This July, Greenwich Peninsula, London’s newest creative neighbourhood, unveils the first phase of The Tide – a five-kilometre cultural linear park designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the co-designers of Manhattan’s High Line. To celebrate its opening will be Turning Tides Festival, two weekends of art, music and wellbeing, inspired by the fluid, ever-changing nature of our city, our river and ourselves.
Taking place on July 5-7 and July 12-13, the free Turning Tides Festival will feature a varied programme of cultural happenings, live music, art, film, holistic wellness activities and shoreline feasts, all overlooking the River Thames. A cast of acclaimed UK and International interdisciplinary artists will take over the new striking elevated cultural park.
Leading the line-up are former Supergrass singer Gaz Coombes, British singer Laura Mvula, Grammy award-winning Oumou Sangare, music programming curators Village Underground, iconic drag show performances by Sink The Pink, and the participatory Wish Trees art installation from Yoko Ono.
To mark the start of the Turning Tides Festival, LA-based conceptual artist GERONIMO will reveal ‘I Can Taste You on a Rainy Day’; a bold, large-scale installation of 25 inflated water droplets which will inhabit The Tide throughout the festival. Ranging from 1 to 7 metres tall, these vibrant, painterly droplets will become the set to a flamboyant performance by Sink The Pink on the opening night.
With the backdrop of the Thames (and the iconic O2), visitors can expect an outrageously exciting production like no other as vigorous queens, club kids and dancers take to the stage to announce that London’s first elevated cultural park is open.
Spanning both weekends, East London’s cultural collective and music venue Village Underground, under the artistic direction of Glenn Max, will be taking over the mainstage with a revolving program of international and local London musical artists. Situated alongside and providing the cinematic action, will also be a film screening programme in partnership with streaming service Mubi.
The pop-up cinema on Peninsula Square will feature the best in culture, classic and award-winning cinema, with movies selected especially for Turning Tides festival, and food and drinks served by Stevie Parle’s CRAFT London. Supporting London’s underground arts scene, Crxss Platfxrm will be putting together an extraordinary day of pop up performances across the site; be sure to keep your eyes peeled for The People!
Commencing the music line-up on the Village Underground stage is Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke, known as the father of Ethio Jazz. He will be supported by Los Angeles-based violin experimentalist, Sudan Archives and high-energy London collective, Melt Yourself Down. South London-based label Touching Bass will curate a day of musical performances on a more intimate stage, including London band Hejira alongside curators Errol & Alex Rita.
On the Sunday, the secular Sunday Assembly will lead an interactive and uplifting sing-along session with the audience, alongside live-band karaoke from Rockaoke, while London-based producer & DJ lu:sid performs & curates a day of mid-tempo hypnotic rhythms and tribal beats.
Closing the first weekend will be the headline performance from consummate rocker and songwriter Gaz Coombes, who will be supported by American singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger & London-based songwriter, Beth Jeans Houghton in her latest carnation, Du Blonde.
Headline performances on the second weekend will come from the extravagant New Orleans funk and hip hop ensemble Tank and the Bangas on Friday, July 12, with support from American gay rapper and multidisciplinary artist Le1f. Just Vibez will be combining elements of Hip Hop, Dancehall, Soca, Afrobeats as well as Latino rhythms on the small stage. Expect a selection of tropical and contemporary “riddims” and some live percussion to set your Friday off right!
On Saturday, Grammy-award winning Malian musician Oumou Sangaré headlines the Village Underground stage on Saturday, supported by the mystical sounds of celebrated electronic composer James Holden and Animal Spirits. The electronic Turkish composer Ah! Kosmos will open the programme with an electrifying live show.
South London collective Ghost Notes curate a day of London focused talent: featuring performances from Puma Blue (DJ set) and Louis VI on the more intimate Mesh Box stage under The Tide. Uplifting and liberating festival-goers on the final day is a concert from community choir Some Voices. Known for their killer setlists, along with a 15 voices-strong choir, expect raucous arrangements of festival favourites and sing-a-long to stunningly arranged pop ballads.
Closing the Turning Tides Festival will be The River Knows, an unforgettable event with musical director Dave Okumu entitled celebrating the geological and metaphorical power of the river, the inspiration of The Tide.
A rich line up of guest vocalists, featuring Laura Mvula, Kwabs, Beth Orton, Nadine Shah, Gruff Rhys, Andreya Triana, Rosie Lowe, Eska, Nilufer Yanya, Sam Amidon and many more will gather to interpret the world’s most beloved River Songs including songs by PJ Harvey, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Creedence Clearwater Revival and many more.
The Tide features newly acquired monumental artworks and design curiosities to explore along the route, including two sculptures from iconic British artist Damien Hirst’s Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable; British pop-artist Allen Jones’ 8-metre high artwork Head in the Wind; and Siblings – a large scale illusionary patterned work by Morag Myerscough.
As visitors explore London’s newest park, a specially commissioned soundscape, titled Undercurrent, by composer and sound artist Scanner, will reveal a world beneath their feet, underground and underwater, allowing them to eavesdrop on the invisible sonic environment walked along.
For those looking to contribute a personal pledge, Yoko Ono’s interactive Wish Trees will be in situ throughout the festival period. Visitors are encouraged to write their wishes for peace and tie them to one of the Wish Tree branches, inviting them to become part of this pinnacle moment of change within London.
Kaia Charles, Head of Cultural Programming on Greenwich Peninsula comments, “Turning Tides will be a heady mix of arthouse film, music and public art. Renowned artists, musicians and curators from the UK and further afield will converge on The Tide this summer to celebrate a moment of change and a new London – and it’s all free”.
More details and full schedule can be found here.