One of the best things about being in London in the summer is taking in the free music events, official and unofficial, along the South Bank of the Thames. Over the years, I have seen some really memorable gigs there, notably Natacha Atlas and A Man Called Adam, both of them outside the National Theatre with a fake lawn temporarily covering the concrete square.
The last couple of weeks have been particularly busy. On Sunday, the Celebrating Sanctuary event took place as part of Refugee Week, gathering 'together established and emerging refugee musicians, dancers and artists to celebrate the positive cultural contribution of refugees to the UK'. At the two outdoor stages and a large yurt, I caught performances by The Destroyers, a Birmingham-based Balkan dance band, the Ahwazi Group, playing music from the Arab minority in Western Iran, and some Armenian dancing. As stated on the festival website, 'In music there are no borders. When you have no borders, you have no refugees.’
The weekend before saw the official reopening of the Festival Hall after its refurbishment. On the terraces outside we saw up and coming South London appalachian enthusiasts Indigo Moss and Billy Bragg doing a set of buskers standards such as Goodnight Irene and Underneath the Arches.
Outside of the official programe and further along the river, No Fixed Abode managed to get a sound system down on to the sand at low tide for a free party (pictured). There have been Reclaim the Beach events here since 2000.