The festival is held annually on the middle weekend in September, and takes place on the south bank riverside walkway between the London Eye and Tower Bridge. For 2013 the event is expanding and will now happen over 10 days from Friday 6 - Sunday 15 September. The event features music but is much, much more than that with lots of entertainment and other activities happening, there are a lot of art installations dotted about.
Many Thames Festival activities are based on public participation. The festival commissions new work, and transforms unusual spaces on and around the River Thames with a mixture of street arts, performance, carnival, pyrotechnics, illuminations, art installations, exhibitions, river events, massed choirs, circus, music and dance, food and feasting. The finale is a magical illuminated Night Procession that winds along the north and south banks of the Thames, followed by a fireworks display fired from the center of the river itself.
The Mayor’s Thames Festival is London’s largest free arts festival, a spectacular open-air celebration of the city and its river and is firmly established as a highlight in London’s cultural calendar.
Every year major London roads are closed to traffic as the Thames Festival reaches its climax with the Night Procession, a spectacle that has over 2,000 musicians, dancers and performers from across the country with lanterns, illuminated costumes and stunning structures. The Procession takes place on the Sunday starting at 7.15pm on Victoria Embankment, travels east crossing the Thames at Blackfriars Bridge, and finishes behind the Royal National Theatre and Southbank Centre.
“The Thames Festival is a great event, a lively and magical celebration of London and its river”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
Richard Wilson (UK) Layla Curtis (UK) Zatorski + Zatorski (UK) Nikolaj Larsen (Denmark) Hew Locke (UK) Lee Yong-baek* (Korea) and Doug Fishbone (USA) There will also be a spectacular water-borne operatic performance from an armada of historic ships, darkly comic and surreal river cruises with a difference, London’s first floating art fair, river races and rallies plus much more