In the lead up to the Big Splash weekend in Newport the question “are you going to the Big Splash?” might have been heard once or twice. The Riverfront really did put some effort into making sure everything was well organised and everyone knew it was happening and where.
The Big Splash weekend, if you didn’t already know, is a festival of sorts, to celebrate the talent and arts in the local (and not so local) area, it usually includes a large dose of singing, plenty of workshops, food and some carnival type fun, this year was no different. The Riverfront opened up its doors last weekend to the general public and we were lucky enough to attend the event.
The ‘fun of the fair’ zone attracted many people of course, and the traditional hook a duck tea cups and a handful of newer rides such as ‘The Joker’ gave plenty of variety and the look of joy on the visitors faces really shone through. What a way to brighten up the space between the theatre and the University.
The terrace cafe outside the Riverfront itself full and the many people milling about were happily soaking up the atmosphere, there were also a fair few helpers and staff busy making sure everything was running smoothly. I was impressed by the two artists just outside the main theatre with easels, happily painting some very patient and still people, which a lot of children seemed to find fascinating. There was also some screen printing going on in the gallery which I thought was brilliant, we only just caught the end of the session but we made a rather wonderful flower I think. There were also plenty of stalls over the weekend with all sorts of lovingly made products. And as the tunes drifted in from outside, and we wandered around taking it all in, it felt a little like being on holiday, it was wonderful and relaxing.
The whole weekend the stages, Riverfront Theatre foyer, outdoor areas and pretty much any space in the vicinity was packed full of artists, singers, performers and all kinds of entertainment, not forgetting the many workshops from the drumming and circus skills to the mask making and window art crafts there was plenty for the children to get involved in.
Something that really stood out at the Big Splash this year was the interaction with the younger generation and how many things were designed to get them interested, and hopefully want to get involved after being inspired by this event, I’m sure you’ll agree it is great when children are encouraged and I am sure there will be many children asking to be part of or at least see more of the arts following the Big Splash. This is something the Riverfront always seem to aim for, an inclusive and entertaining atmosphere which is appealing to all ages.
I stood a while and watched a set from a band at the ‘Ultimate Usk’ stage near the wave, the music and vocals being belting out were spot on, there were plenty of children watching and dancing along, and adults joining in with the fun too. I really enjoyed it and was surprised at the skill on show. I also watched one artist sing some slow songs on the terrace and I found myself mesmerised and so did many others.
Maindee festival certainly deserves a mention as well, if you have been to see this event before and how amazing it is at bring the community together, then you will know what I mean, it really fits the bill for the carnival atmosphere and the ‘right up your street’ theme as it pounded through the streets was pretty spectacular. Such a colourful and happy thing to witness in Newport.
With the whole weekend kicked off by Slightly Fat Features and a grand finale of a ‘Sunset spectacular’ including trapeze acts, fire juggling, watched by crowds of people with a firework backdrop it was never going to be a weekend anything less than well, spectacular. All involved should be proud, and The Riverfront and Citrus Arts Did Newport proud in the way this Big Splash was organised, I am already looking forward to next year.