Thursday, September 15, 2011

Twinkle toes at the Thames

This weekend was the annual Thames Festival - a free, two-day event held along the banks of the river Thames, featuring a plethora of food, music, dancing, art, crafts, carnival and more, culminating with a fireworks finale on Sunday night.

Unsurprisingly, I usually head straight to the Lady Luck jive stage and pretty much stay put there and dance away the weekend. This year, however, the Lady Luck stage only took place on the Sunday, and instead it was an Electro Swing Speakeasy stage on Saturday...*shudder*...

Really, whoever came up with electro swing has a lot to answer for, and whoever decided to dedicate a whole day to it at the Thames Festival has even more to answer for. That said, in the end the Electro Swing day ended up featuring a few non-electro, just regular, swing bands, including Fat 45, who were brilliant! It does make me wonder though, why they didn't just leave it to Lady Luck to run the stage for the whole weekend.

My favourite bands over the two days, were the Jive Romeros and Fat 45, who both put on super fun, energetic shows, and proved a delight to dance to.

Disappointingly, unlike the fantastic location outside the Tate Modern last year, the dance stage was instead situated in a car park behind the Southbank Centre this time round. Given that this is always one of the most popular attractions of the festival, I am not entirely sure why they decided to downscale it this year, but in any case it did not detract from everyone enjoying themselves, and it just meant that we had a view of the London Eye instead of the Thames and St Paul's Cathedral.

I had a lot of fun, particularly on Sunday afternoon, whilst the sun was shining! Things seemed to be a lot more organised on the Sunday, especially the dance floor, which on Saturday was overrun by a majority of people just standing around, not dancing. We had to avoid bumping into small children, drinks and bags left on the dance floor, and people just chilling out watching the band...right in the middle of the dance floor. Really people! Move out of the way if you see that someone is swinging out in your direction!

On Sunday though, people standing watching the bands and dancers remained off the dance floor, which was helpful! The Lady Luck crew also made sure that this happened by asking the onlookers to allow space for those wanting to cut some rug. What didn't remain off the dance floor, was the rain...boohoo! Most people powered through it though, and kept on dancing. I slid across the dance floor for a while, but have to admit, I am a fair weather dancer and after enduring the rain for a little while, I wanted to go home. It was actually quite novel looking out upon a sea of umbrellas, but I am disappointed to have missed the fireworks!

Well done to El Nino and Lady Kamikaze for putting on another great day of entertainment by the Thames, and particular kudos to Lady K for her sun dance which kept the rain at bay for most of the day!

All in all, I always enjoy myself at the Thames Festival, and it is great to have such a wonderful outdoor event where you can go and meet with friends, watch live music and dance to your heart's content, all gratis!


  1. Hi Mel,
    I'm not sure how responsible i am, but it started to rain about 10 minutes into my set...hmm, i must look into that.
    Nice review and pics.


  2. 'Fess up Scotty - did you accidentally do a rain dance?! :P Actually I managed to keep dancing through most of your set! Even took it to the concrete to avoid the slippery dance floor at one point! Great set! xx

  3. I've been hearing nothing but good things about this event and must confess that there isn't anything back home that comes close to the energy or limitless amount of dancing that can take place in a single day!! Rain or shine I had a fabulous weekend at the Thames Festival.