Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) is an annual arts festival held in the town of Stockton - and as this year's event kicked off, plenty was to be seen and done (despite the inclement weather).

Having taken place annually since 1988, the festival attracts a large international audience. Hundreds of performers and thousands of visitors attend each year -and even though this is only the second year back after festivals were cancelled for Covid, the town saw a good turnout.

The spirits of festivalgoers were undampened by drizzly grey weather yesterday (Friday, August 4), with Stockton's town centre and Trinity Green playing host to a range of free street theatre, dance, music and outdoor arts.

This is just the beginning, with around 150 acts expected to take place over the weekend, and will be wowing audiences until Sunday, August 6. 

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Stockton's town centre and Trinity Green play host to free street theatre, dance, music and outdoor arts.

Tomorrow, festivalgoers can expect: 

Carnival Parade - Everything Under The Sun. The much-loved SIRF Community Carnival returns to Stockton High Street on 7 August, moving to Sunday for a full day of carnival fun.

SIRF Finale - Mobil Homme by Transe Express. French troop Transe Express bring off-beat rhythmic drumming to the Riverside to draw the Festival to a close in true SIRF style.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Borough Council's cabinet member for health, leisure and culture, said: "It just wouldn’t be summer without SIRF – and we can’t wait to welcome back the Borough’s signature event.

Read more: LooseFest in Newcastle called off due to poor weather

 “And what a return it promises to be for our hugely popular festival which, as always, offers a wealth of entertainment for all the family!   

 “With over 150 performances throughout to entertain, intrigue and excite residents and visitors, there really is something for everybody over the four days of this free major event.

 “This year’s SIRF is going to be truly memorable, with a wide variety of street theatre, dance, music, digital arts and circus, as well as breath-taking aerial acrobatics, to make your SIRF experience something special. You don’t want to miss it!”