Wye River Festival 2014 (and 2016)

This great 2014 event focused on the Wye River which is very obviously part of the Severn catchment. The Wye Valley AONB somewhat frustratingly does not extend to the mouth of the river but does include some of the tidal reach of the lower Wye.

The bridge, Chepstowm 2014  (Photo David Broadbent)

A 2016 festival is being developed.

“The River Wye played host to the Wye Valley River Festival in May 2014

The inaugural Festival followed the story of Ratty the Wye water vole, leader of the Creatures’ Republic of Wye (CROW), who was on the run from predatory prosecutor Mink and Judge Wild Boar. The twists and turns of the chase unfolded in a series of community and arts events until Ratty was finally captured and brought to trial at a Grand Assizes in Monmouth’s C16th courthouse. The events led to a spectacular final at Chepstow Bridge with massed choir, fire, flame and illuminations.

This story was shaped by the environmental and conservation issues facing the Wye Valley. The linked programme of local community celebrations and an imaginative collaboration of artists, communities and conservation experts, enabled people to enjoy the beautiful Wye Valley and lend their voices to a conversation about the future of the countryside.

The Wye Valley River Festival is an initiative of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership with funding from the AONB Sustainable Development Fund, a Welsh Government scheme in the Wye Valley AONB; Arts Council of Wales, supported by the Welsh Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund; Arts Council England; adventa, Monmouthshire’s Rural Development Plan for Wales which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development; Environment Agency, Ross Town Council, Hereford City Council and in-kind support from The Shire Hall, Monmouth and National Theatre Wales along with contributions from numerous volunteers and various communities along the Wye Valley.
The Wye Valley River Festival appears on a range of websites.”

THE RIVER FESTIVAL FILM from Rural Media on Vimeo.

The finale was staged in Chepstow.

The Turning of the Tide Finale Sunday, May 18

Produced and directed by Desperate Men and the River Festival team, performed by the Wye Valley River Festival Ensemble with And Now Pyrotechnics, Savoy Youth Theatre and massed Choir under the direction of Karl Daymond.

The River Festival reached a thrilling climax at Chepstow as Ratty faced his final judgement, evidence was given by one last witness – the river. As the tide began to turn Chepstow bridge came to life with street theatre, choral music, a torch-lit procession and a breathtaking fire and flame finale.

The crowds gathered to see Ratty freed at last. A torchlight procession came down over the Old Wye Bridge, a choir sang a piece composed for the event under the direction of Karl Daymond, Mink arrived on a Harley motorbike, morris dancers danced and a grand pyrotechnic display ended a fabulously successful festival which has seen thousands of people attend the events, walks, talks, exhibitions and workshops held throughout the Festival period.

See SEAA map

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