Building on the success of 2014’s festival, which attracted 2.7m people to 134 events, this year’s Totally Thames will “celebrate the Thames and the many different ways London’s residents and visitors can connect with the river”. From paddle steamers to cruising on a Tall Ship to wild swimming, 20k Thames Bridges Trek and the fishing, kayaking and boat trips at Tidefest, to the annual Source to Sea River Relay, there will be many opportunities to engage with the Thames. For those who prefer to stay by the riverbank, there is mudlarking on the foreshore and an open day at Tower Beach.
The festival also offers concerts in riverside churches, special events at Thameside attractions, a late night tryst at Chelsea Physic Garden, special offers at riverside restaurants, and a night of poetry celebrating wild swimming. Over 300 man powered vessels take part in The Great River Race a colourful river marathon, which starts in Millwall on the Isle of Dogs and finishes by Ham House in Richmond in which over 300 man powered vessels take part in this river marathon.
Among the boats racing are 12 Dutch sloops manned by active and retired Dutch Marines that will have rowed 350km across the English Channel from Rotterdam to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. A formal head-to-head challenge from the Dutch Marines has been accepted by the Royal Navy which has confirmed that at least one of its own fleet will be crewed by Royal Marines.
Rain Interactive by Luzinterruptus will take place down the river at Waterman’s Arts Centre, Brentford, where a rain drop canopy will be built over three days by volunteers working alongside the artists, is part of a weekend of river-themed events by the Thames, featuring emerging artists, an underwater maze, graffiti and cabaret.
Innovative live art in various forms is also included in the festival along the whole stretch of the Thames. As well as theatre performances, kids’ choirs and a unique contemporary opera, The Lighthouse, accessed by boat at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Totally Thames is presenting the premiere of Bascule Chamber Concert inside Tower Bridge. The first ever public event to take place inside this fascinating feat of engineering, where composer Iain Chambers will transform this global landmark into a giant musical instrument based on sound recordings taken inside the chambers.
Totally Thames also brings sculptor of underwater art Jason de Caires Taylor to the city his first ever London commission, The Rising Tide, a series of four equine sculptures installed on the foreshore at Nine Elms on the South Bank. These sculptures will be visible at low tide and are in place throughout September.
Totally Thames Festival Director Adrian Evans, Festival Director says, “With 200 events to provoke interest, excitement and involvement with the Thames, its foreshore and the many assets and attractions that grace its waterfront, in September – London’s ‘river month’ – the Thames is the most vibrant river in the world.”
by Jane Dale
You can travel to Totally Thames events by boat. Major boat operators are offering 2-for-1 on river travel throughout September.festival > London > The Thames