The first peek of Festival of the Sea’s 2024 programme has been released, following a successful award of £49,000 from Arts Council England and it’s packed with events that will guarantee a great day out for people of all ages, and families.

For the last three years, the festival has drawn thousands of visitors who have enjoyed activities, discussions, and performances about the town’s historic links with its sea-faring past. This year the activities stretch along Grimsby’s waterfront from Garth Lane bridge to Heritage Square, between 11am and 5pm.

An ambition of Festival of the Sea is to move towards a zero carbon, green agenda. As a result, the company Stagebus is providing a solar-powered stage where host Adam from Go Entertainment and young talent from Grubby Knees will introduce acts. 

The exciting programme of activities, performances, guided walks, installations, and workshops includes: 

  • Save the Sea activities with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. This national charity operates in Grimsby to raise awareness of marine mammal rescues. There will be marine-themed crafts and a competition to win one of their soft cuddly marine animal toys.
  • Ready, Set, Sail! introduces the first poetry game show, where five contestants write and perform flash poetry in five rounds, each themed around the festival. Contestants will have two minutes to write a poem based on a unique prompt, perform it while accompanied by a live music band, and the audience will vote for their favourite, with winners of each round receiving prizes.
  • Caution SeaHorses, alter ego of lowercase theatre, is a folk-pop-rock indie trio known for its live performances and three-part harmonies. Its upcoming performance will showcase acoustic renditions of sea shanties and local songs, accompanied by light-hearted sea-themed entertainment.
  • Heritage Lincolnshire will present Memories of the Sea workshops. These sensory workshops for ages 8-11 are being run in collaboration with Linkage Community Trust's sensory bus. They will delve into storytelling and Grimsby's maritime heritage. There will also be drop-in activities for all ages, exploring memories of the historic docks and fishing heritage through vox pops and written recollections. 

As the programme is being finalised, organisers Swans Events highlighted how its team had worked with a steering group, made up of local people who are all passionate about Grimsby’s history. And it was their community spirit that had a real influence in creating this year’s festival.

A steering group spokesperson said: “We’re thrilled to be joining the festival steering group for a second year, it feels our input is truly valued. This year's line-up is fantastic, featuring bespoke work tailored for this area, along with loads of exciting community engagement opportunities. It's inspiring to witness new collaborations forming within our community, both locally and nationally.”  

The festival has been supported by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund, as well as Arts Council England – backing that has been welcomed by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage, and the Visitor Economy, Cllr Hayden Dawkins.

He said: “Grimsby has a rich heritage, built on the sea. Festival of the Sea is a great example of how we can use arts, fun and culture to bring this heritage to life. I want to personally thank everyone involved for making this possible. We are all looking forward to another fantastic event.”

Festival of the Sea is a free event, but booking may be needed for some activities.