Musical Balloons: Luke Jerram’s Sky Orchestra

Tuesday morning, 5am, Southwark Park. Seven hot air balloons are preparing for flight. The weather is perfect: warm, a light wind, no clouds. A small helium balloon is released to test the wind direction. West. Straight towards the restricted airspace of Heathrow Airport. Our hopes are crushed.

Luke Jerram’s Sky Orchestra wowed Londoners on the previous day. Music, specially composed by Dan Jones, poured from the dawn skies as the seven balloons passed over south-east London. There would be no repeat this morning, alas, but us disappointed passengers were treated to a ground-based rendition of the orchestral piece. We captured part of the performance on the video below.

You may have seen the artist’s work before. Jerram is the musical brains behind Play Me I’m Yours, the project which saw upright pianos planted about town. His intricate glass sculptures of viruses and bacteria also captured our imagination.

Two more flight attempts are planned: one this evening and one tomorrow morning. We’ll share our photos should we manage an ascent.

The Sky Orchestra project is part of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) with the support of the Mayor of London.

Tags: , , , , ,


Article by Matt Brown | 4,929 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • Daisy-duck

    I was one of the musicians. Disappointed we didn’t get to fly, but a very interesting project to be involved in anyway. Thanks for doing the video!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I’ve been along twice now…both times leaving the house at 4.15am, and both times thwarted. Fingers crossed for tonight.

  • Neville Young

    Another musician here – thanks for the video. I can only echo my colleague’s comments – sad not to fly, but great to get to play anyway. Cheers.

  • Martyn

    Tuesday morning’s flight featured live musicians (well, half-alive at 5am) from North London Brass, the UK’s largest independent brass band network, and from Battle Town Band, East Sussex. To check out all the wonderful community music work we’re doing in London, please see our website

    • Daisy-duck

      Thanks for the BTB mention! 😉

  • Anonymous

    Thanks guys. You were all brilliant, if not as vertically impressive as we’d all hoped 😉

  • Freddie

    Can someone let us know if an attempt to fly will be made on Wednesday morning? I have only just found this thread and would have loved to have witnessed it!

  • Saskiabuckland

    I’m sure this is a beautiful event to witness and be involved in, but on the flip side, my house backs onto the park and our entire household was woken by the music at 5:30am. And in the school holidays!!!! Was MOST unimpressed this morning, – can be more charitable right now, but most probably less so if I have a screaming baby and 2 other children woken at the same time tomorrow…..

    • Chilled Charlie

      What a typical NIMBY attitude. I bet your “screaming baby and 2 other children” have done their fair share of disturbing other people. It’s not as if it’s happening every day until the Olympics, although that would be a great idea

      • Saskiabuckland

        Actually, thats quite rude, you don’t know me or my attitudes. My children don’t disturb other people because as far as I am concerned that would be unacceptable behaviour and I wouldn’t tolerate it. The music was VERY loud and had that been teenagers playing music at that time, the police would have been involved.
        As I said in my comment, I think it is a beautiful event to witness and be involved in. And as I also said, – in some jest, I would feel less charitable IF the noise would result in a screaming baby, not that I had a screaming baby. Please don’t make judgements on people that you know nothing about….

  • Freddie

    Drove to London. No wind. No balloons. Park locked up and not due to open until 8am.

    • Anonymous

      The location varies from day to day. In any case, I believe they decided not to do a launch this morning after all. Sorry to hear you made a special journey.

  • ✮Samantha Jayne✮

    Do you know when the sky orchestra will be back in southwark park?
    I was told about this beautiful sight / sound, but i never saw the lift off on mon morning