London Borough of Culture launch: a sneak preview of what to expect

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Three evenings of lightshows, eclectic music and street carnivals start tonight. Here’s what you need to know

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You’ll remember that 12 months ago Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the happy news: Waltham Forest would be the first ever London Borough of Culture in 2019.

And this weekend, it properly kicks off with a bang. For the free opening celebration tonight (11th), Welcome to the Forest, Mercury Award-winning musician Talvin Singh is collaborating with digital artists Greenaway and Greenaway (yep, related to the big Peter G himself).

This involves a spectacular light projection illuminating Waltham Forest Town Hall (see above pic) of more than 1,000 faces of local Waltham Forest residents. It has been created in collaboration with students of Leyton Sixth Form College as an audio-visual display, and “tells the story of the borough through the eyes of young people”.

Right after this will be a brand new commission from local Leyton-based electronic duo Addictive TV, a “unique piece of music” created by sampling audio and video of Waltham Forest’s rich and diverse musical talent, in which dozens of musicians took part, with each being recorded improvising.

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Meanwhile over at Lloyd Park is Nest (see below), a 25m-wide kinetic light sculpture designed by Marshmallow Laser Feast, in collaboration with composer Erland Cooper.

It’s an immersive audio-visual experience that aims to brings the community together – not to mention the voices of 1100 school children and choirs – for a collective interactive experience. Definitely one to gawp at (and *perhaps* Insta).

Lloyd Park Installation: Nest by Marshmallow Laser Feast in collaboration with Erland Cooper – Waltham Forest, London Borough of Culture 2019. Matt Alexander/PA Wire

The opening weekend then parties on into the night with a neon-lit, celebratory winter carnival on Forest Road.

Curated by locally-based festival producers Continental Drifts, it combines choons, streetfood and performance drawn from the diverse communities of Waltham Forest. And of course, lots of neon from the mighty God’s Own Junkyard.

It would have been nice for some events to have kicked off in E11 and E10 as well – but let’s face it, this is definitely worth checking out nonetheless.

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The launch weekend takes place 6pm-930pm on the 11th, 12th and 13th Jan. For detailed travel and access information click here: www.wfculture19.co.uk/welcometotheforest/details

Main image: Waltham Forest Town Hall Installation: Into the Forest by Greenaway & Greenaway in collaboration with Talvin Singh and Welcome to the Forest by Addictive TV – Waltham Forest, London Borough of Culture 2019. Photo: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

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