As we are busy getting this year's programme ready, working with artists, partners and organisations along the river to create an unmissable season of events that is sure to light up the river and make this year’s Totally Thames the best yet. We take a look back at some of our festival highlights...
1. The Rising Tide by Jason deCaires Taylor
These grey stone beauties stood careful watch on the Vauxhall foreshore for the whole of the September festival last year; disappearing and emerging from the Thames waters with the changing tides. We were proud to commission the world-renowned underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. The four proud horses and their riders highlighted the role of the Thames as the lifeblood of London, shaping the city’s great history as an ever evolving centre for culture, industry and commerce. We were very sad to see our equestrian friends trot off back to their stables at the end of the month!
2. The Fire Garden by Carabosse
French arts collective Carabosse set Battersea Power Station ablaze with their dramatic Fire Garden in 2014, one of the last ever public events staged in the London landmark before it was closed for redevelopment. This was an incredible immersive event full of flaming installations, improvised live music, a fire maze and a fiery, scorching visual wonders.
3. HippopoThames by Florentijn Hofman
Who can forget the Hippo?! This friendly faced (no-so) little guy was a real festival favourite in 2014. HippopoThames was created by renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and inspired by the prehistoric history of the Thames and the hippos that used to inhabit it. The 21 metre long spectacle was towed upriver from its build site at the Royal Docks to its end position at Nine Elms where it stayed for the whole of Totally Thames. HippopoThames we miss you!
4. Kids’ Choir & The Junk Orchestra
To celebrate the 10th year of Kids’ Choir, we teamed up with award-winning British singer Sam Lee and The Junk Orchestra, using unusual instruments created from London’s finest junk to re-create the magical sounds of the river. This 400+ strong children’s choir has become a much-loved annual event of the festival and we can’t wait for this year’s performance on Sunday 11 September at The Scoop, More London.
6. Feast on the Bridge
Yum! Feast on the Bridge was a magical event which saw Southwark Bridge closed to traffic and transformed by a team of artists into a dining space running the entire length of the bridge. Delicious locally produced and ethically sourced food was available throughout the day along with storytelling, music and dancing that went on into the evening. This event was a brilliant opportunity for Londoners to come together, reclaim a public space and share a meal and conversation with strangers.
7. Night Carnival & Fireworks
Before we became a month-long extravaganza of river-related events, the Night Carnival and Fireworks were the annual finale to the festival, drawing over 750,000 people to the river. For the carnival the roads were transformed and taken over by quite literally thousands of performers - an extraordinary, vibrant illuminated parade of dancers, drummers, lantern-carriers and costumed masqueraders. In 2008 the procession was led by the huge-scale puppet Lady Godiva, accompanied by incredible performers in amazing costumes. The fireworks that followed the Night Carnival closed the festival and lit up the river in a spectacular fashion.