Bankside welcomes annual Merge festival

Every year London's Bankside area holds a special festival to celebrate the local heritage and culture.

This year's Merge Festival begins on September 19th and will bring together a whole host of artists, performers and organisations to promote Bankside's attractions.

For a month, the area close to Tate Modern will be transformed by a number of art installations and live music performances from emerging talents. Many disused hoardings on Bankside's buildings will also be decorated by key artists as part of the festival. 

One of the highlights is expected to be a play performed inside an air-raid shelter. Young theatre collective Meet Alice will be create a specially commissioned piece at a shelter beneath the Hopton Gardens' almhouses behind London's Tate Modern building.

There will also be screenings of a film by Jimmy Cauty, formerly from art group KLF, from October 17th to October 21st at the Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern. Believe the Magic was shot in various locations across Bankside and New York and admission to the screenings is free of charge.

The whole event is overseen by Better Bankside – a company created by Bankside employers to promote the region as a great place to work and live. It is hoped the festival plays a key role in encouraging visitors staying in central London hotels to find out more about what Bankside can offer.

Donald Hyslop, chair of Better Bankside and head of partnerships at Tate Galleries, said: "We are delighted to present Merge for a second year as Bankside offers such a unique cultural, business, residential and visitor experience.

"The festival highlights what can be achieved when businesses, artists and the community come together to celebrate what a special place Bankside is as a place to live, work and visit."

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