After an absence of two years there isn’t long to wait now until Newport Live and The Riverfront’s Big Splash festival which returns this weekend! Kick starting the summer holidays with a bang on Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 July the Riverfront has curated a jam-packed FREE programme for all ages to enjoy across 5 city centre locations.
The Riverfront itself will once again be transformed into family hub Splashtonbury complete with the Flying start under 5s zone, circus skills workshops, a baby rave, poetry workshop with Children’s Laureate of Wales Connor Allen and a range of make and take arts and crafts activities.
The Terrace Stage at the rear of the building will showcase the musical talents of acts from Newport and beyond including Araby, Tobias Robertson, Niques, Wahanda Placide, Codewalkers and many more.
New for 2022 are the Community Stage and Circus Stage. Set at the front of the building the Circus Stage will become home to a wonderful range of Covent Garden Performers. Felicity Footloose will juggle, dance and perform daredevil acrobatics to try and impress her hero Johny, the Loudest Silent Show Ever features a delightful mix of high energy, cartoon-esque physical comedy and circus stunts set to a jazzy electro swing soundtrack and Still… Just the Warm Up will feature silly banter, jugglers and a giant unicycle.
The Community Stage set to the side of the building near the Red Wave will feature special performances from a range of community groups including G-Expressions, The Sparklettes, Barracwda and Operasonic with a Sonic Sing Along.
The River Walkway Zone will become home to Newport Live’s Community Sport and Wellbeing Team who will have a range of sports activities that all ages can join in with. This zone will become home to a Newport Bus kindly donated for the weekend by sponsors Newport Transport with support from Arts & Business Cymru. Hop aboard the static bus and take part in some craft workshop activity. Theatrical acts will also be roving up and down this zone across the weekend including Dave’s Cone Show and Why Are Pirates Called Pirates?
Further down the river walkway is the University of South Wales Zone which will be home to some more of our top festival picks. Outrageous TV host Ceri-Ann Arian will present a highly interactive, comedy, musical theatre extravaganza performed in Welsh and BSL, exploring the Pink Tax ’phenomenon’, consumerism and gender in true musical theatre fashion! Audiences will meet Wilford, planting trees where he shouldn’t, living in his shed and on the run from his past and his arch-enemies slugs in SEED, and three little deer make an unexpected discovery when they stumble across an old, abandoned theatre in the woods in HOOF!. Butetown Arts & Culture Association are inviting the whole of Wales to take part in the iconic Butetown Carnival with their short performance leading into a Carnival procession Dwndwr y Dwr.
The Friars Walk Zone sponsored by Friars Walk is home to two performance areas, John Frost Square and Usk Plaza. This zone will also house the Information Point which will be manned by Big Splash staff and volunteers ready to answer any questions you may have or point you in the direction of what to see next!
In John Frost Square, you will find Grumpy Unicorns who have beef, Hippochondriac starring Hieronymus the hippo who is feeling under the weather, and a pair of gym junkie grasshoppers will encourage you to get involved in the Great Insect Games. Defying Gravity Academy pupils aged 3 and up will be performing fun, family friendly entertainment, and much-loved act from previous Big Splash festivals showgirl Able Mable will return with another dramatic and ridiculous performance this year.
Popping up in Usk Plaza will be The Pigeons pecking, scratching, strutting and feather ruffling and Roo’d the giant kangaroos with their cheeky blend of outback macho and inner-city punk savvy. Another much-loved returning act is Honeymoon Balloon, a live-action cartoon escapade featuring bear traps, sandbags, red carpet reveals plus a 12ft hot air balloon! Another piece not to be missed is Dandyism a dance which explores African Dandyism as a celebration of style and cool as well as a concern for humanism, gender and identity in our increasingly divided society.
The fifth and final zone, the Newport NOW Zone sponsored by Newport NOW, takes over Commercial Street and brings the street to life with musicians, performers and artists from across the city. Presented by Le Pub, on Saturday the Big Splash Busk will bring a range of musical acts all ages can enjoy including a Dino Disco, bilingual family fun with Frantastic and performances from Urban Circle, Foxxglove, Katie Lou, Brightr, Act Happy and many more.
On Saturday Das Clark’s will be bringing people together in Inviting the Neighbours Around to Paint encouraging a spot of creative doodling or profound painting. Performers will also rove this zone across the weekend including From Class to Glass, Barracwda and Dave’s Cone Show.
Closing Saturday evening will be the Ladies of Rage Takeover at The Westgate Hotel. The takeover will see a range of female performers take to the stage including Sam Hussain, Unity, Missy, Baby Queens, Cult of Doris plus many more. Big Splash After Dark will officially close the festival on Sunday as a range of performers take to the stage outside Le Pub including Adam Walton, Fort, Eurekas, Angel Hotel and more performing from 4pm onwards.
This year in order to be more sustainable The Riverfront have significantly reduced the quantity of weekend print produced and have instead taken the festival programme digital giving visitors the opportunity to explore the festival programme using their smart phone and the Loyal Free App! You can download the free app now and start exploring the full weekend programme and planning what you are planning to attend: https://www.loyalfree.co.uk/
Big Splash 2022 has been made possible thanks to the generous support, funding and sponsorship of Arts Council Wales, Newport City Council, Newport Transport, Newport Now BID, Friars Walk, Arts & Business Cymru, Articulture, Le Pub, Melin Homes, Linc, Pobl, Newport City Homes, University of South Wales, Alacrity Foundation and Loyal Free.