The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre were delighted to welcome thousands of people through their doors and into the city centre over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th July as people from Newport and the surrounding areas came along for the 10th annual BIG SPLASH. The city centre came alive with colour, music and laughter as some of the most exciting performers and groups from across Newport, Wales and the UK transformed Newport into one giant outdoor stage after a three year break due to COVID restrictions.
The whole of Newport was buzzing with activity – and Saturday highlights included the Grumpy Unicorns, the surprisingly different Falconry Dismay, Hippochondriac and the Great Insect Games in John Frost Square. Meanwhile over in the Riverfront itself there was heaps of arts and crafts to do including a Newport Bus creative zone, parked right outside, and the Flying Start Under 5s Zone up on the first floor, which even included a sand pit. In the studio theatre, “How to defeat monsters” was a popular family show on both Saturday and Sunday, and the roving pigeons a huge success too.
Other zones included The Newport Now Zone, the University of South Wales, and the circus stage right outside the Riverfront. Not forgetting the late night takeover at the Westgate Hotel, by Ladies of Rage taking the Big Splash from fun family festival to party central, and proving that it really does cater for everybody, and every taste.
On Sunday highlights included Barracwda, a delightfully noisy and exuberant band roving all around the city centre from the Riverfront right the way to the Newport Now Zone by Commercial St. Dandyism was another popular act, bringing in crowds at Usk Plaza and from the balcony at John Frost Square, with an eclectic mix of comedy, satire, music and dance. If any one spotted a ladder at various intervals too, they probably watched Unstable Acts, performing at several locations and times over the weekend – a dare devil act, which definitely went down a treat with the crowds. Riverfront After Dark took place at the Le Pub, once again providing late entertainment taking the big splash party well into the evening.
In addition to the fairground rides situated next to the University building, another popular Big Splash attraction for kids was the face painting, in John Frost Square, which was jam packed all weekend long – definitely adding to the festival atmosphere.
Gemma Durham, Head of Theatre, Arts and Culture for Newport Live said……
“The Riverfront, and the Big Splash team would like to thank our funders and supporters, without whom Big Splash wouldn’t be possible. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend, one which we believe was our biggest and best yet!
Thank you very much to Newport Live, the Arts Council of Wales, Newport City Council, Friars Walk, Kingsway Centre, Newport NOW, Western Power Distribution, Horizons / Gorwelion, Le Pub, Forte Project, Age Cymru, Arts & Business Cymru and Sports Wales for your continued support.“
To relive the festival have a look at their social media channels, Twitter @BigSplashFest and Facebook. You can also tag them on Instgram using @NewportLiveUK or @RiverfrontArts if you have any footage or feedback you’d like to share with them.