Ahoy there!

Festival of the Sea once again brings you free entertainment from talented artists, performers and musicians and invites you to take part in heritage walks, talks and tours.

Take a look below at what’s on and set sail with us on a great day out!


Voices of the Sands


Friday 15 July 7pm, Grimsby Minster

Free Voices of the Sands is a dramatic music recital featuring three voices and a harp, revealing mythical stories of those who have travelled and perished there across the centuries, as well as evoking voices of seals and birds for whom Goodwin Sands is a place of refuge. Drawing on sea shanties and folk tales, this suite of music is as shifting as the sandbar itself, made all the more atmospheric by the excellent acoustics of Grimsby Minster.

Composer: Michael Betteridge
Librettist: Rebecca Hurst
Director: Lucy Bradley
Voice 1: Sarah Dacey
Voice 2: Sarah Parkin
Voice 3: Suzie Purkis
Harp: Esther Kate Swift

This concert will be opened by local young musicians, who have been working with Michael in partnership with NEL Music Hub in schools. They will also be joined by NEL Music Hub’s group Elite Voices, interpreting sounds and tales of the sea.


More than 2000 ships have sunk on the Goodwin Sands, a 10-mile long perilous sandbank at the southern end of the North Sea, lying 6 miles off the Kent coast.



Highly Sprung

Drowning under a crushing mass of plastic, the Keeper of the Waterways awakens and rises up. It’s time for change.

Highly Sprung’s CastAway is a stunning outdoor performance that explores the impact of today’s throwaway society on our waterways. Featuring a unique gyroscopic flying machine, the show makes us feel like we are in an underwater world where performers dive, twist and float high in the air…to captivate audiences of all ages.

The Wave


Cue water-fights, floor stomping, songs and slapstick mayhem!

The pirate ship, Wave Goodbye to Your Sanity, has been lost at sea for weeks, or perhaps years? Crewed by three buffoonish, broken, musical playing sailors, they need your help on a journey of incredible highs and sudden lows as they battle against the stormy seas.

Music, colour bombs, and lots of falling over! Join us aboard as we share a tale of isolation, love, loneliness and hysteria. A perfect party for kids big and small. Come along, bring your water gun and sing your heart out!

The Tide

Talawa Theatre

Unknown land, new arrivals, boarded doors and a suitcase full of hopes, dreams and aspirations. The Tide explores the stories and experiences of migration within the UK while reflecting back an evolving British culture.

The Tide is a Talawa Theatre Company, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, and Breakin’ Convention co-production.



Kitsch n Sync

Three mermaids are washed ashore, dancing in unison (despite their flippers) but losing their tempers easily…welcome to the surreal world of Babs, Stella and Bedraggled!

Madame BonBon and her manservant, Nobby


Madame BonBon is a barking mad royal personality, sweeping through the town, imparting accusations as vehement as they are bewildering and compliments as barbed as they are humorous. Her faithful retainer, Nobby, was once a Shakespearian actor, a popular singer and a vaudevillian comedian. On request Nobby performs heart-rending song, clever jokes and elegiac poetry. With her world-weary existentialist musings and pointed innuendos, Madame Bonbon leaves an indelible mark on your perspective.

Meet the Funnels


When the time is right Carbuncle, Adams and Cognac pop up from inside to interact with the crowds, this comical Victorian trio then invites audiences to join in with their games, fun and frivolity.The playful Funnels are characters in their own right and stand out in a crowd whether they are standing still, dancing, tooting their horns or playing follow the leader they are guaranteed to draw attention and surprise people.

Lion Fish


Can fish walk on land? Be enchanted as our larger than life Lion Fish -Lionel and Leona-surface and wander through a sea of people, who will be delighted with every graceful motion and cheeky gesture. Watch their authentic colourful outfits come to life with stunning light displays on their fins and decorated sea stilts and listen to the sea as it washes over you.



Two Oxbridge ‘mature’ graduates just love to have a punt and, having left the river, and now gleefully meander the streets debating life and how splendid it all is on their electric powered road punt. They are both charming, love to read Wordsworth’s poetry and are the epitome of romanticism. They interact with the audience seamlessly and can cover a good distance as they move through the town.

Octopus Ocean

Circo Rum Ba Ba

A life size octopus riding a tricycle can cover a lot of ground. Avoid being tickled by its eight tentacles or hope that the two aquabatic fish swim from the seaweed and come to your rescue. The shimmering fish love to entertain and show off their daring feats of aquabatics.

Deep Sea Divers

Larkin' About

Get under the sea with two stilt walking divers, whose only means of communication are hand signals and written wipe boards sending hilarious miscommunications. Keep an eye out for them inside their Victorian diving helmets, adorned with crustaceans and fish, and help them explore the waterfront.

The Admirable Admirals

Rhubarb Theatre

Hoist the flag and shout Aye-aye! RhubarbTheatre’s Admirable Admirals will be dropping anchor at The Festival of the Sea. Nelly and Bones are here to bring their salty sea-dog songs to any unsuspecting passers-by. So hold onto your fancy hats, cause there’s a huge splash of hilarity heading into port near you!

Be Prepared


Val Keen and Babs Eager are here to lead everyone into riotous pack participation. Come and join these good time guides in their monstrously merry movement. Everyone is a badge winner. Dib dib for jolly good fun with the Guides!

Grimsby Fishermen

Earthbound Misfits

Join Captain Codswallop and First mate Fishfinger as they step ashore Alexandra dock, prepare to crane your neck as they don their sea legs and set sail around the banks of the river Freshney. They will cast out their nets and trawl the paving slabs of their home town Great Grimsby. In a search for the catch of the day they will be throwing back minnows and hoping to haul in a leviathan.

Future of the Seas

Procession Through Town

A gondola made from the flotsam and jetsam of modern life will sail through the town centre, accompanied by flocks of seabirds.

Seabirds Make and Take Tent
Children can get creative and make a seabird headdress, before taking part in the procession led by a giant sea god, and a live band.

Where do all the boats go?

Illuminated Film

The team behind the hit ITV children’s animation, The Rubbish World of Dave Spud, are working with young people from local colleges to explore how to create animation and voice-over in response to the question ‘Where do all the boats go?’.

Vessels can be seen daily sailing up and down the Humber estuary and this project will enable young people to understand how Grimsby is connected to the world using data from local marine industries, and their work will be shared at the festival and online.


Jason Singh

Beatboxer and sound artist, Jason Singh, will perform a live vocal score to John Grierson’s silent black and white film Drifters from 1929, using beatboxing and vocal sculpting.

John Grierson was an influential Scottish documentary filmmaker, often considered the father of British documentary. Premiering in London alongside Battleship Potemkin in 1929, Drifters follows North Sea herring fisherman through their dramatic daily routines

Using techniques of pre-recorded vocal sequences, live vocals and sampling, Jason will conjure a sonic backdrop of ambient textures, experimental atmospheres and rhythms created solely by the use of the voice to accompany the film.

With thanks to the BFI.



Boom Bike Bourrée

Boom Bike Bourrée brings a joyous mix of Medieval dance music and hip hop beats. A four piece line-up of hurdy gurdy, beatbox, accordion and trombone with a dose of sub bass.

Mambo Jambo

Mambo Jambo (Pete & Frankie) will be taking you on a lively, upbeat sea voyage; across the seas from the Scottish Islands, to Caribbean Islands, Cuba, Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans, featuring all sorts of instruments from banjo, sax, accordion, steel pan to suitcase and spoons!


Enjoy high energy music made for dancing courtesy of world fusion band Celtarabia. Experience a wild fusion of Arabic, Andalucian, Celtic, Medieval music and contemporary beats, featuring traditional instruments, such as Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammered Dulcimer, Cittern, African and Arabic Percussion and Didjerido, plus bass guitar and vocals.


The Singing Mermaid

Rhubarb Theatre

The Circus has come to town and old Sam Sly the Circus Master is looking for a new act… a singing mermaid! Will she be tempted by fame and fortune, join Rhubarb Theatre for this interactive story, where we bring seaside and circus to Grimsby!

Music Workshop

Mambo Jambo

Come and join Mambo Jambo for a fun sea-themed music workshop! We’ll be singing, trying out some percussion & body percussion, and a bit of rapping! No experience needed and instruments will be provided. Suitable for ages 4-8 years and their grown-ups.

Waterways Walk and Talk

Canoe River Cleaner

10am-11:30am and 1pm-2:30pm
For ages 5 – 11, plus parents + carers

Join the Canoe River Cleaner for a fun walk, talk and nature i-spy for kids. Meet on Garth Lane bridge and enjoy a circular walk as James explains his work and offers an informal chat about wildlife in the area. Each child will get an i-spy activity sheet so they can tick off all the plants and animals they find along the way.
After a quick stop off at the Pavilion cafe and a duck and swan feed, the group will stroll back to Festival of the Sea!


From The Haven to the Docks

Walking tours with Emma Lingard

Grimsby: From The Haven to the Docks, telling the story of the town’s connection with the water and exploring early trade and how the port developed and why it moved further out from the old town. It will start at the Riverhead and finish at Corporation Bridge, taking in The Haven, River Freshney, and Alexandra Dock.

Tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm – limited places, must be booked in advance, lasts one hour.


Water Rats

The Grimsby and Cleethorpes Water Rats are an open water swimming club based on Alexandra Dock, on the ‘other side’ of Corporation Bridge.

The club is a community amateur sports club, run on a voluntary basis with members covering all age ranges and abilities, from novice and recreational swimmers to serious athletes. This includes people training for specific events including triathlons of all distances and English Channel attempts, as well as beginners to the sport, social swimmers and people just wanting to improve fitness or maintain their health and wellbeing.

See the Water Rats in action on the day as part of Festival of the Sea and feel free to make enquiries about joining in the future!

Paddle Boarding Lessons

Ebb & Flo

Lessons at 10am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm. Consent forms will need to be completed on the day

If you’ve not had a go at paddle boarding yet, here is your chance – in Alexandra Dock! Join either an introductory lesson (wet suits available), or if you have experience already hire a board, or opt to take part in SUP (Stand Up Paddle) history tour all while soaking up the festival atmosphere!

Visit the Ebb and Flo site for more information and to book sessions at the above times, with limited places available on the day.


Exhibitions at Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre

Fish ‘n’ Quips explores the events of the First and Second Cod Wars with a display of over 40 satirical newspaper cartoons, on loan from the Embassy of Iceland in London. The exhibition features many original pieces from some of Britain’s best newspaper cartoonists, collected by Niels P. Sigurðsson, Ambassador of Iceland between 1972 and 1976.

Sea to Sail explores the historical connections between Grimsby and the famous Billingsgate Fish Market, and how these two iconic areas developed thanks to the fishing industry. The exhibition features historical items loaned from the Fishmongers Company and Billingsgate Fish Market, including a replica of the 1272 Fishmongers’ Company’s first Royal Charter, alongside objects from the collections of Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre.

Produced by Walk the Plank and The Culture House, and supported by Grimsby Creates – which is funded by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport via the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England.

Thanks to our headline sponsor for the Festival of the Sea 2022.

Huge thanks to all other sponsors and partners including DFDS, Arts Council England, Without Walls (The Culture House is a member of Without Walls touring network giving audiences in Grimsby access to contemporary work created especially for the outdoors), Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby Minster and all the participating artists, companies, suppliers and volunteers.