100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 63 – Festival Coast Live

Festival Coast Live consists of a range of predominantly free events across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Activities take place throughout the year, bur focus on the summer, starting at the beginning of the school holidays in July and culminating in the Bournemouth Air Festival on the first weekend in September. The programme incorporates live music, outdoor cinema, children’s entertainment, festivals, fireworks and more.

Red Arrows arriving at Bournemouth Air Festival
Red Arrows arriving at Bournemouth Air Festival


A whole host of musicians perform throughout the summer at a number of locations across the three towns. Pictured; a fun Sunday afternoon at Christchurch Harbour with a diverse selection of musical entertainment. First up; Mr Eversley, a Cuban whose music is distinctly Caribbean and quite serious. Followed by the Jimmy Hillbillies with their infectious enthusiasm. One minute we’re listening to songs about Cuban freedom fighters, the next – chickens on moonshine!

Jimmy Hillbillies at Christchurch Bandstand
Jimmy Hillbillies at Christchurch Bandstand

Outdoor Cinema

A giant screen shows family friendly movies throughout the day. The screen makes appearances at a variety of locations during the summer.


Street entertainers can be spotted wandering around the three towns, maybe on stilts or perhaps with flowerpots on their heads. There are also a range of activities for children on offer, like circus workshops.

Stilt walker


Incorporated into Bournemouth’s Festival Coast Live festivities are Bourne Free, Friday Fireworks and Bournemouth Air Festival. In addition, there is regular entertainment in various locations (Lower Gardens, Seafront and town centre).

Bourne Free
Bourne Free


In addition to live music in the bandstand, Christchuch’s entertainment includes Christchurch Food Festival, Stompin’ on the Quomps Jazz Festival and Mudeford Arts Festival.

Entertainment in Christchurch Bandstand
Entertainment in Christchurch Bandstand


In addition to the above mentioned music and entertainment, Poole’s offerings include weekly car (Quay for my Car) and motorcycle displays (Poole Dream Machines), food and music festivals, Poole goes Vintage, SandPolo and Thursday Fireworks. Summer entertainment takes place on Poole Quay, the High Street, Poole Park and Ashley Cross.

Arts by the Sea

After a couple of weeks to draw breath, entertainment resumes with Arts by the Sea in Bournemouth and Play in Christchurch.

Arts by the Sea
Arts by the Sea


Festival Coast Live returns later in the year with Christmas Tree Wonderland in Bournemouth and the Maritime Lights Festival in Poole.

Christmas Tree Wonderland

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