Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thames and Estuary Festivals

The nights are drawing in, I'm back in London where there are no icebergs but a backlog of posts.

First up, some pics from September when Totally Thames met the Estuary Festival.

The Totally Thames has been a highlight of the calendar for the last couple of years with a month of activities focused on the great river flowing through London. Previously had an encounter with an enormous hippo and collected some seriously old flints from the Vauxhall foreshore.

This year was only able to see a handful of events as was away for the start of the month (and the Great River Race) and also the end of the month.

In between went down to Tilbury for the complementary Estuary Festival. This celebrates the edge-lands where the Thames merges into the North Sea between banks of mud and grass via various forms of art.

One of the key sites was the Tilbury Passenger Terminal, a Grade 2* listed historic building with that romantic abandoned feel to it:


This was the site of Points of Departure, an arts programme that included talks, video installations, audio installations, the canoe Ghost to take you to the land of the dead, live music with dynamically updated score derived from sounds from an underwater microphone, video of music played on a cockle boat out in the Thames Estuary about the wreck of the London, pictures, photos, found objects and much more.

Offshore there were tugs pumping their impressive arcs of water (top) and a bell you could ring to commemorate something or other (up to you):
One of my favourites was a set of videos with music about Trinity Wharf (another fab place) by the same artist as the 1,000 year Longplayer piece currently being played at that site by Jem Finer. It had the title of 51 31'44"N 0 0'38"E which is of course the coordinates of Trinity Wharf. You can watch some of them here: there's a dream like feeling that means they shouldn't be rushed.

It was the first such Estuary Festival and I think it was a fantastic start, so hope to see it back again in years to come.

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