River Festival to bring the earth to Liverpool


Gaia, by Luke Jerram, taken at Bluedot Festival by Peter Goodbody

As The River Festival prepares to bring the world to Liverpool, Getintothis Chris Flack takes a look at what otherworldy delights are headed our way this June

The River Festival Liverpool is returning in June and it is bringing with it an installation by Luke Jerram that is out of this world.  All eyes will be on the Anglican Cathedral as a cornerstone of the programme for 2019.

Gaia was last spotted at Bluedot, though if you haven’t seen it, it’s a huge 23ft replica of the earth, featuring detailed NASA imagery of the planet.

The installation will take place in the Anglican Cathedral, Britain’s biggest cathedral, though given the scale of Jerrams last installation, it hardly seems big enough to contain his work.

The installation will be complemented with a soundscape by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.  Gaia will be open to the public from the 25th of May, a week before River Festival Liverpool takes place on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of June.

Gaia forms part of the ‘Changing Tides’ programme for the festival, which last year saw the Museum of the Moon installed in the Cathedral. This year’s festival celebrates the port of Liverpool as an arrival and departure point for culture, music, food and wine from all over the earth.

Gaia will be in position for four weeks until the 23rd of June.  A series of events and talks will take place under the earth during its stay, we are told those will be announced soon and we’ll bring you the news when we get it.

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The River Festival is not just about Gaia though, there is a full programme of events planned, we’ve selected some highlights. The Urchins will head to the waterfront, a selection of hand-crocheted works of art made of fishing nets, three metres high and six metres wide. Designed by award-winning architect Jin Choi, the fabric shell will be illuminated, floating above the water creating a beautiful ghostly structure.

Yolart is a new commission where Pier Head will become a canvas for Jola Kudela. Jola works in public spaces to recreate scenes from classic paintings, giving them a 21st-century twist. Jola creates huge collages which are pasted on to unusual backdrops, often on to derelict buildings, the composition becoming part of the landscape.

Mann Island will be taken over by ‘Shipwreck: Receivers of the Wreck’ which will see a ship act as a stage featuring performances, aerial circus, dance and soundscapes to tell the tales of sailors, survivors, wreckers and rescuers. The African Eagles and the Rhajistani Heritage Brass Band will also perform on the ship.

House of Suarez Vogue Ball 2016

The festival will also include On the Town a new dance piece by House of Suarez. Expect a New-York inspired tap extravaganza to take over when you least expect it on land and on shore!.  The main stage at Pier Head will celebrate Liverpool’s relationship with New York – with performances from Disco Inferno and Motown Gold.

The Royal Albert Dock Liverpool will be home to three Ship Stages dedicated to showcasing Indian, African and Irish live music and performances.  Audiences can also expect ships, exhibitions, combat and weapons displays, Sea Cadets will be performing their field gun window ladder semaphore. There will be story-telling, music workshops, street theatre and dancing showcases across the two days of the festivals.

The Bordeaux Wine Festival will also make a return to Pier Head, kicking off on 31st of May through to the 2nd of June. The Northern Boat Show returns for its 5th year, giving people a chance to experience life on the water, from sailing to kayaking right on Salthouse Dock.

With so much going on you’ll want to be well prepared, all the information will be on The River Festival site.






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