FEATURE – Forth Bridges Festival, 4th-13th September 2014

Countdown begins for Forth Road Bridge birthday celebrations

The Forth Road Bridge is 49 years young and counting – and the stage is set for the first Forth Bridges Festival which will celebrate not just the 50th birthday, but also three centuries of world-class bridge engineering on the Forth. A key event in the Homecoming Scotland 2014 calendar, the ten-day festival will take place from 4 – 13 September 2014 across both North and South Queensferry.

4-13 September 2014

Organised in partnership by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority and Queensferry Ambition, the confirmed programme highlights include a boat flotilla on the Forth; a torch light procession over the Bridge; the Forth Bridge House Party, including a Birthday Parade; and Scotland Welcomes the World to Lunch.

Together, the Forth Road Bridge and the adjacent Forth Bridge are icons of Scotland and present a powerful visual image that is recognised the world over. The Festival is designed to appeal to residents and visitors alike, bringing a mix of Scottish pride and important economic benefits from tourism, in what is set to be a momentous year for Scotland.

You can now download a PDF copy of the programme.

Tower Top Trips have taken place over the summer.

Bwani Junction at the top (photo courtesy of Forth Bridges Festival)


We’ve broken down the programme so you can see when each event is on. Some events are free of charge and others ticketed. Please see each event for details. Please also check the official website ahead of visiting in case there are any changes.

Love locks

The Art Trail Exhibition runs daily from 4th – 13th September 2014. Specially-commissioned pieces of art will be on display in local buildings and businesses in North and South Queensferry. Artists from various art genres will have the chance to exhibit their creations, while visitors as well as local people can appreciate the art created to honour this special Birthday. (Free event).

You can mark your spot on the bridge with a LoveLock.

There are also affiliated events such as Tales from Doon the Ferry and Festival Sailing Cruises.

Friday 5th September

  • Ancestry Day 9am – 5pm.  The Ancestry Day will involve the digital scrapbooks being officially unveiled at the FETA Contact and Education Centre in South Queensferry. People will have the chance to see their own contributions, as well as share in the memories, stories and records of others. There are many people who have or have had family members involved in the construction and maintenance of all 3 Bridges – the Forth Road Bridge, Forth Rail Bridge and the currently-under-construction Queensferry Crossing.  The Ancestry Day will allow visitors to trace family trees and map the history of those involved. (Free to attend)
  • The Bridge’s Scrapbook Launch From January 2014, you can share your stories, photographs, anecdotes, personal recollections and memories of the Bridges, ensuring these precious and individual records are saved for history. (Free)

Saturday 6th September

  • Scotland Welcomes the World……To Lunch 11am – 3pm. Join in an attempt to create a new Guinness World Record for a 1960’s themed Scottish Outdoor Lunch.  In 2 locations on either side of the Forth, in North and South Queensferry,  tables will be set up to accommodate a large number of guests, who will enjoy traditional Scottish food and drink. Diners will be encouraged to dress in 60’s clothes or something Scottish as all sit down together and enjoy a feast of entertainment. Placemats will be designed by local school children, the streets will be decorated and we will show the World how Scotland celebrates! Tickets required.

Sunday 7th September

  • Biker Rally A spectacular motorbike rally will cross the Forth Road Bridge. Each biker participating will donate funds to our charity challenge.  Bikers will congregate in the North and cross the Bridge in procession format, finishing with an opportunity for the public to meet the bikers and view their motorbikes in South Queensferry. (Free, but donations welcome).
  • Boat Flotilla From 12pm, boats departing 1.15pm approx. To celebrate the Forth Road Bridge’s Birthday the Firth of Forth will be decorated with boats. Different kinds of crafts, including tall ships, pleasure boats, warships, private yachts, ferries, motor-boats and canoes will all sail under the bridges.  Visitors can experience this magnificent, emotive sight from the perfect viewpoints of North or South Queensferry. (Free)

Monday 8th September

Tuesday 9th September

  • Bridge Tour Boat Trips (also on 11th). Offering the chance to experience both the beauty and the technical achievements of the Forth Road and Rail Bridges, specially-arranged Boat Trips will show the Bridges from a completely new perspective and will include a remarkable opportunity to view the on-going construction of the new Queensferry Crossing.  Engineering and construction experts on board these boats will explain the technical aspects of all 3 Bridges and give a closer insight into the surrounding area. (Ticketed, TBC).
  • The Ultimate Bridge Experience (also 10th September). Only available for two days of the 2014 Festival, these very special limited (96) tickets will include: A Tower Top Trip, A visit to inspect the technical engineering of the Anchorage underneath the Bridge, lunch at a local restaurant and a Bridhe Tour Boat Trip. Tickets £180 per person.

Wednesday 10th September

  • Historic Haunted Walk A very special walk through South Queensferry will bring to life some of the history of the area.  So many momentous happenings took place in this corner of Scotland as the Bridges were constructed, a century apart, to link the Lothians with Fife as well as Northern with Southern Scotland.  Inevitably, there were tragic losses of life and local historians will share some of these tales – are there still spirits with stories to tell?

Thursday 11th September

Friday 12th September

  • Unveiling of the Guardian of the Bridges Until now, no-one has ever seen the secretive Guardian of the Bridges, who has protected the thousands of people who have travelled over the Bridges. The world will be lucky enough to get their first glimpse, as they witness the unveiling of the Guardian.  It’s image will be created by the local community, assisted by an artist. While the organisers do not yet  know the form it will take once it emerges from the waters over which it has stood guard for so long, it will be an inspiring, environmentally-friendly structure. It will stay with us to remind future visitors’ of the Festival celebrations and to watch over the 3 Bridges into the future.

Saturday 13th September

  • Queensferry Rowing Regatta A maximum of 12 teams will battle it out in an exciting spectacle on the water.  The traditional route begins at Port Edgar and finishes at The Breakwater.  The Festival emphasis on community involvement is demonstrated by the fact that the teams from North and South Queensferry will be competing in St Ayles skiffs built by local people based on the original boat design by Iain Oughtred. (Free to attend). Starts at 10am and will run until 4pm.
  • Forth Bridges Live Local primary school children act out sketches from memoirs of the Bridge
  • Torchlight Procession 2,014 torch-bearers will form a kilometre-long river of fire across the bridge to Fife before returning to a giant ‘Bridge Party’ in South Queensferry. Party-goers will enjoy an exciting programme of live music headlined by legendary Scottish rockers Big Country and special guests Bwani Junction, who last year famously performed at the top of one of the bridge’s 156m towers. Tickets required.
  • Forth Road Bridge 50th Birthday Party and Firework Display (at 10.06pm). The 10-day celebrations culminate in a spectacular firework and light display.  This will take place on and around the Forth Road Bridge and will showcase the engineering achievements of the Bridges, as well as the stunning natural beauty of the area.  Specially-designed and commissioned fireworks will provide a magnificent sight for all those spectators lucky enough to have a view of this once in a lifetime event. (Free).

Volunteers required

The Forth Bridges Festival are looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the Festival. You can read more on the volunteering page.

We can’t wait for the Forth Bridges Festival!


Forth Bridges Festival website You can also like their Facebook page and follow them on twitter @ForthBridgesFes

You can also contact them with any questions you may have.

Forth Road Bridge

The Forth Bridges at sunset (from Edinburgh)

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