BUCKLE UP. The sixth annual Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival returns this weekend from October 8-15.

Expect the unexpected with all manner of quirky and eclectic acts and a menagerie of performers lined-up for 2016.

Events will include pyrotechnic experts, Walk The Plank, who will be firing up the town centre, gardens and beachfront tonight from 8pm with their interactive Sea of Freaks Torchlit Procession.

This will culminate in The Inferno - a fiery stage featuring Mr Wilsons Second Liners - a brassy 90s rave ensemble not to be missed.

Meanwhile, the internationally acclaimed Compagnie Des Quidams’ will bring their metamorphosing horses in Fier A Cheval, to close the eight day spectacle of dance, performance art, classical music, theatre, art, workshops and fun activities for all the family.

Festival director Amanda Barrie says: “The 2016 Arts By The Sea Festival has a bigger enhanced programme providing the opportunity to view and participate in original and inspiring pieces of work. We are delighted that Bournemouth continues to develop its autumn arts and culture programmes, bringing in ever more innovative and inspiring talent to both indoor venues and outdoor spaces throughout the town.”

The musical offering ranges from The Correspondents, Dizraeli and The Plastic Mermaids to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Balkan beats band, Tantz. Critically acclaimed mime comedian Trygve Wakenshaw , poet Luke Wright and comic performer Liz Aggiss will all be appearing during the Arts Festival alongside massive, seafront spectaculars provided by outdoor arts specialists.

Club loving families can go to the legendary creative Big Fish Little Fish event , kids will love playing Giant Musical Hangman in the town square , dressing up as explorers and flying away on Pif Paf’s Flycycle Submercycle.

Elswhere stunning feats of design, circus entertainment , aerobatics and acrobatics come in Highly Sprung’s The Urban Astronaut and The Wheelhouse by Acrojou.

The festival, which is funded by Arts Council England and Bournemouth Borough Council, promises to be a spectacle of dance, performance art, classical music, theatre, art workshops and fun activities for all the family.

One of this weekend’s highlights will be pyro experts Walk The Plank firing up the Triangle, Gardens and beachfront with the Sea of Freaks Torchlit Procession, culminating in The Inferno - a fiery stage featuring brassy 90s rave ensemble Mr Wilsons Second Liners.

New initiatives for 2016 include Sounds By The Sea —to be experienced at a number of locations, including the bandstand in The Lower Gardens.

This initiative is a fusion stage of artists as diverse as the folk duo Jack Maguire & Don Kipper, the Caribbean-inspired Merry Makers Steel Pans Band and local legends, the Mother Ukers.

Also fresh this year is an emerging talent programme for artists and composers – which has involved online open calls for visual artists - while a series of workshops for the live event is being organised for budding journalists, writers and rising samba stars—all lead by renowned experts.

“This year’s varied line up is perfect for Bournemouth – the fusion of music, dance and performance in iconic locations and the emphasis on participation is a really exciting mix for 2016,” says creative producer Roxy Robinson.

“This year is going to be all about intriguing encounters in beautiful places, and getting involved—so make sure you keep checking our website for more info.”

Bournemouth Arts By The Sea Festival 2016 will be the most interactive to date—audience members will be taking part in the opening parade, while the Russell-Cotes Museum is encouraging people to take part in its free Visions & Voyages tours, and there are various other participatory opportunities throughout the event.

Festival organisers are also working with a number of other local businesses and organisations, including the BSO; Pavilion Dance South West; Bournemouth University; Art University Bournemouth; Yellow Buses; The Shelley Theatre; Bournemouth Libraries and Bournemouth Natural Science Society & Museum.

For further information and a full line up of acts, visit artsbythesea.co.uk, or facebook.com/BournemouthArtsFestival.