Were you down on Southbank at the weekend, pondering the meaning behind the neon signs, giant wooden words and playground slides that have appeared on the 21 acre site? The answer is the Festival of Love, which began its two-month residency on Saturday.
Far from being the mush-fest that the name suggests, Southbank Centre has brought together artists and communities for the duration of the summer to celebrate seven types of love, marking the Same Sex Couple Marriage Act.
The opening weekend got underway with a series of talks and workshops, including a discussion for young people about how sex education is handled in schools, and a debate from the School of Life about how to make love last.
For the young at heart, Sean Griffiths’s installation of three playground slides represents the ups and downs of family life, and the temptation of the Appearing Rooms Fountain will test the love of any parent whose child isn’t fast enough to dodge the animated water jets. The Museum of Broken Relationships is asking people to donate objects left behind from past relationships, giving us all a chance to nosy into the Bridget Jones-esque moments of complete strangers.
The festival culminates in the Big Wedding Weekend at the end of August, when 160 couples, gay and straight, will get married or renew their vows on stage at Royal Festival Hall.