SUDDENLY, Liverpool’s biggest maritime festival organisers have realised that When the Going Gets Tough, the only answer is a Caribbean Queen… The team behind the popular International Mersey River Festival with Kier Group have announced their biggest ever main stage music line-up, with legend Billy Ocean taking the helm as the Sunday headliner. The event runs from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 June, with the popular performer taking to the main stage, which is sponsored by property consultants Willmott Dixon, at the Pier Head at approximately 6.30pm. Billy said: “I’m looking forward to coming to Liverpool next month to play at the International Mersey River Festival. Bring your dancing shoes and be ready to sing along to all my hits and more – It’s going to be a party!” And if one legend for the weekend wasn’t enough, Saturday will see Soul II Soul wow the crowds in front of the Three Graces as the Grammy Award winning group perform some of their well-loved hits. The festival line-up also includes Gwen Dickey’s Rose Royce, popular soul group The Real Thing, R&B singer Shola Ama and adding a bit of swing to the occasion will be local crooners The Wack Pack. The weekend of FREE music kicks off on the Friday night as Liverpool once again plays host to BBC Music Day. From 5pm BBC Introducing will showcase both emerging and established bands, including Natalie McCool, The Sundowners, Claire Macleod, Cavalry, Tea Street Band, Louis Berry and Clean Cut Kid. This special event will culminate with BBC 6Music DJ and Fun Loving Criminals frontman Huey Morgan. Liverpool International Music Festival Academy 2015 graduates will also be showing off exactly why they were the cream of last year’s crop with Xam Volo, Jalen N’Gonda, Amique, Hicari and Harlem taking a main stage slot on Saturday. There are three stages across the River Festival site – the main stage on the Pier Head, Soundwaves stage at Mann Island which will showcase local and up and coming talent and the Ship Stage on board Tall Ship Kaskelot at Hartley Quay which will have an Irish theme on the Saturday, and play host to local artists on the Sunday. There will also be marching music on Saturday and Sunday by the Royal Marine Band of Scotland and one of Liverpool’s loudest groups Katumba. Assistant Mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This is one of the strongest ever music line-ups for the River Festival, and just goes to show that thanks to the reputation and popularity of the annual event, music acts across a variety of genres want to be part of it. “There is a real mix of household names, home grown talent and up and coming acts who will be taking to stages across the waterfront, catering to a wide variety of tastes – and best of all, it’s completely free. “It feels like a real celebration of music, and is the first music event we have staged since being awarded the UNESCO City of Music title which acknowledges the value we place on integrating music in people’s lives. “It is set to be an unforgettable weekend and I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to see a whole host of fantastic events on our World Heritage Waterfront.” The full line-up for the main stage is as follows: Friday 3 June – 5pm to 10.55pm Huey Morgan, Clean Cut Kid, Louis Berry, Tea Street Band, Cavalry, Claire Macleod, The Sundowners Saturday 4 June 1pm to 8pm Soul II Soul, Gwen Dickey’s Rose Royce, Shola Ama, XamVolo, Hicari, Jalen N’Gonda, Halem, Ronnie Herel (DJ set) Sunday 5 June – 1pm to 8pm Billy Ocean, The Real Thing, Wack Pack, Terri Walker, Amique, The Ambition, Charlie C (local DJ) The Guide’s Jay Hynd will be hosting the main stage throughout the weekend. Event Manager, Julie Turner, said: “We are delighted with the line-up we’ve produced this year, and it’s great to be working in partnership once again with the BBC in order to programme the Friday night element. “The River Festival is a fantastic mix of maritime activity and live music and it’s looking like 2016 will be one of our best events to date.” The Main stage is sponsored by Willmott Dixon. Managing Director, Anthony Dillon, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the event, the line-up looks fantastic and better than ever, fingers crossed for nice weather!” For the latest information, visit www.merseyriverfestival.co.uk, follow @Merseyfestival on Twitter or like International Mersey River Festival on Facebook.