Riverside Festival takes place this weekend at Nottingham’s Victoria Embankment, from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 August 2023.

The biggest free family festival in the East Midlands is expected to welcome 150,000 visitors alongside the River Trent over the weekend, offering a wide range of entertainment and activities for all ages.

Riverside Festival has always championed world music that you wouldn’t usually expect to see in Nottingham, and this year is no exception with the Awale Jant Band bringing Senegalese soul, deep hypnotic grooves from Soothsayers, popular chaâbi riffs and Berber melodies with Tiwiza, and a fusion of contemporary Congolese and Cuban music by Grupo Lokito.

The festival also has a folk music pedigree, with the BBC Radio 2 Folk show previously describing the roster as “the best free folk stage line-up in the UK”. This year we see artists including: Kootch, weaving toe-tapping tunes with stories of love and loss; seasoned folkie Marc Block; the alluring and playful Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage; Americana folk duo The Black Feathers; and Sound of the Sirens performing co-written songs from emotive ballads to foot-stomping anthems.

For fans of more contemporary music, the Bandstand stage sees a diverse range of up-and-coming new talent from Nottingham and further afield. Artists include: Goodgoodbye, a new Nottingham-based evolving jazz pop project; reverb-soaked, alternative quartet Bored Marsh; local poets Sophie Diver and Cheska; atmospheric indie-folk project Grain Mother; and indie pop/rock band Kelsey & The Embers.

There’s lots more including local DJs on Friday evening, supported by saxophonist El Sax, as well as choral groups and even a jazz band.

A mile-long stretch of fairground rides, games and attractions will be situated along the banks of the Trent, plus numerous street food vendors, bars and market stalls. River-based activities including Dragon Boat Racing will return, which raises thousands of pounds for charities each year.

One of the most popular elements of the festival is the firework display. The ten-minute spectacle, which sees crowds of up to 40,000 lining the Trent to watch, takes place on both Friday and Saturday night at 10.30pm.

On Saturday and Sunday, in the Little Big Top area, younger festival goers will be able to brush up their circus skills. The interactive workshops will feature stilt walking, plate spinning, juggling, novelty bikes and space hoppers. Wolly the Clown will also perform two family shows with his hilarious physical comedy and breath-taking stunts.

Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “The music programme looks fantastic for this year’s festival with something to suit everyone, from world and folk music to up-and-coming Nottingham artists. I’m proud that we can host a wide variety of local performers at Riverside Festival, showing the talent that Nottingham has to offer and giving them the opportunity to perform to new audiences.

“Alongside the music stages there is also so much more to enjoy including free entertainment and activities for all ages. We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors from near and far at the Victoria Embankment this weekend, for what is sure to be a highlight of the city’s summer season.”

Festival opening times

Friday 17:00 – 23:30      
Saturday 12:00 – 23:30
Sunday 12:00 – 18:30         

Stage line-ups

Monument Stage

19:15    Soothsayers
21:15    Buffo’s Wake


13:15    Awale Jant Band
15:15    Tiwiza
17:15    Kasai Masai
19:15    Banco De Gaia
21:15    Achanak


13:00    Cajun Roosters
15:00    Noga Ritter
17:00    Grupo Lokito

Big Top Stage

18:00    Tommy K
19:00    Damian Wells x HAZE
20:45    IMZZ
21:00    Fever x Jez Prince

Supported by El Sax


12:30    5 Hills Out
13:15 & 14:25    Del Scott Miller
13:40    Winter Wilson
14:50    Kootch
16:00    Marc Block
17:10    The Lost Notes
18:20    Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage
19:30    The Black Feathers
20:50    Sound of the Sirens


12:00    Fun Chorus
13:15 & 14:25    Carlton Male Voice Choir
15:50 & 17:15    Cranberry Flick

Bandstand Stage

19:00    Jimmy Evans
20:00    Goodgoodbye
21:00    Bored Marsh


13:00    Harpa
14:00    Louie Walsh
15:00    Sophie Diver & Cheska
16:00    Chaos Bleak
17:00    George Gadd & The Aftermath
18:00    Jonny Olley
19:00    Grain Mother
20:00    Cam Mannix
21:00    Idolising Nova


12:00    Brad Dear & The March
13:00    Jiminil
14:00    Katie Keddie
15:15    Ben Mark Smith
16:15    Kelsey & The Embers

Little Big Top

Saturday 13:00 – 19:00
Sunday 13:00 – 18:00

Travelling to the festival


Book your car parking in advance for just £8 per car (it’s £10 on the day). The car park is accessed from Queens Drive (A453) and will be signposted from the A52 and the A60. The postcode for the car park is NG2 2GJ.


Plan your journey by NCT or Trentbarton buses. For just £8 the Grouprider ticket allows unlimited travel on all NCT buses for up to 5 people (max 2 adults). After the fireworks, frequent shuttle buses will operate from Victoria Embankment back into the city centre.


The closest tram stop to the festival is Meadows Embankment, which is a stop on the Clifton Line. Change trams at Nottingham Station if coming from Toton, or jump off at Meadows Way West if you don’t mind a slightly longer walk. Trams will operate every 10 minutes. The £8 Group ticket allows all day travel for 5 people (up to 2 adults and 3 children). You will be able to use all the Park and Ride car parks to get a tram to the festival.