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Stockton International Riverside Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stockton International Riverside Festival
GenreArts festival
Begins30 July 2020
Ends2 August 2020
Years active34
Most recent2019

The Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) is an annual outdoor arts festival in Stockton-on-Tees, England.[1] It includes British and international performers.


The first Stockton Riverside Festival was founded by Frank Wilson and the first festival took place in August 1988.[2] Now known as the Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) it has grown into an internationally famous event that attracts thousands of spectators.[3] In 2015 founder, Frank Wilson, was awarded an MBE for his services to the festival arts in the North East, recognising the impact the festival had made to Stockton.[4] In 2017 SIRF celebrated its 30th anniversary.[2]

Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival

In 1991 local musicians collaborated to start the Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival as a companion event to SIRF. It grew from a small, free, one-stage, one-day fringe event that was intended to showcase local talent to become, by its tenth festival in 2010, a multi-stage, paid for event headlined by as Calvin Harris.[5] From 2011 onwards, it was produced by the Tees Music Alliance in collaboration with Stockton Borough Council and it was renamed the Stockton Weekender. It was headlined by Maxïmo Park in 2011,[6] The Pogues in 2012,[7] Primal Scream in 2013[8] and by Public Enemy in 2014, which would be its last year. Following the festival, Tees Valley Music Alliance announced that it would no longer be organising the festival as it had failed to sell enough tickets to cover its costs and considered it to no longer be financially viable.[9][10]

Festival Programme

Since the mid-1990s SIRF has been regularly funded by Stockton Borough Council and since 2012 the council has received National Portfolio Organisation funding from Arts Council England to the value of approximately £200,000 per annum.[11] The Festival Programme is delivered by a dedicated team employed by the local authority.

Festival Directors

Director Years Active Notes
Frank Wilson MBE 1988-2012 Frank was the founding artistic director of the festival and he stepped down in 2012.[4]
Jan Doherty 2012-2018 Jan started working on the festival in 2005 and succeeded Frank in 2012.[12]
Jeremy Shine 2019–Present Jeremy was appointed in 2018 to succeed Jan Doherty.[13]

Community Carnival Programme

The SIRF community carnival programme commissions artists to engage with local schools and community groups supporting them to create costumes, carnival structures, music and performances, interpreting an annually agreed theme, which then become a vibrant and colourful procession through the centre of Stockton starting at noon on the Saturday afternoon. By the 2016 festival this had grown to 1,211 participants, spread over 49 different community groups. Previous carnival themes have included:

Year Theme Notes
2004 Crinolines In The Jungle[14]
2015 Instant Light Inspired by the Stockton born John Walker inventor of the friction match.[15]
2016 Mythical Lands and Fantastical Creatures A theme to explore myths and tales of weird and wonderful places throughout history.[16]
2018 Fizz, Bang, Pop A birthday theme for the 30th anniversary.[2]
2019 Tales of the Tees Valley Part of the Great Place programme designed to celebrate the Tees Valley.

External links


  1. ^ "SIRF | Stockton International Riverside Festival once again transforming the centre of Stockton for four fantastic days with the finest street theatre, circus, dance, music and pyrotechnics from all over the world". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Whetstone, David (26 July 2017). "Stockton makes a spectacle of itself". nechronicle. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Stockton International Riverside Festival - News, views, gossip, pictures, video - Teesside Live". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  4. ^ a b Blackburn, Mike (13 June 2015). "Founder of Stockton International Riverside Festival honoured along with chair of Tees Valley LEP". gazettelive. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Stockton Riverside Fringe Festival 2010 -". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Stockton Weekender 2011 -". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Stockton Weekender 2012 -". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Stockton Weekender 2013 -". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  9. ^ "A Fond Farewell... Thank you and Good Night". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  10. ^ Hetherington, Graeme (29 August 2014). "Time called on Stockton Weekender music festival". The Northern Echo. Newsquest. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  11. ^ "The data: 2018-22 | Arts Council England". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Theatre: Viv Hardwick talks to SIRF's artistic director Jan Doherty about creating an arts festival which high wire walks above all the rest". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Total Theatre". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  14. ^ Live, Teesside (18 July 2004). "Riverside Festival 2004". gazettelive. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  15. ^ "SIRF Carnival 2015 – BCT Aspire". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Join SIRF Community Carnival 2016!". Stockton Borough Council. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
This page was last edited on 2 August 2020, at 22:10
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