New community parade plan for RiverLight Festival to be held in Sleaford this summer

There is going to be a new look and new date for this year’s RiverLight Festival in Sleaford.
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Last year’s spectacular arts event was held in the autumn and was impacted by the wet weather to some extent.

This time the finale day is to be held on Saturday June 22 from 10am - 8pm and this time there will be a grand parade through the town too.

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Lucy Lumb, Visual Arts Development Coordinator at The Hub said in her latest report after a meeting of parties involved: “We'll be inviting specific groups and schools to participate in the parade, and more info about this will follow in the new term in April. School workshops are likely to be scheduled in June, in the lead up to the parade.

Street performers at last year's RiverLight Festival in Sleaford.Street performers at last year's RiverLight Festival in Sleaford.
Street performers at last year's RiverLight Festival in Sleaford.

“We're all feeling very positive and excited about it - it promises to be another fantastic event.”

As well as the finale, there will be a festival fringe week running from June 15-21 with supporting activities building up to the big day

The main location will be Sleaford town centre with surrounding villages being considered for fringe activity and community engagement.

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RiverLight is supported by North Kesteven District Council and the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) to strengthen social fabric and foster a sense of local pride and belonging, enhance physical, cultural and social ties and increase access to amenities such as community infrastructure, local green spaces and community-led projects.

Marion Sander from the Hub added: “RiverLight showcases the best of Sleaford and shines a light on all the creativity that flourishes here. We want an exciting and uplifting event programme that celebrates this area and brings our communities together.”

The festival programme, artworks, commissions and installations are hoped to attract lots of visitors and locals into the town, develop local pride of place and celebrate the culture and heritage of Sleaford and the River Slea.

North Kesteven Walking Festival also takes place from June 15-30, so the organisers are looking at opportunities to connect with this, run activities that support and promote both events, and look at joint marketing opportunities. Visit

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The community parade, new for this year will involve a rolling road closure, with local schools and groups taking part in costume-making and dance workshops for the parade. Schools and groups are invited to get in touch if


Starting at Boston Road Recreation Ground the parade will head up Southgate, turning through the Market Place, into Carre Street and into Navigation Yard, finishing on Eastgate Green with some dance performances and other surprises.

This is expected to start at 3pm taking 30-40 mins to reach Eastgate Green.

Finale acts and activities will continue to take place at Eastgate Green and the Riverside Precinct, along Southgate and near to Sleaford Museum. There will also be activity outside Sleaford Leisure Centre at East Banks in the form of an Eco Village, at the Nettles arts space further along the river bank and at Cogglesford Mill, putting the river will truly sit at the heart of the festival.

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The Market Place is not scheduled to be used this year due to the planned enhancement works there, and there is no live music planned at the Rewind Bar at the request of the owners.

Marion said: “We want to keep as much activity outside as possible - with a few wet/hot weather venues to relocate activities if needed inside.”

Community activities planned so far include:

  • A billboard art commission from Sleaford-based Ellie Benton with accompanying exhibition at the Carre Gallery.
  • Flags project with Sleaford-based Ruth Burrows.
  • Insect trail with Sleaford-based Emily Cartwright and students from Kesteven and Sleaford High School.
  • Kindness tokens installation with locally-based Hannah Price.
  • Mini flag workshops at the Hub.
  • A vinyls flower trail.
  • Hub-led craft-making flowers and decorations for Eastgate Green.
  • Watermills and windmills workshops and installation with locally-based Mark Clarke.
  • Photography exhibition at Cogglesford Mill with Sleaford-based Jon Pear.
  • Mishap Theatre’s project with Mosaic Youth Hub (TBC).
  • Rainbow Stars and Martyn Bignell working together for the parade.
  • DJ sets with #4EBT local DJs.
  • Music programme to include programming of young bands, folk music performances and busking spots around town for acoustic sets and choirs.
  • Islamic Centre, Bedehouses, Interflora open days (TBC).
  • Eco Village activities and stalls.
  • Unify Dance performance.
  • DJ set at the Barge.
  • Ladies Choir concert in St Denys.
  • Youth dance performances.

Complementary projects supported by other UK SPF funding will include a trip boat on the River Slea; a new children’s story book with Rose Feather, about the castle; Will Lindley drawing commissions of the castle for a town centre temporary installation; and an Adrian Riley heritage stories installation (location TBC).

The programme of performances will include dance, theatre and walkabouts such as Casson and Friends, Swan in Love, Spring-a-Lings, Handmade Theatre, Hikapee Theatre, Circus Starlight, Rhubarb Theatre, Dance Free silent disco and more.

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Fringe events so far planned include a high impact circus act on Sunday June 16, a have a go with Slea Paddlers, guided walks for the NK Walking Festival and a Sing Lincolnshire choirs event in St Denys’ Church on June 15.

One-NK Cycle Hub, NKDC and Sleaford Climate Action Network are proposing to organise an Active Travel event to promote the use of walking, cycling and public transport. The event is proposed for June 15 which is at the beginning of the RiverLight fringe and the North Kesteven Walking Festival and coincides with the end of National Bike Week, Great Big Green Week.

Sleaford CAN is hoping to organise a film festival during the RiverLight Fringe week based at Sleaford Playhouse. The festival would show a series of climate related films and the Eco Village will be at East Banks on June 22.

There may also be a Summer Solstice walk and picnic on Castle Field led by Mark Bamford of Sleaford Museum.

Festival programmes are expected to be ready for circulation at the end of May, along with roadside banners.