River Festival Liverpool Promises the Earth

The popular River Festival Liverpool is back in June and a huge 23ft replica of the earth will be one of the event highlights.

Located in Britain’s biggest cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral, the artwork called ‘Gaia’ (meaning the personification of the earth), will hang majestically in the Grade I listed building and features accurate and detailed NASA imagery of the earth.

The installation, by renowned British artist Luke Jerram, will be complemented with a sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.

Gaia will be open to the public from Saturday 25 May, a week before the free festival takes place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June.

The artwork forms part of the ‘Changing Tides’ creative programme, which last year saw the Museum of the Moon installed in the Cathedral attracting 60,000 visitors to the venue in just two weeks.  This year’s programme celebrates the port of Liverpool as an arrival and departure base for exemplary culture, music, food and wine from all over earth.

Gaia will be in position for four weeks until Sunday 23 June, and a programme of events and talks will take place under the earth during its run – these will be announced in the forthcoming weeks.

Other highlights taking place across the River Festival weekend include:

  • In a UK premiere, The Urchins will head to the waterfront. The artwork consists of hand-crocheted works of art made of fishing nets and measuring more than three metres high and nearly six metres wide. Designed by internationally award winning architect Jin Choi, the fabric shell will float above the water and will be illuminated – creating beautiful glowing structures.
  • Yolart is a brand new commission where the Pier Head will become a canvas for in-demand artist Jola Kudela. Her speciality is working in public spaces and engaging with communities to recreate scenes from classic paintings, giving it a 21st century twist. Jola uses contemporary models to feature in her art, and creates huge collages which are then pasted on to unusual backdrops, often on to derelict abandoned buildings, so the composition itself becomes part of the urban landscape. The work will start on the commission from April.
  • Mann Island will be taken over by ‘Shipwreck: Receivers of the Wreck’ which will see a lone, broken ship act as a stage for a highly physical show featuring performances, aerial circus, dance and soundscapes to tell the tales of sailors, survivors, wreckers and rescuers. There will also be performances at Mann Island from world famous acrobatic troupe African Eagles and the Rhajistani heritage brass band.
  • The golden age of Hollywood will take over the waterfront thanks to a new On the Town – a brand new dance commission by House of Suarez. Expect a New-York inspired tap extravaganza to take over when you least expect it on land and on shore!
  • The main stage of the Pier Head will celebrate Liverpool’s longstanding relationship with New York – with live music performances from Disco Inferno and Motown Gold.

As well as the Changing Tides programme, River Festival Liverpool will feature the usual popular, family friendly elements.

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool will be home to three Ship Stages dedicated to showcasing Indian, African and Irish live music and performances.

A number of Nobby Boats will also open their doors and allow people to come on board and the International Canoe Polo Tournament will return to the Princes Dock complex.

The Brian Boru a beautiful wooden hulled, traditionally built and riffed gaff ketch will sail into the city, joining the 60-feet schooner Adventure Wales, Pelican of London and Tall Ships Maybe and Blue Clipper.

Audiences can also expect the usual exhibitions including unarmed combat and weapons displays and the Sea Cadets will be performing their field gun window ladder semaphore and club swinging activities.

There will be story-telling, music workshops, street theatre and dancing showcases taking place across the site during the two days.

The award-winning Bordeaux Wine Festival Liverpool makes it return offering world-class wine and delicious food on the Pier Head. This will kick off on Friday 31 May and will run until Sunday 2 June. More details about the event will be revealed in the coming weeks, but tickets can be purchased now from www.bwfliverpool.com.

The Northern Boat Show will also return for its fifth year. It will give visitors the chance to experience all the various ways to get on the water – from sailing and cruising right through to kayaking – there’s something for the whole family at Salthouse Dock.

This maritime event will cover Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Salthouse Dock, the paved area of The Strand and Mann Island with a whole raft of free family friendly activities.

River Festival Liverpool and Changing Tides has been curated by Liverpool City Council. Supporters making the event possible are Huyton Asphalt, Arriva, Mayoral Club, Heart North West and Merseyrail

For all the latest information, visit www.theriverfestival.co.uk, or follow River Festival Liverpool on Facebook and Instagram and @riverfestlpool on Twitter #RiverFestival

For more information about Gaia, visit www.my-earth.org, #earthartwork.

Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “River Festival Liverpool has become a much-loved staple of our events calendar and it attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year.

“We are incredibly proud of the creative programme which showcases some of the very best in art and culture from local and global talent through commissions, installations and performances.

“We are delighted to work with Luke Jerram once again – the Moon was not only hugely popular, but also thought-provoking, and Gaia will be equally as impactful in such an impressive space as the iconic Liverpool Cathedral.

“It’s set to be a busy weekend on our UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront as we celebrate our maritime heritage.”


Artist and Gaia creator Luke Jerram, said: “I was delighted when the Museum of the Moon was presented at the Cathedral, and overwhelmed that 60,000 people experienced my work.

“Now I’ve made an artwork of the Earth, I’m interested in how people will react to this different experience and what their interpretation will be. For our entire human existence we have been gazing up at the moon and projecting all our hopes concerns, dreams and wishes up there. Whereas for the earth it was only in 1968 that humanity was able to see our planet floating like a blue marble in space.

“I hope visitors to the Earth in Liverpool get to see our planet as if from space, as a floating fragile ball of life, an incredibly beautiful and precious ecosystem. A place we urgently need to look after – our only home.”


The Very Rev Dr Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool said: “It’s a great joy to be able to host another amazing installation at Liverpool Cathedral by renowned artist Luke Jerram, as part of the city’s River Festival.

“As an inspiring place of encounter, with worship at its heart, the Cathedral is a focal point for people in Liverpool and visitors to the city. Last year, witnessing so many people enjoy the beautiful Museum of the Moon, reminded me that we really are a place for the city to come together and experience something truly outstanding.

“The Earth or ‘Gaia’ installation coupled with the warm welcome of our staff and volunteers is set to give our visitors another breath-taking experience.

“Despite our size – we’re the largest cathedral in the UK and the fifth largest in the world, there’s an incredible sense of intimacy when you enter the space and Luke Jerram’s artwork will only enhance that feeling of oneness.”

Liverpool Waterfront