Arts festival looks to drum up a new wave of tourists

A festival which helped cement Hull’s successful bid to be City of Culture 2017 has announced details of this year’s line-up amid hopes to bring in a wave of new visitors by showcasing its music and arts.

This year will see a drive to bring in more visitors, although there will not be too much tinkering with its well-established ingredients, including its now-traditional spectacular opening ceremony.

“The Long Walk to Freedom” will celebrate the parallels between Nelson Mandela’s fight for freedom and the origins of the free festival, which runs from September 5 to 7.

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Starting in Nelson Mandela Gardens –which will host specially-commissioned fire “sculptures” – a procession will wend its way through the Old Town to the pier. Last year’s festival attracted 80,000 people – a figure organisers want to increase to 120,000 by 2017.

Ahead of the building work in the Fruit Market, the festival – this year costing £550,000 – aims to make more of other city centre locations. Queens Gardens will host the multiple-award-winning outdoor circus NoFit State Circus, on Saturday, but also adding attraction to the usually quiet Sunday afternoon, as will Naturally 7, the New York seven-piece band currently touring with Michael Buble.

Ex-Fine Young Cannibals frontman Roland Gift will headline on Saturday night.