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Rocking the Boathouse

Artists Jennifer Lewandowski and Samuel Levack don gold lame for their outing at The Boathouse at the Port Eliot Festival.

A small boat drives in front of the Boathouse along the river. Artists Jennifer Lewandowski and Samuel Levack are standing in it, dressed like Egyptians. Sam shouts One Minute Disco, a klaxon sounds and the crowd frantically, ecstatically dances to the sound of Billy Idol’s "Hot In The City". For one whole minute. The same occurs on the hour, every hour over the weekend.

This is Lewandowski and Levack’s third outing at The Boathouse at the Port Eliot Festival, this time curating it as an inventive public art space. Tom Ellis opened the space with an awesome daylight firework display – small red lights, ear-splitting bangs and echoes, and curling puffs of smoke framed against the river. Equally beautiful at the end of the weekend artist Will Cruickshank created a pair of bonfires. As the tide came in at night the two mounds of burning wood became submerged in the water but still burned beneath it, charred sticks moving slowly away downstream.

In between One Minute Discos, Lewandowski played with the idea of performance. In Triptych strangers could jump on drums, a guitar and mic and create whatever ‘music’ they wanted. A child on the mike with a duo dressed as a Siamese twin Ronald McDonald on drums was one of the more frightening combinations. As was a noise version of "Lady In Red".

A pirate radio station set up camp on site (with a listening post designed by artists Eleanor Vonne Brown and Lucy Woodhouse), creating podcasts with people like Cabaret Voltaire’s Chris Watson, who played stunning nature recordings and Mik Artistik – the acid poetry hit of the entire festival with dub pastiche "Clampdown On Turds" and the genius "Turning Into Dad".

However, when the weekend ended there was only one song in the entire festival’s heads. “When a long legged lovely walks by, you can see the look in her eye, don’t you know that it’s, hot in the city….”

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