Cars, colour and carnival at SIRF19

Generik Vapeur and Droles d'oiseaux et art blaxon at the Stockton International Riverside Festival launch on Stockton High Street. Photograph: Stuart Boulton

Stockton International Riverside Festival was ratcheted up with a rainbow of cars strung out on a line, an exotic brass band, and a dance-circus display in a uniquely urban structure.

SIRF began with an early evening launch as street artists and strolling bands brought colour and sound to Stockton High Street.

Generik Vapeur’s Drôles d’oiseaux et Art Blaxon invited audiences to follow a troop of 20 performers and seven cars as they paraded along the High Street.

As the cars were splashed with brightly coloured paint, hundreds of people packed into the town centre to watch the full throttle creation of a giant rainbow.

This washing line of multi-coloured cars remained for all to see over the weekend, swinging gently in the breeze.

Motionhouse perform ‘Wild’ at the Stockton International Riverside Festival launch on Stockton High Street. Photograph: Stuart Boulton

The evening was complemented by the heady and hypnotic sounds of Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band followed by WILD – a daring new production from dance-circus company, Motionhouse.

WILD’s dynamic choreography and acrobatic movement through a forest of metal poles explored the disconnection with the natural environment – and whether nature still shapes people’s behaviour.

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for health, leisure and culture, said: “The spectacular launch evening got SIRF off to a flying start with three excellent and diverse performances in the heart of Stockton town centre.

“The launch event always creates an inimitable atmosphere because it’s the start of a really special weekend packed full of interesting, original acts from across the globe.”

SIRF19 went out with a fitting finale on Stockton’s Riverside on Sunday night.

Generik Vapeur and Droles d’oiseaux et art blaxon at the Stockton International Riverside Festival launch on Stockton High Street. Photograph: Stuart Boulton