Leeds Waterfront Festival's brand new sites!
With the addition of cultural hub The Tetley to Leeds Waterfront Festival last year, our aim for the evolution and expansion of the festival became even more of a reality. And this year, for the special 10th anniversary celebrations, we're adding another 2 sites of family friendly fun complete with performances and food to the timetable!
Drum roll please....as we say a big welcome to Amouries Way and Oddy Locks!
The walkway through Armouries Way is the path that most visitors take as they make their way from Brewery Wharf to Leeds Dock, so we thought we'd better make the most of it! The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme hosted by Bam Nuttall will be showcasing the hard work they've been doing in the area over the last few years to protect our wonderful city from the risk of flooding. There will be lots of activities for all the family to enjoy here!
They will provide a hilarious 'whoopie cushion' that inflates and deflates in a performance led by Stephen Bottoms who entertained visitors last year with his 'After The Flood' show at Granary Wharf. This year, he will deliver an interpretive explanation of how the old weir is being replaced by a brand new mechanical one! This will be entertaining, funny and engaging and a great way to learn about what's going on with the works in the city!
As well as this, there'll be a very special book launch from author Chris Madeley, who is adding a new book 'safety by the water' to her Cones Series. Following the lives of some extraordinary safety cones, the book encourages children to explore the outside world and carry out their own adventures, as well as make sure they're safe in every environment.
The new addition, Cones on the Waterways, is aimed at promoting safety on and around the water and channels the community values of Leeds Waterfront Festival. Over the weekend, Chris will be there selling copies (with the profits being donated to a local Leeds charity), meeting and greeting book buyers and will be joined by some of the fun characters from the book!
We spoke to Chris and asked her a few questions about the exciting launch:
We love the cone characters in your book series! How did your collaboration with the Flood Alleviation Scheme come about?
All areas of safety are of paramount importance and one area to which children are intrinsically drawn is water: from muddy puddles upwards! I was considering writing a story about being safe around water but needed somewhere interesting to base it on. I was introduced to Bam Nutall, The Environment Agency and Leeds City Council and their incredible work with the Leeds Flood Defences sparked my imagination and it became clear that this would make the basis for a really good story. A team from Bam Nutall and the Environment Agency took me to Knostrop and Crown Point, down into the cofferdams etc and I could see so very many areas that needed to be flagged up as safety issues for children but also areas where they can have a good fun time and enjoy the waterways.
Leeds Waterfront Festival is all about building a community around the waterways. How does your new book fit with this?
This story is encouraging people to go and see what they have to enjoy in their own locality: a good day out, beautiful and interesting surroundings where they can have an adventure on their own doorstep. It highlights how the river works in Leeds have been put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible around water while, at the same time, having a great time. The story fits in with the Community aspect of this important festival in that the Cones characters always meet someone new who can help them to enjoy their surroundings.
Over the festival weekend, we heard that we'll see you joining in the festivities at Armouries Way...can we expect any surprises?
Where there are Cones there are always surprises! Who knows what they get up to when no-one is looking. Remember the first Cone Rule: When human eyes look at Cones they are Just Cones, no faces, no voices, no hands, no movements: Just Cones. Watch out and see what they are getting up to!
We can't wait to welcome Chris and the Flood Alleviation Scheme to the Festival!
Down the canal from Granary Wharf, you'll find the wonderful Stables Cafe, owned by Denise, at Oddy Locks. A great pit stop for frequenters of the canal, the cafe feeds and waters the people that live, work and commute along the canal every day.
The sense of community they have built over the years make it an exciting announcement that they will be joining Leeds Waterfront Festival as an official site this year, and joining in the celebrations with their own little party!
We spoke to Denise about the upcoming festival..:
Are you excited for Oddy Locks and The Stables to officially become part of Leeds Waterfront Festival this year?
This is the first year that we have the opportunity to officially show off the first staircase locks (2 or more locks together without an intermediate length of canal) on the Leeds & Liverpool canal and it is great to be part of of the Festival.
What can we look forward to experiencing at Oddy Locks/The Stables over the weekend?
Oddy Locks were opened in 1770 and it seems appropriate to focus on the heritage of aspect of the canal. Accordingly, we are excited to have Elland & Bilbo visit us. Elland is an original horse drawn canal boat and Bilbo is the beautiful horse that accompanies her. We are hoping to exhibit other aspects of the past of the canal together with 21st century delights including music, food and of course Stables for tea, coffee, delicious Northern Bloc ice cream & cakes.
Do you have a sense of community at Oddy Locks, and what work have you been doing to promote this?
Oddy locks is at the centre of the local community being the meeting point of the canal community and local residents. Indeed, the local residents have 'adopted' the stretch of canal by Oddy Locks and this has led to working parties of residents being involved with gardening, grafitti removal and painting as well as litter clearing. Simply working together for the benefit of the area has brought all those involved together as a true community!
Make sure you visit both of the new sites on the 24th and 25th of June at Leeds Waterfront Festival and welcome them to the celebrations!