Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Also the season where we start to worry about what we’re going to get our loved ones for Christmas, and wonder how we’re going to entertain our children now the weather is getting colder.
Luckily for us, the people behind the Greenwich Winter Festival have an alternative to wooden huts and Bratwurst. I joined a curious room of my fellow reviewers at the press launch to learn more. For the month of December, Greenwich Old Royal Naval College will host a programme of entertainment and a retail experience focusing on independent sellers, many of whom Instagram users will be familiar with. We were greeted at the press launch by ‘We Are Trackless’, an acapella group, and were later entertained by the pop opera group ‘Ida’, kicking off the varied entertainment lined up for the festival.
Festivalgoers will have access to a 3 hour session (starting at £15 for adults and £8 for children), with a maximum of 3000 visitors at any one session, to allow each visitor to fully enjoy their experience. Artists will be performing in a lineup of both daytime and evening events on the main Mirror Stage, under a giant stretched canopy. Acts include Martine McCutcheon, The Puppini Sisters, The Magnets and more traditional acts such as the London Nordic Choir. Whilst parents enjoy the musical acts, their older children can enjoy a display from freestyle ice-skaters before their turn to skate under the stars on an ice rink sitting under a clear fabric canopy, accompanied by students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire. For the younger children, a launch pad for Father Christmas hosts a unique Santa experience, with an official launch for every young child’s favourite Christmas character on Christmas Eve.
Live theatre will also be available from Tailgate Theatre with their Edinburgh Festival hit, Nicholas Allan’s ‘The Giant’s Loo Roll’, magic from Morgan and West, and live puppet shows from Squashbox Theatre. Joining these acts will be a whole community of festival performers who will lead festivalgoers around the site.
The festival will also provide a innovative market, hosted in white steel pods and curated to give space to retailers local to Greenwich and from the Instagram community, selected by the Instagram promotion agency Hustle and Fox. The focus is on family goods, with artisan street food and seasonal treats available across the site.
The Greenwich Winter Festival sounds to this reviewer to be a promising attempt to offer something a little different to brighten up what can be a stressful and hectic month for many of us. Perhaps I’ll see you there!