THE countdown has began for one of the biggest events in the Tees Valley - Hartlepool's Waterfront Festival.

Organiser have announced the vibrant programme that will take place in three weeks.

This year’s Hartlepool Waterfront Festival, organised by Hartlepool Borough Council, takes place on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday August , 28 and 29 from 2pm to 10pm at The Waterfront, adjacent to the town’s marina.

Tickets can be booked at www.hartlepoolwaterfrontfestival.com and the festival will operate on a “pay-what-you-decide” basis, with visitors being asked to pay after the event based on the experience they have had.

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There will be a wide range of arts, music and entertainment suitable for the whole family.

Inspired by local and North Eastern folklore, this year’s festival theme is ‘REBIRTH,’ with acts from across the country brought together to celebrate, worship and be joined with the Goddess of Festivals. This will entail giant tarot cards, walk-about worshippers and weird and wonderful performances.

Festival-goers will be able to enjoy performances taking place across the three themed stages: The Moon Stage, The Campfire Stage and The Happenings.

Aaron Bowman, the Council’s Event Manager, said: “It will be an incredible sight to have performers back on our stages with real life audiences, all to welcome the return of the festival goddess!

“For many months, her followers have been preparing for her return and this August Bank Holiday, she is reborn, here in Hartlepool. Expect ancient traditions made new, as folklore becomes truth and rhyme and myth become reality.”

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome back the people of Hartlepool, the Tees Valley and beyond to our flagship summer event, especially after the many sacrifices they have had to make during the pandemic.

“There will be so much to see and do in our fantastically varied programme, with something for all tastes ranging from the exhilarating to the reflective. It will be a truly memorable and special event.”

There are several particular highlights. Prior to and during the festival, internationally renowned artist Luke Jerram will take over Seaton Park at Seaton Carew with his new touring artwork In Memoriam, a temporary and poignant memorial to all those lost during the Covid-19 pandemic. The installation will feature 120 flags made from NHS bed sheets arranged in the form of a medical logo. In Memoriam is also intended to be a tribute to NHS staff who have risked or lost their lives during the pandemic.

On Saturday, festival-goers will be able to relive one of the greatest albums of all time, live and in its entirety. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ will be performed by Transatlantic Ensemble on the Moon Stage at The Waterfront. The show has sold out multiple dates across the UK.

The following day, the Moon Stage will host a performance by The Futureheads, a post-punk band with a national following who have released five critically acclaimed albums.

The festival, which has previously attracted crowds of up to 15,000, is being supported by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority with £30,000 as part of the Tees Valley Festivals 2021 Recovery Fund, which aims to help businesses, communities and visitors plan with confidence by investing in a vibrant and responsible programme of festival activity.

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