On Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September, Cathedral Square in Peterborough will be alive with the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, songs and dances of the countryside as arts organisation Metal presents its Harvest Festival weekend. This free programme for all the family is a cultural celebration of the land, re-connecting local people to the city’s rural farming heritage and associated folklore traditions
As the centrepiece of the event, international artists’ Lucy + Jorge Orta will host a meal for 500 invited guests in front of the Guildhall on Sunday, 20 September. This is the first large-scale outdoor meal they have staged in the UK as part of their international series of food artworks. Guests have been invited via a host of community ambassadors and a public lottery. The meal will be cooked by Lee Clarke, Head Chef at Clarkes restaurant and made from locally sourced ingredients, including produce donated from local allotments. Ten UK-based visual and performing artists have also been commissioned to make new work specifically for Peterborough around the harvest theme. These will also be revealed over the Festival weekend, including listening booths, film screenings, pop-up ‘souvenir’ shops, folklore costumes and performances.
Running alongside this, musicians from across the world will be busking across the city before taking to the stage in Cathedral Square on the Saturday night from 7pm for an ‘alternative’ barn dance. This open air gig, with music ranging from Celtic to Blue Grass, will culminate in a full-on Gypsy folk frenzy with the fabulous music collective The Turbans. This extraordinary group has grown in a few years from humble beginnings, into a headline name on the international festival circuit. Its members come from countries like Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Italy, Greece and the UK.
Community groups and organisations across the city have been busy for months in preparation for the Harvest Festival. Many have been working directly with the artists to create costumes for the Harvest Wain procession, growing food for the meal, rehearsing songs and dances or creating decorations. There will also be many opportunities for the public to participate in workshops over the actual weekend, so everyone can get involved. This weekend is not to be missed. Join thousands of fellow diners and revellers to celebrate the completion of the farming calendar and welcome in the Harvest Moon!
The Harvest Programme
Saturday 19 September
■ Cathedral Square and St Johns Square: 10am – 5pm Harvest Food and Craft Markets * Heritage Craft and Artisan Cooking Demonstrations* Bread Making Workshops * Artist Performances and Installations * Film Screening and Soundworks * Harvest Buskers* Morris and Molly Dancers * Cultural Dances from around the world.
■ Harvest Wain Procession: Starts at Bridge Street, 6.30pm Colourful procession of music, dancing and ritual costumes celebrating the end of the Harvest and welcoming in the Harvest Moon.
■ Harvest Barn Dance: Cathedral Square: 7pm – 10pm Dance under the stars, to a host of foot – stomping folk rhythms from around the world. Headlined by festival favourites The Turbans working the crowd up into an Eastern folk frenzy!
Sunday 20 September
■ St Johns Square 10.30am – 4.30pm Harvest Food and Craft Markets * Artist Performances and Installations * Film Screening and Soundworks* Heritage Craft and Artisan Cooking Demonstrations * The Harvest Kitchen * Harvest Offerings Display
■ 70×7 The Meal, Act XXXIX by Lucy + Jorge Orta: Cathedral Square 1pm – 3pm An open-air seated Harvest banquet for 500 people. A UK first for artists Lucy + Jorge Orta, this spectacular event is part of their international series of community dinners. Tickets have been distributed through community ambassadors and a public lottery. Food will also be available to sample for all spectators.