bonnie and Co. we’re also looking forward to catching Sarah Crutwell, spoken word poet, and Ladies of Midnight Blue with their Afro-Latin percussion and club-like drum rhythms.
One of our favourite aspects of 2017’s festival was the small pockets of hidden experiences, such as the Travelling Treasury, a caravan with a theatre show inside. For 2018, the programme looks fit to bursting with theatre, sculpture and outdoor live art. Not only can we expect a packed programme of artist-led workshops in the Arts Beach, which saw artists directly engage with over 2160 children in 2017, but their Quarterdeck programme promises to set imaginations alight with what’s on offer. Whether it’s a 30-foot inflatable sperm whale, or a solar-powered cinema, a selection of theatre taking place in caravans, or of pair of giant seagulls, there’s sure to be something for everyone in this maritime arts extravaganza.
Local artist, Diane Watson, as well as Bloomin Art, have been commissioned to produce artwork alongside areas of the community to ensure that the festival feels part of the Tees Valley, whilst also ensuring that art can be for all, in any context and in any form. Whether it’s food, cabaret, music or visual art – there’s something for everyone.
Hartlepool Waterfront Festival will take place along the water’s edge between Friday 20th and Sunday 22nd July. Entry to the festival is free to the public and no ticket is required.