Lift-off! RiverLight Festival on this week in Sleaford

An exciting week of activities, culture and creativity has kicked off with a series of fringe events, building up to a festival finale this Saturday.

You raise me up.. The New Street lifting bridge in action heralding the start of the RiverLight Festvial week of river themed arts and activities. EMN-220314-163024001
You raise me up.. The New Street lifting bridge in action heralding the start of the RiverLight Festvial week of river themed arts and activities. EMN-220314-163024001

The festival has been funded by North Kesteven District Council using government Welcome Back Fund money designed to encourage shoppers and visitors back into Sleaford’s town centre and get the area trading and thriving again after the restrictions and anxieties of the coronavirus pandemic.

A programme of events kicked off on Sunday and a festival guide is now available from The Hub and Sleaford Library, as well as by visiting the Hub’s website.

The RiverLight Festival is expected to bring Sleaford to life incorporating arts, performers, dance and music with workshops, activities and installations, guided walks, projections, theatre, pop-up stalls and circus in various locations around the town but centred on the theme of the River Slea.

RiverLight Festival will take you on a journey exploring some of Sleaford's magnificent buildings, spaces and landmarks. Sleaford Islamic Centre is offering an open day for everyone to learn more about the Islamic faith, visit the mosque, ask questions, take part in henna painting and enjoy some Islamic food. EMN-221003-173515001

Sunday saw dozens of families messing around on the river, enjoying have-a-go sessions in kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and coracles courtesy of Sleaford Paddlers club. There were demonstrations of the New Street lifting bridge by Sleaford Navigation trust volunteers and families could make lanterns and decorate fishes to enhance the entrance to The Hub for the main event.

Sleaford Embroiderers were also leading sessions to create little sewn postcards called greetings From Sleaford, which will be displayed in Bristol Arcade. Have a go sessions will continue all week at the Hub, the library and The Source. Marion Sander and Lucy Lumb from the Hub said there are activities for all ages this week, to take part in, listen to and watch including music, culture, heritage and theatre to celebrate the town.

There is a fantastic programme of activities and entertainment throughout this week building up to Saturday’s main RiverLight Festival in Sleaford.

Marion Sander from The Hub, which is leading the event, said things will kick off from 11am in town and from 1pm on Eastgate Green.

OCTO by Dream Engine will be one of teh headline acts on Sunday March 19. EMN-220313-102645001

“There will be performances, market stalls. Pick up or download a programme. There will be at least two performances of the headline acts so people are not too crowded and won’t miss anything.”


Among the highlights will be Octo, an aerial performance by Dream Engine at 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm in the Market Place, while Undivided by William Lindley with Khrisma4 is an artwork projection and string quartet on Eastgate Green at 6.15pm and 7.15pm on Eastgate Green.

There will be activities and entertainment going on at venues around the town including The Source, Rewind Bar, Bristol Arcade, Sleaford Museum and Navigation House. Do not miss Circii’s Giant Pigeons Street Performances. The pigeons investigate everything they come across, with much strutting and feather ruffling. Watch out though, the Pigeons have been known to leave a little ‘gift’ behind them!

Don’t miss Mr & Mrs Pigeon at RiverLight Festival! Photo: Chuck Douglas EMN-221003-170610001

Other performers will be roaming the town, as well as theatre and dance performances at the main locations, plus a pop up market in Millstream Square.

Sleaford Islamic Centre on Station Road is offering an open day to visit the mosque, ask questions, take part in henna painting and enjoy some Islamic food.

Enjoy live music and a picture show of Victorian Sleaford in ‘Music and Memories’ at Navigation House.

You can take part in several trails. There are 37 bridges that cross the River Slea and the ‘Mile of Bridges’ takes you on a trail to find them all. Pick up a trail guide from the Hub.

Mesing about in boats on the River Slea on Sunday. EMN-220314-162858001

Follow Sleaford Museum ‘Artefact Trail’ and learn all about Sleaford’s artefacts and spaces in past times. Pick up your guide from the Hub or Sleaford Museum.

Keep your eyes open on Saturday at 2pm for Rainbow Stars Colour Walk. The Rainbow Stars Hub, in collaboration with Lincolnshire One Venues, will be taking over the Carre Gallery all week, and look out for ‘Poems in Shops’ across the town centre. The poems have been written by the Hub Writers group.

Other highlights in the build up include a Tea Dance with Go Dance from 2–4pm at the Hub on Wednesday. On Thursday from 7–9pm at St Denys’ Church, young musicians from the LMS Sleaford Music Centre will perform with the Pop Choir, String Orchestra, Folk Rock Ensemble, Wind Band, Big Band and the Mash Up Group culminating in a Massed Music Centre Ensemble Finale. Call 01529 308710 to book.

There will also be a RiverLight concert of traditional and contemporary folk on Friday from 7-10pm at The Hub.

The RiverLight fringe event on Sunday around the River Slea and the Hub. EMN-220314-163002001
Sleaford Navigation Trust members demonstrated the New Street lifting bridge in action while families tried out canoeing and paddle boarding on the river. EMN-220314-163013001
You could have a go on canoesm, kayaks and paddle boards on the River Slea event. EMN-220314-163035001
Organisations involved in the event on Sunday included The Hub, Slea Paddlers and Sleaford Navigation Trust. EMN-220314-163046001
All ages involved in the Slea Paddlers have-a-go event on the river in Sunday. EMN-220314-163056001
Decorating fishes in sessions on Sunday to create a Magic River at the entrance to The Hub. Artists Hannah Price and Ruth Burrows (standing), with, from left - Ben Sumner, five, Lyra Swan, four, Emily Cartwright and Reuben Swan, two. EMN-220314-162920001
Sleaford Embroiderers are making postcards to display in Bristol Arcade, entitled Greetings From Sleaford. Have- a-go sessions will be running 11am-3pm in The Hub, the library and The Source this week. From left - Anne Lawson, Lucy Lumb and Sarah Elliott from The Hub and Thora Fleming. EMN-220314-162930001
Paddling on the River Slea. EMN-220314-162940001
The RiverLight Festival is building up to a finale at the end of this week on Saturday. EMN-220314-162951001