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Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival

Bournemouth's town hall lit up by a projector showing amazing images and videos at night


We are thrilled to announce that the 10th Arts by the Sea will go ahead, in a revised COVID-friendly format this September! 

With safety firmly in mind, there will a limited number of ticketed outdoor events which allow social-distancing, as well as a digital programme of engaging workshops and live-streams.

Arts by the Sea will follow all government safety guidelines, while delivering a much-needed dose of cultural activity. Sign up now for the latest updates on the brand new festival format. 

The theme for the 2020 Arts by the Sea Festival is 'Journeys' celebrating a decade-long adventure of bringing artists and audiences together across the South Coast.

Bournemouth’s annual celebration of arts and culture, Arts by the Sea Festival, today unveils ‘Journeys’ as the theme for its 10th anniversary. This aptly titled theme celebrates a decade-long journey of bringing artists and audiences together in Bournemouth, while ushering in the next chapter for the festival as it activates new projects across the wider conurbation.  This milestone event will take place in various indoor and outdoor spaces across Bournemouth’s beautiful locations from Friday 25th September to Sunday 27th September where, (mainly) free of charge, audiences can witness and participate in an intriguing, exciting and unique carnivalesque celebration of art, across many forms.

Accompanying this announcement is the unveiling of the Arts by the Sea 2020 theme launch video. It features stunning time lapse footage of Bournemouth Beach and Pier Approach, curated by the Bournemouth-based photography artist, Vivien C. Francis. With a First Class Honours Degree in Arts in Digital Filmmaking and also Marketing Co-ordinator for Tourism Marketing & Events at BCP Council, Francis expertly captures the perfect balance of art and energy that’s unique to Arts by the Sea. Watch it below.

Audiences at Arts by the Sea can expect to discover ‘Journeys’ in both physical and metaphorical nature. It will consider how a lifetime constitutes a journey, complete with the many challenges along the way, and how the human experience is defined by the very concept of journeys, from expeditions to destinations unknown, to the personal transformations that accompany lived experiences and relationships.

The programming will also explore how contemporary civilisations have become more transient, mobile and well-travelled, how globalisation introduces new cultures, and what opportunities this presents for human expression and diversity. Expect it to be thought-provoking too as the festival considers the many people who journey from lands of conflict in search of a better life, and how we are reminded that too many journeys are symptomatic of deep social problems, to which we are yet to find an answer.

Guests can also expect futuristic topics as Arts by the Sea looks at the human yearning to journey further still, taking in NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission and how this is set to pave the way for an astonishing journey, taking mankind further away than ever before.

Arts by the Sea Festival recently announced its search for creatives to take part in the 2020 eventFunding streams of £5,000 will be allocated for exceptional, outdoor commissions, and up to £500 is available towards other projectsProposals that explore the newly announced theme of ‘Journeys’ will be favoured, as will applicants coming from the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas, although anyone from the UK is eligible to apply. Interested parties can find more information at

With over 100 performances, workshops and exhibitions, and an anticipated crowd of over 100,000 people, Arts by the Sea 2020 is set to be another exhilarating year of art and culture offering depth, insight and excitement. Join the festival this year as it asks: Where have we come from and where are we going next?


  • Bournemouth Arts by the Sea 2020 Presents - 'Journeys'
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