Bournemouth prestigious arts and music event, Arts by the Sea Festival, returns this weekend with a bumper line-up of unique sound and art installations, musical performances, exhibitions and theatre.

Tonight marks the start of the 11th edition of Bournemouth’s free-to-attend festival, which will take overt the town centre and the seafront from the next three days.

Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to see and when.

What is Arts By The Sea?

Arts By The Sea is an annual festival celebrating creative and artistic forms across all medium. The event returns to its physical format following a part-physical-part-virtual festival last year, which was impacted by the pandemic.

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What is the theme this year?

The artistic theme for Arts by the Sea 2021 is ‘Connect’, fittingly chosen now friends, families and loved ones can unite.  As a strand running through the 2021 festival programme, the theme will explore the concept of the human being as a fundamentally social creature—a tribal animal—while highlighting the importance of celebration, festivity and connecting with others. 

Where can I see these installations?

Various attractions will be dotted around Bournemouth town centre, including Horseshoe Common, Westover Gardens, the Bandstand and Pier Approach.

A special exhibition will also be in the Russell Cotes Museum, the South Coast Makers Market will be held in Bobby’s and Co and a special light installation courtesy of Romain Trady on sandbanks Beach.

What are the attractions to look out for?

There are many must-see attractions just announced for this year’s festival. Intimate sound art experience Cloudscapes by Gobbledegook Theatre will welcome guests at Lower Gardens to lie back on giant beanbags, look up and contemplate the mutability of clouds, as well as the mutability of humanity.

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Through a set of headphones, the piece is guided by the soothing voice of Dorset performer, Lorna Rees who is also Gobbledegook co-founder and graduate of the Royal Central School Of Speech & Drama.

The Lips by Puppets with Guts is another unmissable attraction. A chorus of delightfully deviant divas take the form of luminous giant lips and can be spotted roaming across Bournemouth Beach and the Bandstand.

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Guests can singalong as The Lips reanimate the nation’s favourite pop songs in a spectacular, pop-puppetry lip sync performance.

Also don’t miss the dazzling large scale light display from video artist Novak which will be projected on the side of the Town Hall in Bournemouth every 30 minutes on Friday October 1 and Saturday October 2 from 7.30pm.

Turn up the music!

Bournemouth’s historical Bandstand in the Gardens is always a focal point at Arts by the Sea.

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On Saturday and Sunday from midday until 7pm, a diverse line-up of musical performances await with highlights including, King Lagoon's Flying Swordfish Soundsystem - an Afro-Latin-inspired band that will not only bring irresistible rhythms to make hips shake, but the addition of the 'Aroma Wizard' to create an evolving palette of exotic, uplifting scents to complete the experience.

Fans of party-starting DJ sets should check out the empowered female collective FRAU DJs who’ll spin everything from Blondie and The Cure to Drake and Destiny’s Child.

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And for those that like to let loose, Remix Reeling is a must as they encourage audiences to get up and dance, barn dance style, to a unique mix of traditional reels and ceilidh with banging beats and basslines.

For all performance times, dates and locations, visitors should check out the Arts by the Sea website. The festival is free to attend, but there is an entrance  charge at Russell-Cotes as per the gallery's standard admission process. and