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Brunel’s SS Great Britain & BBC Radio Bristol

Head to the BBC Radio Bristol stage at Brunel’s SS Great Britain for a family weekend of drumming, dance, songs and celebration. Take the picturesque route down the floating harbour all the way to the historic Brunel Square and hear sounds from around the world, including a ground-shaking samba band, Jazz and Funk galore, stomping African rhythms, soulful vocals and more.

This year’s Bristol Harbour Festival will conclude with a 45-minute performance of Handel’s Water Music in the Floating Harbour at 5.30pm on Sunday 23 July. The Bristol Ensemble will perform on a flotilla of boats, with flares marking the finale beside Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

The dramatic performance will mark the 300th anniversary of the first legendary performance of the famous piece. In July 1717, the premiere was given in front of the King and his court aboard a royal barge on the River Thames, so it is fitting that this recreation will take place on the water beside one of Bristol’s most exciting historic landmarks: Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

Roger Huckle, Artistic Director for the Bristol Ensemble, will direct the performance. He said: “This will be a fantastic event, echoing the first performance of the Water Music which took place on the Thames. Our flotilla will set sail from the SS Great Britain, voyaging along the harbourside to the amphitheatre and Museum Square, entertaining the crowds with this wonderful, centuries-old music. It promises to be a wonderful highlight of Bristol Harbour Festival.”

Bristol’s 300th anniversary performance of Handel’s Water Music is possible thanks to public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

A variety of other acts will also be performing on the BBC Radio Bristol stage over the weekend. Scroll through the pictures above for highlights.

Brunel’s SS Great Britain & BBC Radio Bristol