River festival kicks off

By Chris Were   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 1st June 2022 2:00 pm
@ChrsWr
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Free arts and environmental event the Wye Valley River Festival has kicked off in style with thousands of people enjoying its distinctive mix of live performances and interactive arts.

The 2022 festival, which runs until Sunday (June 5) features interactive performances with the Red Herring theatre company and the Whistler Conservation Society, at Symonds Yat Rock, from Friday until Sunday. Performances offer the chance to glimpse and maybe meet “the elusive Whistlers”, a remote whistling community. Audiences will be able to hear their extraordinary whistling language up close.

At Symonds Yat there is Flaxland on Friday, an afternoon of demonstrations which takes a look at natural materials. On Saturday (June 4) Ross-on-Wye hosts the Streets of Ross, which will see playful, interactive circus acts, street theatre, music, and parades take over the streets as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

There are cinema evenings lined up as well as live music at Lydbrook Tump on Sunday, courtesy of the annual riverside Tump Fair. On the same day, at Symonds Yat, music lovers can join Bristol-based musician Algy Behrens on a rhythm nature walk which doubles as a tree and branch percussion workshop. At Leabrink Meadow musician Mike Simmons will stage the live launch of his album Wye: The River at My Window.

Organisers of the festival have been delighted to see crowds return as the event made its live return following a four-year absence. The festival began on Friday (May 27) with the unveiling of site-responsive sound commissions, inspired by the festival theme “human nature”, by Chris Watson, Rhys Trimble, and Simon Presto.

To embody this year’s festival theme the organisers have ensured performers, producers and production crew—90 per cent of whom live within a 40-mile radius of the festival—reduce their vehicle usage. The organisers have also encouraged the use of carbon minimising methods. The festival is led by artists and communities all creating work focussing upon environmental themes. The festival has been held every two years since 2014 but the 2022 event will be the first live festival to be staged since 2018.

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