As a lifelong fan of London’s Southbank, I have always known it is the place to be on a warm summer day. But this weekend, thousands were drawn to the riverbanks for the annual Thames Festival. Coinciding with the climax of the Paralympic games, this year’s festival was no doubt the biggest and best yet. The Southbank was transformed into a menagerie of music, dance, food, drink and fun for just two days. I managed to make a visit on both days – on Saturday evening, which ended with watching the Burnt Out Punks in Theatre Square outside the National Theatre, and another shorter visit on Sunday afternoon following the Wheelchair Marathon. Apart from flotilla day at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee earlier this year (which, lets face it, was very different weather!), I have never seen so many people by the river. The place was heaving and every stall was busy and every performance was drawing a crowd.
The finale of the Saturday night was a performance by the Burnt Out Punks, a Swedish circus of anarchy, slapstick and pyrotechnics. Every level of the National Theatre balconies overlooking Theatre Square were heaving with people.
The action wasn’t just on land either. Being the Thames Festival, of course there had to be some action on the actual water, with boat trips and barge races being among them. As part of the London 2012 celebrations, the light shows on the bridges spanning the river were also still in action. The River was awash in a sea (excuse the pun) of lights and sound.
This year was my first Thames Festival and I absolutely loved it. In hindsight I wish I spent the whole day at it because there was so much to do. Here’s a gallery of some of the sights. Can’t wait for next year!