Northamptonshire, Britain’s Best Surprise year of arts and culture, was launched at this year’s Grow Festival, returns for its third in a series of festivals commissioned by Made in Corby and co-produced with The Core at Corby Cube. And yesterday, it was the end of Grow Festival!
As a first-time visitor, I hope they will be doing more and bigger events in the near future as it is always great to experience the arts and cultures in many forms with families. If you haven’t seen or been there before, it is held across two days (this year was Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February 2020) and consists of illuminating performances, experiences and workshops across Corby town centre.
This year’s festival was inspired by the theme of light, filling the town centre with bright and colourful performances and experiences. There were street performers sprinkled around the town centre, spectacular artworks, music & multi-sensory experiences workshops and Luke Jerram’s Museum of The Moon hosted at The Core, Corby Cube.
Amongst the highlights were a magical music and light parade on the Friday evening with the Spark! Drummers at the Thoroughsale Woods and Corby boating lake. Unfortunately, due to work and school commitments, we arrived quite late in the evening and were not available to pop by any of those events in time.
Also, there were supposed to have a spectacular aerial dance finale from a Heliosphere on Saturday but all three timeslots were cancelled due to Storm Ciara and all outdoor events were cancelled too from 5 pm onwards. It was a shame that it was so bright and sunny, yet so blustery.
Nevertheless, we still managed to fit in a few events! It was our first time visiting Corby, so we weren’t familiar with the area. There is a car park around The Core, Corby Cube, and it gets very busy as families also use the area for sports and other facilities. There are a few disabled parking and electric car parking spaces in the car park, and it is pay and display, including for disabled.
We first went to visit the Museum of the Moon at the Core. It was a free admission event and suitable for all ages. It is currently on tour, please check out their website for the tour date. This is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. The moon measures seven metres in diameter and features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. In the Core, it was spread across three stories. We had to queue for the lower storey and had to go back again to queue for the top storey! The moon is at an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface*. The installation is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones. It was amazing and we all enjoyed the lighting and sound experience. It is definitely worth visiting! Watch my Instagram video here.
We then walked across over the street to enjoy a lovely Mediterranean meal, at the Olive restaurant & bar, which is situated in the heart of Corby town centre. There is a lunch menu, children’s menu and an al la carte menu. We had marinated olives and mushroom for appetizer/starter whilst the children had garlic bread. For the main course, we had the seafood pasta, chicken souvlaki and children’s spaghetti. It was a delightful and delicious meal.
We then went back to the Core to check out the Alien Pop workshop with RS components for a pop the balloon using Sphero robot STEM building challenge. The children were challenged to make an ultimate “alien” using a cup and pins to pop a balloon, by controlling the Sphero robot. Ms C wasn’t very keen on making her cup but Mr K and Mr C teamed up to make a great cup to pierce the balloon. They all had fun!
Later, we walked towards Willow place to visit the Symphony of the Senses with Eye Music Trust. This workshop was for all ages and everyone was allowed to create their very own orchestras of sound by simply moving their hands over special infra-red sensors. You can watch Ms C playing on this over on the Instagram video here.
As I mentioned earlier, street performances were sprinkled around the town centre. We managed to catch a glimpse of the Winter Wonderland Birds and Ghost Caribou. These magical giants birds, accompanied by the snow queen, have illuminated fanned tails which change colours according to the Bird’s mood to create a beautiful rainbow display. It was still quite bright in the day, hence we didn’t see the stunning illuminated tails very well. Nevertheless, the Ghost Caribou performance was great. These giant illuminated creatures are part caribou and part spirit which roam a mystical world after dark, accompanied by a wild herdsperson with beautiful music. Watch the performance over on my Instagram video here.
We had a lovely time exploring Corby but the trip was unfortunately cut short due to the storm forecast. Hopefully next time, the weather will be kind for Corby town, when they decided to host the festival again!
Disclosure: We were invited to visit Corby for the purposes of writing this review, however, all thoughts and opinions remain our own. Meals and hotel stay at Kettering Park Hotel & Spa were provided for free.