Art & Culture
In photos: magical moments from Join the Docks
Floating fireworks and free swimming classes. Sandcastles and silent discos. International art installations and DIY digital selfies. Old and new, famous and undiscovered, on the water and beside it, this summer our Join the Docks festival celebrated the Royal Docks from end to end.
Now that the festival has drawn to a close, here’s a look back at some favourite moments. The programme saw everything from lantern-making to aerial circus. There was even a human Catherine wheel or two. It was a real celebration of the creativity and community in the area.
EFG London Jazz Festival's summer stage
Although the London Jazz Festival has been running for 27 years, this year was the first time there has been an outdoor event as part of the celebrations. Hosted at RAD, the event was free to attend and gave everyone a taster of one of London’s most celebrated music festivals.
Ferry Tales and the Ferry Festival
Water-themed events made quite a splash during the festival. Ferry Tales dipped into a fictional world of water with creative workshops and stories of murky waters, river treasures and mermaids. August's Ferry Festival has its roots in the 1970s, when Silvertown and North Woolwich came together for pram races and a good old tug of war. This year was the third annual revival and it included a maritime-themed fancy dress race. Long may the tradition continue.
Kids Summer Splash
So many of the events during Join the Docks welcomed children and families as well as grown-ups, and at the heart of the programme was Kids Summer Splash. With two pools and free open-water swimming lessons for kids, the space to splash transformed Royal Victoria Dock. Sandcastles and beach games were very much the order of the day.
The Ship of Tolerance
The Ship of Tolerance dropped anchor in the Royal Victoria Dock as part of Totally Thames. Created by artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, the ship’s patchwork sail resembled stained glass in the sun — decorated by Newham schoolchildren. At night, it transformed into a vivid light installation. The Ship began its journey in Egypt in 2005 and has travelled all over the world, visiting Moscow, Havana, and Miami before arriving in the Royal Docks. Every time the installation is different, because the sails are created from scratch by local children, aiming to promote tolerance and connect different cultures through creativity.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
There were several adaptations of Shakespeare’s enchanting fairytale classic in London this summer, such is the popularity of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Join the Docks performance took place against the backdrop of Thames Barrier Park, an enchanting setting for romance and mischievous fairies.
Guru Dudu Silent Disco
After selling out their season at the Edinburgh Fringe, Guru Dudu took to the streets of the Royal Docks for a walking dance adventure. Didn’t hear anything? That’s because the disco was silent – it was headphones only for these exploring revellers.
And the best of the rest? Local artist Matt Ponting got everyone doodling, the Museum of London Docklands put on a brilliant day of docks history and Voices of the Docks brought the stories of past into the present. Our closing ceremony Wishful ensured that the Join the Docks festival really went out with a bang. We’re already excited about the programme for winter festival, so make sure you watch this space.
Stories from around the docks
Open water calling
On show now at this interactive exhibition, the illustrations of Matt Ponting capture quintessential local landmarks in quirky lines and colours. Yet it’s not just his art that’s peculiar to the Royal Docks.
Art & Culture
Join the Wishful Celebration
Our Join the Docks closing ceremony is a magical spectacle of water and light.