Like summer solstice but with gentility – the Stonehenge Fire Garden. The stones close and personal and erratically wrapped in flames and paraffin smells in the growing darkness, thousands of people politely queuing, one man making gentle electronic music surrounded by a quiet crowd, a comfortable friendly gathering with no manic focus and no camera-hunger fancy dress artists being chased by the press. Soft, arty French eccentricity from La Compagnie Carabosse (I think someone at the Express got the wrong end of the stick when they sent their online gardening editor to report on it). And it didn’t even rain.
There should have been three nights, but tonight – the last – Salisbury International Arts Festival stopped it: “With heavy hearts, we regret that tonight’s Fire Garden at Stonehenge is cancelled due to the torrential rain and high winds forecast. After discussion with our Health and Safety advisors and the Wiltshire Police, we have decided that the exceptional weather conditions forecast for this evening mean that we cannot guarantee a safe event for audience and artists.”
Earlier this morning, the sun rose in a miraculously clear sky for Michael Johnson to parade the Olympic torch for journalists, accompanied by local athlete Amelia Clifford. Good little video at the Telegraph, and a good report at ITV.
And funnily enough English Heritage chose now to make an official announcement about the start of construction at the visitor centre, when Vinci Construction UK yesterday took possession of the site at Airman’s Corner.
And to conclude with something just weird… I’m sure the kids from Greentrees Primary School in Salisbury had a great time, but exactly what did English Heritage think it was doing?