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Fiery pre-show fun for all the family

A KALEIDOSCOPIC parade, fiery performances, street entertainment and creative workshops are on offer for visitors to enjoy ahead of Liverpool’s River of Light music and fireworks spectacular.

Taking place on Sunday 5 November, plans are in place for special pre-show performances suitable for all the family.  Located on The Strand (near the Albert  Dock entrance) up to Princes Parade (where the cruise ships berth), visitors will be able to enjoy a range of entertainment running from 5 to 6.30pm, along with a Family Hub at the Mann Island Atrium which is open from 4pm. 


From 5pm, Spark! will take over an area near the Pier Head with a high-impact LED drumming act, combined with kaleidoscopic lighting. Expect an interactive, mesmerising performance which is set to captivate the crowd.

Local arts organisations Bring the Fire Project and Katumba return once again for 2017 with a bigger and better showcase of their fire drumming skills, in a performance called A Journey Through Time. Expect loud drums, pyrotechnics, fire breathers stilt walkers and acrobatics starting from 5pm and 5.45pm on The Strand (by Albert Dock entrance) and Princes Parade and 5.15pm and 6pm at the Mann Island amphitheatre. Each performance lasts 25 minutes and is a different show in each of the three locations.


Spark! will take the lead for the carnival-style parade, starting at Mann Island at 5.45pm and continuing along The Strand, with a finale at Princes Parade at 6.30pm, leaving visitors in a prime position for viewing the fireworks.

And don’t just be an on-looker – get involved by heading to Mann Island Atrium for lantern making workshops from 4 to 5.45pm with the Lantern Company, and proudly display your finished creation. The workshop costs just £4.50, but spaces are limited so will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

Street Entertainment

The Pier Head’s grassed area (in front of the Mersey Ferry Terminal) will play host to visual artists Halo, which will wow crowds with a spellbinding LED display taking place at 5pm, 5.35pm and 6.10pm.

Yet another visual treat will be provided by the Lantern Company as some of their illuminated, surreal creations roam the waterfront throughout the evening.

Family Hub

Mann Island Atrium will open its doors from 4pm – as well as the lantern-making workshops, there will be UV and glitter face painting on offer courtesy of Fabarooney helping people brighten up their night!

The Open Eye Gallery’s hugely successful FREE Light Painting Workshop returns for another year from 4pm to 6.30pm. It gives visitors the chance to get creative and discover that by taking a photograph with a long exposure time, you can capture shapes drawn in the air using a torch, laser pen or bright light, creating a unique masterpiece!

Pre-show family entertainment will also be on the Wirral side of the water at the New Brighton Promenade.  There will be activities, entertainment, food and drink, along with performances from Bring the Fire Project and Katumba, illuminated street entertainment and UV face painting.

Liverpool and Wirral’s main fireworks shows will start at 6.30pm and is expected to finish around 6.45pm. A number of food and drink stalls will also be available at Princes Parade and on the Pier Head.

Both sides of the Mersey are set to be lit up as Liverpool and Wirral councils have commissioned Titanium Fireworks – regarded as the best fireworks company in the UK – to design their displays.

For the Liverpool audience, the fireworks will be set off from huge barges floating near the water’s edge on the Mersey, and will be accompanied by a soundtrack played from key areas and venues along the waterfront.

For the Wirral audience, the fireworks will be set off from Perch Rock New Brighton. Both displays will be accompanied by the same soundtrack.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “I’m delighted with the quality of the pre-fireworks street animation on offer this year. We want to encourage the whole family to come along before the main show, enjoy the amazing entertainment on offer and then watch the fireworks which are set to be some of the biggest we’ve seen in Liverpool.

“It really will be a feast for the senses and we hope that residents and visitors alike wrap up warm and head to our world heritage waterfront to enjoy this free spectacular.”

More information on the event, in terms of vantage points, a map of activities across the site and advice on travelling to see the fireworks, will be added to www.riveroflightfireworks.co.uk soon. Why not join in the conversation on Culture Liverpool’s Facebook and Twitter social pages using the hashtag #RiverOfLight.

Important note for those attending River of Light:

  • From 5pm on Sunday 5 November, The Strand will be closed from Liver Street to Chapel Street. Liverpool ONE’S QPark will remain accessible during this time, with the road expected to reopen as soon as possible after the event.
  • Viewing areas across the waterfront may be closed once full. The advice is to arrive early.

River of Light’s Presenting Partner is The LECCY – Liverpool Energy Community Company, set up by the Mayor of Liverpool to offer low cost gas and electricity to people.


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