RiverLight Festival 2023

Take a look back at Riverlight 2023…

RiverLight is a celebration of Sleaford - its history, stories and unique spaces, with the river at its heart. The festival launched in March 2022 as part of post-pandemic celebrations, and continued with great success in October 2023.

RiverLight is supported by North Kesteven District Council and the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF). It has been funded under the Communities & Place investment priority, specifically 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.

Riverlight ethos:

RiverLight will showcase the best of Sleaford, and shine 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. Our co-produced festival programme, artworks, commissions and installations will:

  • Be inspiring and joyful
  • Be sustainable and ethical
  • Be inclusive and accessible
  • Connect people together
  • Develop local pride of place
  • Celebrate the culture and heritage of Sleaford and the River Slea.

More information will be available soon about plans for this year’s festival.

Looking back at last year’s festival which happened in October 2023

With the River Slea at its heart, a creative trail wound through the town taking in inspiring artworks, performances, street theatre, live music, trails, dance, flash mobs, puppet shows, food stalls and light projections.

The creative programme saw 17,788 engagements with the public across 8 festival days, with an additional 24 community outreach days engaging 3,007 participants, delivered by over 185 individuals.
A vibrant atmosphere increased footfall and trade to the high street and gave many people a special opportunity to express themselves through creativity. In spite of Storm Babet hitting the UK in the days leading up to the festival, the finale day saw all professional acts able to attend, no cancellations and audience and visitor numbers at least the same or greater than in 2022.

Listen to the Song For Sleaford - a specially commissioned piece created by Max Sander and members of Sleaford Youth Club.

Creature Comforts by Feet off the Ground

Treemendous - Walkabout

Windmill Making Workshop participant

Urban Canvas - Chalk Drawing

RiverLight 2023 was co-produced for and by the community of Sleaford. Over 50 partners were involved in bringing the festival to life including, tourist venues, businesses, charities, Sleaford Library, community groups, artists, Council’s, and the voluntary sector.

The festival showed off the immense talents and beautiful spaces that Sleaford has to offer through a synergy of community and professional acts, as well as artist commissions.

To re-live the memories and events of RiverLight 2023, stay connected and updated by following RiverLight on social media @riverlightfestival and keeping a watchful eye on hub-sleaford.org.uk/riverlight.

Unify Dance and Hub Dance Team - Riverside Centre

Out of the Deep Blue by Autin Dance Theatre - Marketplace

This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit the UK Shared Prosperity Fund webpage.

For up to date information follow us on Facebook and Instagram @riverlightfestival

Images by Scott Murray

The Resurrection Machine - Bristol Arcade

Windmill Making with Mark Clarke - Eastgate Green

The Kingfisher Trail around Sleaford

The Usherette by Fettle and Fable

Eastgate Green - Max Sander

Eastgate Green - Lumo ‘Drift’

Eco Village Pedal Powered Cinema

Eco Village - Church Lane Primary School Choir

Henna Tattoos - Sleaford Islamic Centre

Sleaflora by Interflora staff

Dan Fox Sculptures - Navigation Yard

Water Marks Exhibition by Kelly Barfoot - Carre Gallery

Eastgate Green after dark

Jason and His Argonauts - Jason Wilsher Mills

Hub Dance Team Navigation Yard

Jason and His Argonauts - Eastgate Green after dark

Ceilidh as part of Fringe Week (Photo by Emilie Nunn)

Ceilidh as part of Fringe Week (Photo by Emilie Nunn)

Classical 4 All as part of Fringe Week (Photo Emilie Nunn)

Classical 4 All as part of Fringe Week (Photo Emilie Nunn)

Supported by