Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 09.15.04STOCKTON International Riverside Festival came to a glorious close with a crescendo of music and fire filling the town’s Trinity Gardens – making for a very different and beautiful end to the festival.

Thousands of people gathered on Sunday 2 August to watch the grounds around Trinity Church transform into an immersive display of fire, light and music on a grand scale with large moving sculptures, fire flowers and swinging chairs before closing with a haunting combination of music and pyrotechnic effects.

The dramatic finale rounded off four days packed full of spectacular theatre, circus, dance and music in Stockton Town Centre.

Between Thursday 30 July and last night’s closing show, Stockton was host to the annual colourful Community Carnival and more than 100 national and international shows, from dramatic aerial performances to small scale intimate shows.

At the very heart of this year’s festival was the theme of ‘Instant Light’, a magical tale of how Stockton became a festival town – all inspired by a story commissioned from author Sara Maitland.

The tale of John Walker’s friction match invention was told in performances throughout SIRF15 and weaved through it the magic of the circus to create a mythical version of how the festival might have come about.

French fire artisans Cie Carabosse completed the Instant Light story with their specially crafted finale masterpiece.

Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “Stockton International Riverside Festival has really put Stockton on the map for the variety and standard of extraordinary performances available right here on our doorstep.

“The weekend has been a fantastic success and has brought together communities from the Borough and further afield to celebrate the town and the imaginative Instant Light story with such creativity.

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this year’s SIRF and to the crowds of people who came from near and far to enjoy the shows.”

Festival goers turned to social media to express their delight and enjoyment of the Festival:

  • @confuddledangel – Absolutely loved the finale @SIRF_Stockton, well done! Amazing sights in the fire garden
  • @DazNEUK – Spectacular end to a brilliant @SIRF_Stockton Thanks to the organisers and artists for an event to be proud of
  • @rainbowbryte – @SIRF_Stockton best thing I’ve seen at a festival in years!
  • @browbands1 – What a FAB weekend @SIRF_Stockton can’t wait til next year! Trinity fire gardens was BEEAAAUTIFUL
  • @holg8 – Amazing finale @SIRF_Stockton perfect end to a great festival!

SIRF is supported by Arts Council England.