Sunderland unveils four day festival for the Tall Ship Races 2018

Written by on 11th May 2018

Sunderland has unveiled a four-day festival line up as the city prepares to host the international Tall Ships Races 2018.

As start host port for the event, the city will welcome 55 sailing vessels and their crews along with an estimated 1.5m visitors from 11th to 14th July.

For four full days, crews, locals and visitors can enjoy everything from fairgrounds and markets to live music, art workshops, exhibitions and displays – along with the chance to explore the real stars of the show; the ships themselves.

Performers from around the globe will join homegrown talent for a series of spectacular shows at event zones around the city. 

The festival will kick-off on Wednesday 11th July when all ships taking part in the races will be lined up in the River Wear, with crews including young people from Sunderland and around the world.

In the evening the city will turn out in force to welcome the Tall Ships to their home town with a Welcome Parade that will traverse the Port and Town Moor – through the streets of what was once the largest shipbuilding town in the world.

Stilt dancers and electro drummers will accompany the parade which will end with a prize giving ceremony and firework display at the port.

Entertainment highlights include a Extraordinary Bodies – a circus troupe of disabled and able-bodied people will defy gravity by spinning high above the crowd on an aerial rig.

Southpaw Dance who perform on a real fairground carousel and a carnival-style crew parade, which will travel from the Civic Centre, through the city, to the riverside.

While, as the sun sets over the River Wear on the Friday, three of the world’s most highly skilled wire walkers will attempt a unique feat of daring and possibly set a world record – by crossing the River Wear on a 30m high, 220m long, inclined high wire without a safety net.

The cultural programme has been produced by Sunderland Culture and its head of performance, Helen Green, said: 

“We are preparing for over 200 events over the course of the festival and will be welcoming local, national and international artists to the city bringing a vivid and exciting array of performances.” – Helen Green 

Current track