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Countdown begins to this year’s Riverside Festival

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Colourful narrowboats on River Soar

PREPARATIONS are getting underway for Leicester’s biggest and best free family-friendly festival.

This year’s Riverside Festival takes place on the weekend of June 1 and 2, and promises two days of fun for all ages along the Mile Straight of the River Soar, Castle Gardens, Bede Park and Western Boulevard.

This year’s festival sees the return of the Broken Records Swing Festival at Castle Gardens, in which visitors can get into the groove with swing dancers, jazz performers and live music from the cream of local soul musicians including KGB Jazz, The Citizens of Swing, Gareth John and Groove and the Bathtub Pings, along with jazz bands from both the city’s universities. The Broken Records Swing Festival is run in conjunction with city music venue The Shed.

Elsewhere, Bede Park will be transformed into a thrilling funfair, while the banks of the River Soar will come alive with a bustling street market, performers, and activities on the river itself, including scores of colourful narrow boats, boat rides and the traditional floating tea shop.

For the second year running, Art On The River is giving local artists, painters and photographers the chance to display and sell their work along the riverside.

And for the first time, three specially-brewed Riverside-themed ales will be served at the festival, including Riverside Blonde, Riverside Copper and Riverside Ruby. All three are brewed by Leicestershire-based Leatherbritches Brewery, and brought to the festival by RA Events Ltd, using re-usable plastic cups to cut down on waste.

Leicester deputy city mayor responsible for culture and leisure Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “Riverside Festival in many ways marks the start of summer in Leicester, and this year it also forms part of the Summer of Festivals programme across the city.

“We are blessed with the River Soar running through the city, providing us with the perfect location for fun on the water and the surrounding areas.

“The swing festival and Art On The River were both popular new additions last year, and I am glad to see them returning.”

The event is part of the city’s Summer of Festivals programme, which brings together 10 varied events and festivals taking place across Leicester between May and September.

It includes street art festival Bring the Paint, Riverside Festival, a celebration of Mod culture in the Revive Festival, One Giant Leap’s commemorations of the 1969 Apollo Moon landing, the Caribbean Carnival, De Montfort Hall’s Gigs in the Garden programme, cycling showcase Ride Leicester, the Leicester Belgrave Mela, City Festival and the city’s celebration of LBGT culture, in Leicester Pride.

For more details of the Summer of Festivals, visit or