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Cars, colour and carnival: SIRF19 gets off to a flying start

02 August 2019

THE festival spirit was ratcheted up last night (Thursday, 1 August) with a rainbow of cars strung out on a line, an exotic brass band, and a dance-circus display in a uniquely urban structure.

Image of Sirf 19 festival

What was the launch show about?

Stockton International Riverside Festival began with an early evening launch as street artists and strolling bands brought colour and sound to Stockton High Street.

Generik Vapeur's DrĂ´les d'oiseaux et Art Blaxon invited audiences to follow a troop of 20 performers and seven cars as they paraded along the High Street. As the cars were splashed with brightly coloured paint, hundreds of people packed into the town centre to watch the full throttle creation of a giant rainbow. This washing line of multi-coloured cars will remain for all to see over the weekend, swinging gently in the breeze.

The evening was complemented by the heady and hypnotic sounds of Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band followed by WILD - a daring new production from dance-circus company, Motionhouse.

WILD's dynamic choreography and acrobatic movement through a forest of metal poles explored the disconnection with the natural environment - and whether nature still shapes people's behaviour.

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: "The spectacular launch evening got SIRF off to a flying start with three excellent and diverse performances in the heart of Stockton town centre.

"The launch event always creates an inimitable atmosphere because it's the start of a really special weekend packed full of interesting, original acts from across the globe. There will be plenty in store throughout SIRF to keep people of all ages and interests entertained and we're looking forward to welcoming you all."

The launch looked great! What else is happening at SIRF this weekend?

You're in luck as WILD can be seen again today at 1.15pm and 4.15pm.

And with over 40 companies performing at SIRF19 there's a huge variety of fun, family-friendly and quirky performances to enjoy today, Saturday and Sunday with most of the action starting at 1.15pm each day.

SIRF19 will go out with a fitting finale on Stockton's Riverside at 9.30pm on Sunday night. Theater Tol are set to give a spectacular aerial performance of Hotel Watercage which portrays the battle between head and heart.

Check out the full SIRF programme and plan your festival experience at