Whole world is coming to River Festival Liverpool this summer

A week before the festival at the beginning of June, a 23-foot replica of the Earth, called Gaia, will hang in Liverpool Cathedral and features accurate and detailed NASA imagery

Gaia is a 23-foot replica of the Earth created by artist Luke Jerram and will hang in Liverpool Cathedral


A large replica of planet Earth will be one of the highlights of this year’s River Festival Liverpool which returns in June.

Located in Liverpool Cathedral, the artwork called Gaia (meaning the personification of the earth), will hang majestically in the Grade I listed building and features accurate and detailed NASA imagery of the earth. The 23-foot installation, by renowned British artist Luke Jerram, will be complemented with a sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.

Gaia will be open to the public from Saturday, May 25 – a week before the free festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2. 

The artwork forms part of the ‘Changing Tides’ creative programme, which last year saw the Museum of the Moon installed in the Cathedral attracting 60,000 visitors to the venue in just two weeks.  This year’s programme celebrates the port of Liverpool as an arrival and departure base for exemplary culture, music, food and wine from all over earth.

Gaia will be in position for four weeks until Sunday, June 23, and a programme of events and talks will take place under the earth during its run – these will be announced in the forthcoming weeks.

Other highlights of the River Festival weekend include:

  • In a UK premiere, The Urchins will head to the waterfront. The artwork consists of large hand-crocheted works of art made of fishing nets and measuring more than three metres high and nearly six metres wide, designed by architect Jin Choi. The fabric shell will float above the water and will be illuminated.
  • Yolart is a brand new commission where the Pier Head will become a canvas for in-demand artist Jola Kudela. Her speciality is working in public spaces and engaging with communities to recreate scenes from classic paintings, giving it a 21st century twist. The work will start on the commission from April.
  • Mann Island will be taken over by Shipwreck: Receivers of the Wreck which will see a lone, broken ship act as a stage for a highly physical show featuring performances, aerial circus, dance and soundscapes to tell the tales of sailors, survivors, wreckers and rescuers. 
  • The golden age of Hollywood will take over the waterfront thanks to a new On the Town – a brand new dance commission by House of Suarez. Expect a New-York inspired tap extravaganza to take over when you least expect it on land and on shore.
  • The main stage of the Pier Head will celebrate Liverpool’s longstanding relationship with New York – with live music performances from Disco Inferno and Motown Gold.

As well as the Changing Tides programme, River Festival Liverpool will feature the usual popular, family friendly elements. Royal Albert Dock Liverpool will be home to three Ship Stages dedicated to showcasing Indian, African and Irish live music and performances.

A number of Nobby Boats will also open their doors and allow people to come on board and the International Canoe Polo Tournament will return to the Princes Dock complex.

Mersey River Festival 2015
Combat displays will once again feature at River Festival Liverpool in 2019. Picture by Tony McDonough


The Brian Boru a beautiful wooden hulled, traditionally built and riffed gaff ketch will sail into the city, joining the 60-feet schooner Adventure WalesPelican of London and Tall Ships Maybe and Blue Clipper.

The award-winning Bordeaux Wine Festival Liverpool makes it return offering world-class wine and delicious food on the Pier Head. This will kick off on Friday, May 31 and will run until Sunday, June 2.

The Northern Boat Show will also return for its fifth year. It will give visitors the chance to experience all the various ways to get on the water – from sailing and cruising right through to kayaking – there’s something for the whole family at Salthouse Dock. 

Audiences can also expect the usual exhibitions including unarmed combat and weapons displays and the Sea Cadets will be performing their field gun window ladder semaphore and club swinging activities.

Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Cllr Wendy Simon, said: “River Festival Liverpool has become a much-loved staple of our events calendar and it attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year.

We are incredibly proud of the creative programme which showcases some of the very best in art and culture from local and global talent through commissions, installations and performances.

For all the latest information, click here, or follow River Festival Liverpool on Facebook and Instagram and @riverfestlpool on Twitter #RiverFestival

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