Festival finale makes waves

"To The World's End" by Frank Boelter. Sunday 14th September 2014, The Stade Hastings, UK. The closing event of Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2014.
"To The World's End" by Frank Boelter. Sunday 14th September 2014, The Stade Hastings, UK. The closing event of Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2014.

The final weekend of the popular Coastal Currents festival made waves when hundreds lined the beach at Rock-a-Nore to watch a special ‘paper’ boat set sail.

They came to watch German artist Frank Boelter set sail in a life-sized paper boat, made with the help of the community.

Frank worked with the community of Hastings and St Leonards, tourists and day-trippers to fold, score and bend large sheets of Tetrapak in an origami style resulting in the biggest ‘paper boat’ anyone has ever seen.

The crowd became so involved that Frank was able to stand back and let them take over - this is a key moment in the piece - when the community takes ownership of the boat and it becomes a true collaboration.

Then at 3.30pm despite high winds, the boat was carried by those who made it, the artists and excited children, down the beach to the sea, where Frank jumped on-board in full suit and set sail.

The crowds were blown away by not only the beauty of the act of sailing something so fragile and hand-made but also genuinely taken aback by how sturdy the structure was when on the water. Frank was able to float for almost 30 minutes before he had to abandon ship and be helped ashore to rapturous applause.

All the crowd were pleased, including Frank as this was the first time he had attempted a sea launch. With the tides to contend with it was a major first for him, Hastings and Coastal Currents.

Another incredible weekend for Coastal Currents both in terms of weather and attendance. The sun shone all weekend and whether it was the BBC news coverage or the blazing temperatures we had the busiest Coastal Currents yet.

The Open Studios took place again for their second weekend and the response in both numbers and people spending was way beyond our expectations. Everyone seemed bowled over by the way the festival has bought a new and very welcome crowd to the town this year.

Artist Amy Fellow said: “Around 1,000 people visited my hut over the two weekends and I’ve made more sales than I would have ever expected. I’m so glad I found the upturned fishing boat in the net shops and turned it into a pop-up studio as it seems to have captured everyone’s imagination”

Tina Morris, spokesperson for Coastal Currents, said: “Thanks to everyone who came. Everyone who took part. All the artists who opened their studios, commissioned artists Kate MccGwire, Alice Anderson, Roz Cran and The Hastings Film Makers, plus ZEROH and all our opening night participants and makers, and anyone we have left out

“This was the most wide-ranging, eclectic and exciting year of commissions, performances and exhibitions yet.

“We thank all the national and international artists who came to Hastings, and to all the many talented and enthusiastic local artists and makers who performed, exhibited and flung open their doors to welcome the crowds over the past three weekends.

“The festival wouldn’t have run and grown for fifteen years had it not been for the strength, support and enthusiasm of the local arts community, who it is a genuine pleasure to work with.

“On to 2015...”