Riverside Festival will be back 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.

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 has raised thousands of pounds for charities over the years.

Music has always been at the heart of Riverside Festival, and this year is no different with a variety of solo artists, bands and musicians performing across three stages.

The Monument Stage programmes world music performances that are not usually seen in Nottingham, including exciting and innovative global beats. Headliners Buffo’s Wake take to the stage on Friday evening, armed with accordions, violins and a bucket full of gusto, supported by the Afrobeat and reggae-inspired Soothsayers.

Saturday will welcome: Senegalese soul band Awalé; Tiwiza, offering a fusion of popular chaâbi riffs, Berber melodies and a distinct rock’n’roll spirit; Soukous band Kasai Masai; Balkan beats from Vienna with Hotel Balkan; and six-piece bhangra group Achanak.

Closing the Monument Stage on Sunday will be: the Cajun Roosters, European purveyors of Cajun and Zydeco; Noga Ritter, whose music fuses Hebrew jazz with global grooves; and Grupo Lokito offering contemporary Congolese and Cuban music.

On Friday, the Big Top Stage is host to DJs playing a variety of music (line-up to be announced). The emphasis shifts on Saturday to celebrate folk music, and this is widely acclaimed to be the best free folk stage line-up in the UK. The acts performing are: 5 Hills Out, who deliver songs with an upbeat Agit-Folk edge; Del Scott Miller and his folk-blues-jazz vibe; Winter Wilson performing original songs; Kootch, weaving toe-tapping tunes with stories of love and loss; seasoned folkie Marc Block; tongue-in-cheek The Lost Notes; 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.

On Sunday, visitors can enjoy performances on the Big Top Stage from choral groups Fun Chorus and Carlton Male Voice Choir, and the seven-piece jazz band Cranberry Flick.

Local artists will take to the Bandstand Stage across the weekend, including singer-songwriter Jimmy Evans, writers/poets Sophie Driver and Cheska, and bands such as Goodgoodbye, Cam Mannix, Katie Keddie and Kelsey & The Embers.

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 and juggling with Wolly the clown.

Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m pleased to see Riverside Festival return for 2023, staged along the banks of the River Trent as it has been for the last 40 years. People and families of all ages can enjoy free entertainment and activities during the festival. We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors from near and far at the Victoria Embankment, for what is sure to be a highlight of the city’s summer season.”

Festival opening times:

Friday 5pm – 11.30pm      
Saturday 12pm – 11.30pm    
Sunday 12pm – 6.30pm