Festival by the river in Worcester

TEN days of art, music, dance, poetry, food, and drink are coming to Worcester this June, with a specially built shimmering pavilion taking centre stage in South Quay.

The Weorgoran Pavilion is the creation of award-winning art, architecture and design studio NEON as part of The Ring arts programme, which is running throughout spring and summer to celebrate the county’s rivers and canals.

NEON has teamed up with company Shimmerwalls to create the amazing stage especially for the Festival, a sculptural pavilion that takes its inspiration from the ancient origin of the name Worcester as “the people of the winding river”. Made up of 100,000 sequins that will move in reaction to air and music as well as shimmer with natural light, it will offer an immersive experience for all who visit it. It will also feature a commissioned soundscape, Shire Skies, by acclaimed Ledbury-born composer, musician and beatboxer Dave Crowe, that will play at selected times throughout the ten days.

Dave Crowe will be headlining the Festival’s launch night on Friday June 15, featuring performances with Worcester Young Voices Choir and his band Stranger Faces. Acts including Shelley Eva Haden (dance) and Julia Palmer-Price (cello) will also be on the bill, with everything kicking-off from 6pm.

The Weorgoran Pavillion will then host a fabulous feast of entertainment over the ten days, with premier acts K.O.G (LIVE), Hotsteppas, Clik Clik Collective, Holly Holden, Snazzback, Matuki and The Brass Funkeys entertaining the crowds in the evenings; all for free. During the day there’s everything from storytelling with Cat Weatherill to Drum Love workshops and RSVP Bhangra, with displays and workshops galore from local talents including the brilliant Dancefest.

Check out theringart.org.uk for the full programme, map and information about all the acts.

The Ring is an arts programme for Worcestershire that celebrates the region’s canals and rivers. The project, run by the Canal & River Trust – the charity that cares for the nation’s waterways – will see a series of new commissions created by local and internationally celebrated artists in response to the 21 miles of waterways encircling Droitwich and Worcester, namely the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the Droitwich Canals and the River Severn.

Cathy Mager, artistic director of The Ring, says: “We’re are so excited that the festival is finally here and we’ll be seeing incredible artists from across the region including many of Worcestershire’s talented resident artists. The Weorgoran Pavilion by NEON is an ambitious and beautiful design and will host a huge array of workshops, arts and music.

“We’re delighted to have been able to work with them and see their creation come to life. That someone as renowned as Dave Crowe is headlining the launch is amazing, he’s one of those artists that can blow you away with his performances. There’s so much happening over the ten days, it’s free and there should be something for all ages. So if you’re out and about in the city or looking for some culture, pay the Weorgoran Pavilion a visit at South Quay.”

Mark Nixon, NEON says: “It has been a pleasure to research and respond to the legacy of the canal and waterways of the area through the duration of this project. As well as being an exciting and interactive spectacle, we hope that the pavilion will become a lens through which the visitors to the festival will reflect on their own personal relationship with the waterways. We can’t wait to see the pavilion come to life as part of the festival by the river.”

Talking about the inspiration for his work, Dave Crowe, says: “The waterways of this beautiful landscape have linked the communities for millennia, yet they reflect at all times the vastness of the skies that bring us the water flow needed to have such a precious link with one another.”

Tim Eastop, executive producer of the Canal & River Trust’s Arts on the Waterways programme says: “It’s amazing to have such a rich cast of artists and performers converging on Worcester in June next to the River Severn at South Quay. The canals and rivers here have long been an inspiration to artists from all disciplines and it will be wonderful to see this new wave of creativity released onto NEON’s brilliant sculptural stage.

“I’m particularly looking forward to immersing myself in Dave Crowe’s soundscape which will weave throughout this pop-up festival. Our waterways are at the heart of the communities here and I’m sure this great programme will illuminate one our most treasured rivers, making lives better by water.”

All workshops are completely free of charge but spaces are limited, please book via the Eventbrite links on www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

For more information about NEON http://www.seeneon.com/ More information about Dave Crowe is available at www.instagram.com/davecroweofficial/

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