The 2016 Wye Valley River Festival takes place from April 29 to May 15, and celebrates all things wet and rivery about the stunning Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Running right across Herefordshire, the festival starts in Hereford, goes through Ross-on-Wye, passes through Monmouth and ends at Chepstow.
Here, organisers share their 5 favourite things about the event.
1. It’s more than a fortnight of fabulous, free fun for all the family. From its spectacular launch in Hereford on April 29 to the grand finale at Chepstow on May 15, the Wye Valley River Festival brings an artistic outpouring of song, story and spectacle to venues along the River Wye, celebrating its connections to rivers and people around the world. There will be fire and flame, music, choirs, shows, performances, art installations and more.
2. It brings together an array of amazing talent. An exciting partnership of actors, singers, musicians and dancers will bring to life the festival’s central narrative, sweeping downstream creating magic, mayhem and laughter, under the artistic directorship of the Desperate Men for whom this is their third large scale river-based project.
3. There’s masses happening already and the chance to get involved now. Join the River Festival Choir; sign up with your own choir to perform at the festival; make origami birds for the art installation One Thousand Birds by internationally renowned artist Kathy Hinde, which will be shown at Old Station Tintern from May 6-15; join in with Walking Workshops and learn storytelling and walk leading skills; train to help with the Fire and Flame spectaculars; build a float or boat for Hereford River Carnival – there’s a prize for the best decorated raft; make a special origami fish to form part of a massive 10,000 strong shoal which will be assembled on Bishop’s Meadow during the Carnival fun.
4. It’s bringing exciting outdoor arts installations from internationally renowned artists to the area – look out for Kathy Hinde’s magical and mesmerising Luminous Birds at Tintern Old Station, being shown alongside One Thousand Birds and listen out for Dan Fox’s sound installation, with voices and surprising noises in live interaction with people as they cross the bridge at Redbrook from May 2 to 8.
5. It’s full of surprises. There will be discoveries and delights galore at Hereford (April 29 and 30); Ross on Wye (May 1); Lydbrook and Bishopswood (May 2); Monmouth (May 6 and 7); Tintern Old Station (May 6); The Slaughters, Symonds Yat East (May 8); Llandogo (May 14) and the grand finale at Chepstow Racecourse on May 15. Plus there’s lots more going on in between. Dive in and join the fun!
Visit www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk for more information; follow @wyebeauty #wyevalleyriverfestival on Twitter; like www.facebook.com/wyevalleyriverfestival or pick up a Map and Guide from local tourist attractions and information centres.