Liverpool will be celebrating its Irish links in June as the city’s most popular maritime festival twins with Dublin’s River Festival.
The newly named International Mersey River Festival in partnership with Wild Thang branded clothing & merchandise experts runs from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 June and will have a distinct Irish feel as the two cities pay tribute to each other’s maritime links.
Liverpool will host Irish Tall Ship apprentices to the city as part of the Apprentice Ship Cup 2015 which is brought to the city by Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust. There will be a music stage dedicated to Irish performances and Liverpool will welcome teams from Ireland who will take part in the International Canoe Polo Tournament as well as a whole host of other activities with an Irish flavour.
In return, Dublin will welcome a fleet of vessels from Liverpool and showcase some of the best music and entertainment from its twin city and a series of Liverpool activities will also be planned.
The Dublin event takes place from Sunday 31 May to Monday 1 June.
Event Manager for Liverpool’s International Mersey River Festival, Julie Turner, said: “We’ve been in talks with the Dublin team for nearly a year and I’m delighted we can twin both our events which celebrate all things maritime and music.
“Both festivals are hugely popular and we just felt that it was a really nice nod of mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s heritage if they were somehow linked.
“Liverpool’s event grows year on year and is one of the most popular in our calendar. The mix of beautiful boats on the Mersey right through to the unique street entertainment, displays and music make it a great weekend for all the family.
“And of course it’s free, so Liverpool really is the place to be from the 5-7 June.”
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, said ‘I welcome the ships to Dublin both as Lord Mayor and as Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port.
“I am very pleased to see the close co-operation between the cities of Dublin and Liverpool and this Festival will celebrate the many links between our two cities. I wish all of the sailors a fair wind and a safe journey across the sea.”
The event will see a number of vessels line the Mersey including Tall Ships Morgenster, Pelican of London, Atyla, Bessie Ellen, Irene and Maybe. Resident vessels Zebu, Glacier and Kathleen and May will also be in attendance.
They will be joined by yachts and canal boats, and the Royal Navy will be bringing a Sandown Class Mine Counter Measure vessel which will be berthed at Canning Dock and open to the public across the weekend.
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Village returns to Graving Docks once again. Visitors will be able to see helicopters, recruitment vehicles and diving tanks courtesy of the Royal Navy, and the Royal Marines will be entertaining crowds with unarmed combat and weapons displays. As part of this the Sea Cadets will be performing their field gun window ladder semaphore and club swinging displays.
The FREE June spectacular will also see a return of popular activities including a model boat exhibition and an art exhibition by local artist Anthony Brown, both showcased in in the Cunard Building. A Brouhaha Homecoming Parade, wakeboarding demonstrations, Zap Cats, have-a-go water sports sessions at Salthouse Dock, flyboarding and thrillingly heart-stopping Yakovlevs air display.
The festival’s annual raft race will take place once again and organisers are on the hunt for teams to take part. For more information contact Michael.Jessermino557@mod.uk.
Liverpool will also play host to the first ever Northern Boat Show with a stunning line-up of power boats, cruisers, narrow boats and sail boats exhibited featuring some of the biggest and most popular brands in the marine world. The land-based part of the exhibition is free to all visitors but there will be a £5 entrance fee for the pontoon access. Tickets will be available at http://www.northernboatshow.co.uk/.
And on top of this, there will be the usual mix of street theatre, art and craft workshops and partner organisations including National Museums Liverpool, Tate Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery will all be hosting events across the weekend.
Music on the Waterfront sponsored by Albert Dock Liverpool, is the music element of the River Festival will also return for 2015, with stages being programmed by the BBC, Smooth Radio as well as a special homegrown stage organised by Culture Liverpool. Full line-up details are set to be announced in May.
This year’s event forms part of One Magnificent City, a seven week programme of activities celebrating Liverpool’s internationally renowned maritime history and transatlantic links. It begins on Friday 15 May with the cultural celebration that is LightNight and runs until the weekend of the 4th July when Liverpool will host the UK’s biggest Independence Day celebrations under the banner Transatlantic 175. Throughout the seven weeks various activities will be held which mark the 175th anniversary of Cunard.
In 2014, the Mayoral 100 Club was set up to help fund the International Mersey River Festival.
Last month, dozens of businesses who are members of the club were entered into a lottery-style draw in order to secure the naming rights to the event. Branded clothing and merchandise experts Wild Thang secured the overall naming rights.
Albert Dock Liverpool were also lucky winners and are the official sponsors of the Music on the Waterfront stage.
Laing O’Rourke became the official partner of the education and community participation programme which aims to involve as many Liverpool residents as possible, young and old, before, during and after the event. However, Laing kindly donated their prize to The City of Liverpool College because of their strong educational links.
Andrew Dwerryhouse MD at Wild Thang Ltd
“As a small local Liverpool business employing only 20 people this is a very big deal for Wild Thang so I want to personally thank Mayor Joe Anderson for creating this opportunity that will help our business with publicity and brand exposure across the city region. This we hope will lead to growth in business creating further employment locally.
“This kind of sponsorship would be some way out of our league financially and that’s exactly why it was such a unique opportunity to be drawn on a totally equal footing.
We are a very proud family owned Liverpool company so knew by paying the membership fee and supporting the Mayoral 100 club Initiative we would be reinvesting back into our city. As branded clothing and merchandise experts we have been lucky enough to have been involved in some way or form in every major cultural event that has happened in the Liverpool region over the past ten years.
Peter Cronin, director of development and marketing for Albert Dock Liverpool, said:
“Every year the International Mersey River Festival grows bigger and bigger and it has become a cornerstone of Liverpool’s annual events calendar. Once again Albert Dock Liverpool will be at the heart of the action as we welcome people from all over the world to experience our historic waterfront at its very best. The incredible Northern Boat Show will make its debut at this year’s festival, which is a real coup for the city, while Albert Dock Liverpool is the proud sponsors of the Music on the Waterfront stage, which will attract some of the biggest names in music for an unforgettable concert.
“We are delighted to be working closely with the city council and our waterfront partners to create a truly spectacular event for our visitors in 2015.”
Elaine Bowker Principal of The City of Liverpool College
“As the city’s College we’re delighted to be supporting one of the highlights of the annual events calendar. Through these partnerships we’re able to provide our students with unique opportunities to gain practical behind the scenes experience at world class productions, this not only supports their academic achievements but ensures a seamless transition into the world of employment.”