Masts, music and Mersey merriment

Liverpool’s hugely popular maritime festival is back and offers a packed programme of fabulous free family fun.

The International Mersey River Festival and Music on the Waterfront takes place from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 June, and will see tens of thousands of people head to the waterfront.

Highlights include a fleet of vessels which will be open for visitors to explore at set times across the weekend – these include two year old naval vessel HMS Dauntless, the Tall Ship Mercedes, tug Daniel Adamson, historic schooner Kathleen and May, the University of Liverpool Research Vessel, the Border Force’s customs cutter Vigilant and the square-rigger Zebu.

The Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust will be bringing along four Tall Ships crewed by young people aged from 14-25years who are learning all about life on the seas aboard the Lady of Avenel, Maybe, Pelican of London and 2041 – The Yacht.

On top of that there will be around 12 Dutch barges to admire as part of a special rally that will see the largest convoy on the Leeds-Liverpool canal for many years.

Walking tours, Yakovlev Air Shows, model boat displays, flyboarding, Zap Cat racing, have-a-go water sport sessions, the 25th International Canoe Polo Tournament, a special Brouhaha parade, field gun displays… there really is something for everyone!

Craig charles Soul and FunkAnd if that wasn’t enough, live music across the weekend will provide the perfect soundtrack thanks to the Music on the Waterfront line-up. Starting on Friday evening with a homecoming DJ set from Craig Charles, there will be performances across the weekend from The Christians, Rhydian, Jaki Graham, Esco Williams, the Band of HM Royal Marines Scotland and Rat Pack Live. Russell Watson will also perform as part of the River Festival itself, on board Tall Ship Mercedes.

For the full programme of all events, times and locations, and to download a copy of the brochure, visit

Assistant Mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Liverpool excels when it comes to putting on events, but there is always something special about those activities which focus around our docks and on the River Mersey.

“There is a packed programme of events across the weekend which will bring our beautiful waterfront to life and we’re expecting thousands of visitors to descend and make the most of everything on offer.

“There is so much going on, that whether you’re a maritime fanatic, music fan or generally just looking for a great couple of days out – the International Mersey River Festival is the place to be. And best of all, it’s completely free.”      

Peter Cronin, director of development and marketing for Albert Dock Liverpool, said: “The Mersey River Festival is one of the city’s great success stories, and once again Albert Dock Liverpool is delighted to be working closely with the city council to create a truly spectacular event.

“We look forward to being at the heart of the action and to welcome people from all over the world to experience our historic waterfront at its very best.”

There are still a few spaces left for the raft race on Sunday 15 June which will see groups of friends, families, work colleagues or community groups build what they hope will be water-worthy rafts, don eye-catching costumes and be part of one of the most entertaining events of the festival.  To register to take part, or for more information, email race organiser Major Mike Jessermino on

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Liverpool Waterfront