London’s largest free festival takes place on 10–11 September along the banks of the River Thames.
The Mayor’s Thames Festival brings together people from all communities to celebrate the city and the river, with events taking place all along the Thames, the riverside walkways, roads, bridges, docks and public open spaces from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge. They include music, dancing, street arts, river races, carnival, pyrotechnics, art installations, massed choirs, food and feasting. The weekend ends with an illuminated night carnival along the river and a fireworks display fired from the centre of the Thames.
The festival’s flagship art and education project is Rivers of the World, linking schools and more than 2,000 young people around the world through common river themes. Students from London, Bangkok, Washington DC, Istanbul, Seoul, Buenos Aires, Londonderry and Donegal have worked with artists to create artworks inspired by their city’s river. As part of the Thames Festival, their work will be displayed along the banks of the Thames and in the gallery@oxo from 15 August to 11 September.
The best of London’s underground music scene will perform on the main stage with new bands and DJs programmed by The Shrine’s Elliott Jack, Max Reinhardt and Rita Ray.
The main theme for 2011 is fish and there will be a Forgotten Fish Restaurant and fish-themed movie screenings at the Cycle Cinema. The festival also includes the annual Feast on the Bridge, when Southwark Bridge is closed and transformed overnight by a team of artists into a giant banqueting space for a day. In the evening diners will be invited to the Feast on the Bridge restaurant for a special fish meal. As the sun sets there will be a mass toast to the Thames and all who swim in her.
This will be the 15th Mayor’s Thames Festival. In 2010, the festival attracted more than 825,000 people.