Everything You Need to Know About Newport’s Big Splash Festival 2023

Newport’s Big Splash festival takes place this weekend (Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July), and here’s everything you need to know about the festival. Zones, acts, timings and accessibility, we’ve listed it all!

What is the Big Splash festival?

The Big Splash festival is the largest free outdoor arts festival in Wales, suitable for all the family to enjoy. It’s an annual event that energises the streets of Newport with festival goers who come in their thousands to be immersed in the fun and excitement of the acts and activities.

Every year the festival has a jam-packed programme of free activities and entertainment for all ages. From live music, circus acts, arts and crafts, storytelling, acrobatics, dance performances, an outdoor cinema, face painting and a fun fair; the festival has something for everyone.

Many events will take place at the 2023 Big Splash Festival including Captive. Photo: Mark Simmons

When is Big Splash 2023?

Big Splash is an annual event returning to Newport on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July 2023. The festival starts at 11am on Saturday until 5pm and 11.30am on Sunday until 4.30pm with additional activity in the evenings delivered by some of Festival partners.

Where is Big Splash?

Big Splash takes place throughout Newport city centre. There will be performances taking place in and on several zones and stages, acts wondering through the streets and jubilance around every corner as the city comes to life with an explosion of colour and vibrant energy.

Prepare to be entertained by the boundless range of theatre acts and activities taking place. The Big Splash programme is now available to view on the Newport Live website, so visitors can start to plan their weekend of festivities.


Programmes will be available at The Riverfront Theatre or from the Big Splash Information Point in John Frost Square. Here’s a quick summary of the different zones and what to expect.

A map of venues for the 2023 Big Splash Festival.

Friars Walk

Based in Friars Walk, on the greenery outside of TGI Fridays, Prezzo and Wagamama you’ll find the Usk Plaza zone. Here you’ll find a juggler on a unicycle, a tightwire on the moon, a supper hooper hula hooping show and plenty more mystifying tricks.

Also, in Friars Walk, just up the steps from Usk Plaza is the John Frost Square zone. This is always a busy zone, attracting crowds all weekend-long, with acts programmed to perform in two areas, on the corner directly outside H&M and in front of Monmouthshire Building Society. The information point can also be located here, where you can chat to the team who can help you navigate the festival and give you information about the unmissable acts.

Gary and Pel bring fun to Newport’s Big Splash festival. Photo: Andy Howells

Newport Now Zone

The Newport Now zone covers a vast area of the festival, including Le Pub, The Place, Waterstones and of course, all the sensational silliness that will be roaming up and down Commercial Street. The next zone not to be missed is the University of South Wales zone.

This year there will be a giant bell tent directly outside the University, which will be home to the literary stage for Connor Curates on Saturday and workshops running all day on Sunday. Other acts will also be popping in and out with lots of Big Splash festivities!

River Walkway Zone

Linking the University to The Riverfront is the River Walkway zone. This zone will mainly be occupied by roaming acts. You’ll see a romantic ride in a 7ft swan pedalo, useless builders juggling their way through the day, hot air balloons in a race to circumnavigate the world and some detectives trying to solve a crime. You’ll also find the fun fair here!

Splashtonbury is part of The riverfront line-up at Big Splash 2023. Photo: Kirsten McTernan

The Riverfront

Finally, there’s The Riverfront Theatre, renamed as the Splashtonbury zone for the duration of the weekend. This zone includes a vast number of activities and performances taking place in and around The Riverfront Theatre, including the Terrace Stage, the Celebrate Stage, Big Splash Boulevard and the Newport Pride bus. Who will be performing?

Connor Allen

From well-known, established artists to smaller community groups the Big Splash has a broad range of entertainment scheduled. Children’s Laureate Wales and associate artist of The Riverfront, Connor Allen, has curated his own Big Splash literary stage for the first year.

With the theme and emphasis on acceptance, Connor has brought together 4 of the top storytellers to deliver interactive sessions suitable for children aged 6+ and has titled it, Connor Curates: Children’s Stories.

Connor Allen presents a programme of events at The Riverfront for Big Splash 2023


Brought to us by renowned dance-circus company Motionhouse, four dancers perform an exciting blend of dance, acrobatics and aerial work inside a large cage, for a spectacular performance titled Captive. Disorientated and shaken, the performers use their skill and instinct to survive in this emotionally charged and athletic piece. This can be found in the University of South Wales zone.

Tin Shed Theatre Co

Tin Shed Theatre Co. have partnered with The Riverfront Theatre to bring you a full line up of Big Splash Events at The Place. Pop into their Festival Makers sessions to make masks, crowns, paracord bracelets and paper crafts.

Eleri returns to Newport for The Big Splash Busk

Big Splash Busk

Organised by festival partners, Le Pub, The Big Splash Busk will be taking place on Saturday from 12-5pm on Commercial Street. The Big Splash Busk is a stage programmed with fantastic local musicians. Some of the acts include Frantastic, G Expressions and Eleri Angharad.

Outdoor Cinema

This year the Big Splash has its very own outdoor cinema! These Pitch up and Picnic sessions invite festivalgoers can bring their own camping chairs, picnic blankets and popcorn to watch some family favourite films. This year they will be screening Toy Story (PG), Moana (PG) and The Greatest Showman (PG).

Frantastic returns to this years Big Splash Festival. Photo: Andy Howells


Based at The Riverfront, Splashtonbury has a timetable of its own! From an acoustic guitar on the terrace stage to a musical parade with a variety of choirs to a DJing and Breakdancing workshop, Splashtonbury has so much to offer and is worth a visit! Accessibility All areas of the festival and performances are accessible to wheelchair users and disabled parking is available at Friar’s Walk and Kingsway car park.

Information Point & Specific Requirements

The festival programme has a symbol next to all the bilingual and accessible performances taking place throughout the weekend. These performances are also listed on the Newport Live website with specific information about accessibility. a. A large print and audio-described version of the programme will also be available at Box Office, or the information point located in John Front Square.

The information point will be manned by a British Sign Language interpreter during different points throughout the weekend. There will also be a Calm Area at The Riverfront Theatre; a quiet space visitors can retreat to for a moment of calm or for anyone who may need a break away from the festival.

If you would like to discuss specific requirements or concerns with a member of staff, there are a variety of ways you can communicate with The Riverfront. Call 01633 656679, email riverfront.boxoffice@newportlive.co.uk or go into The Riverfront and speak to the Box Office team who will be able to assist you. Sponsors The Riverfront Theatre and Newport Live would like to thank the Arts Council Wales, Newport Bus, Friars Walk and Newport BID for their support in helping make the festival possible.

Thanks also goes to Newport City Council, the Mercure Hotel and event partners, Le Pub, TinShed Theatre Co. and The Place for their continued support.

Newport Transport donated a Bus to last years Big Splash Festival. Be sure to take advantage of this years family discounts when travelling to the event. Photo: Andy Howells

Family Discounts on Newport Bus

If you plan to travel to this years Big Splash festival via Public transport, Newport Bus are offering a discounted family ticket from 16th July – 3rd September. They are offering a £5 family day ticket for up to 2 adults and 3 children. Call 01633 670 563 for further details.

More information about the Big Splash festival can be found on The Riverfront’s website: Newport Live | Big Splash

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: