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31 July 2001, 11:27 am
Portsmouth, Great Britain, 24 - 27 August
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International Festival of the Sea
Portsmouth, England

The International Festival of the Sea, which will take place at the Naval Base, Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, Great Britain in less than four weeks from now, is one of the biggest maritime events in the world this year.
With around 1000 ships of every type, literally from coracles to carriers, the Festival has now become a world-class event that ranks alongside not just international maritime festivals, but can rank with major music festivals such as Glastonbury, which takes place in the summer in England, Great Britain.

It is expected that more than a quarter of a million people will travel to the Festival in Portsmouth over the four days from Friday the 24 August to Monday the 27 August.

Entertainment includes some 2000 musicians, actors and performers who will provide 12 hours of entertainment daily. More than fifty bands will roam the 300 acre site all day and there are also four large stages for major performances. There is a 3000 seater parade ground for active displays including the Royal Air Force 'Silent Drill', a Beat Retreat, a Field Gun Run, marching bands and active competitions.

Each night, a 1000 metre long carnival parade winds through the dockyard with every element of the festival including twenty five foot high visions of Napolean and Nelson, Stomp Dancers, Stilt Walking Policemen, Maori Dancers, a Steel Band from Antigua, and walking kangaroos and penguins. More than 450 people will be in the parade, which leads the show to the major music arena for a concert each night.

Friday night's entertainment will feature British BBC TV and Radio stars. Whilst on Saturday night 80's bands 'Spandau Ballet' and 'Hot Chocolate' will have the stage.

Sunday's show has the full band of HM Royal Marines in a new show prepared especially for the International Festival of the Sea including the first performance of a new theme tune called 'International Festival of the Sea'.

On Monday, a grand variety show featuring many of the bands playing all weekend at the festival will create a marvellous finale. Taking a deliberate view that it would be difficult to better the fireworks seen at the last Portsmouth Festival of the Sea, this year's show goes back to the first Bristol Festival with a nightly show of dancing fountains and lights that will finish off the evening after the concerts.

It is expected that most visitors will come from outside the Portsmouth area and to cope with the influx, the Festival organisers are providing 15,000 Park and Ride spaces each day for car visitors as well as special deals on trains direct to Portsmouth Harbour station. The International Festival of the Sea is from 24 - 27 August at HM Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth, Great Britain. There is an information line on +44 8705 50 50 40

David Redfern/News Editor
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