Southwark Bridge is set to be transformed as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival this weekend when it closes to become the setting for Feast on the Bridge, a spectacle of food, drink and a variety of entertainment. The Festival is an annual event to celebrate and foster greater appreciation of the river.
From noon until 10pm on Saturday 15 September a team of artists will turn the bridge into a series of eating areas including an enchanted woodland picnic complete with fairy-tale gingerbread house and a traditional British seaside.
There will be food from Bankside and beyond, including local restaurants and Borough Market traders, plus Al Fresco Ballrooms with a lively music from hoedown to bagpipes, Bollywood brass to surf rock, and the best of British country dancing.
Feast on the Bridge is just one of several attractions which organisers predict will draw up to one million people over the Thames Festival’s two days.
Mayor Livingstone today described the Festival as “a landmark event in London’s cultural calendar” promising a “wonderfully diverse weekend of events for everyone to enjoy.”
“The feast on Southwark Bridge will be a real highlight, but the Thames Festival, as always, offers a fantastically broad range of things for people of all ages to experience and the spectacular Night Carnival and fireworks display are never less than inspirational.”
From Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge, activities alongside and on the river itself will include live music and massed choirs, dance arenas and street artists, boat races and children’s activities, and of course the annual night procession and fireworks display that closes the free event on Sunday evening.
In addition to the event on Southwark Bridge there will also be a series of demonstrations and displays on the river and the chance to take a ride on traditional Thames sailing vessels. London Afloat on Saturday includes an impressive pageant of river vessels both old and new and Thames Day on Sunday includes traditional rowing, canoeing, and the Faldo Barge Driving Race.
World music and inspirational presentations will be made by environmentalists Dr Vandana Shiva and Satish Kumar in The Green Man stage programme, and pots made from Thames clay will be shaped, fired and exhibited in Firing on the Foreshore.
People are being invited to make a flower for the Butterfly House, a huge installation made by 5,000 children from recycled materials. Sixty large artworks are also on display along the riverbank and at the.gallery@oxo as part of Rivers of the World.
The music programme features the sounds of Baka Beyond with their pygmy musicians from the forests of Cameroon; Orkestra del Sol Balkan wedding band; Brazilian Samba and Scottish bagpipe fusion band MacUmba; Japanese taiko drumming group Akatsuki Daiko; dynamic Korean percussion group Dulsori; gypsy Japanese street band Cicala Mvta; and festival favourites the Bikini Beach band.
The Mayor’s Thames Festival is free and takes place from 12 noon-10pm on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September.
Comment: Enjoying The Thames