High time to take more water with it

The high tide organ on the prom
The high tide organ on the prom
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‘Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, oh we do like to be beside the sea...”

Since the late Reginald Dixon belted it out on the mighty Wurlitzer at Blackpool Tower Ballroom, that tune has been the definitive seaside siren song – luring visitors to the resort to stroll along the tiddly-om-pom-Prom.

The high tide organ on the prom

The high tide organ on the prom

But in a town on the must-see list of any Wurlitzer pilgrim, one organ plays second fiddle, so to speak, to those within the Tower and Winter Gardens.

Now it’s time for the High Tide Organ, near Sandcastle WaterPark since 2002, to take centre stage – at Central Library on Saturday.

The tentacle-shaped sea organ stands 49ft tall, and is powered and played by the incoming and receding tide forcing air through 18 pipes.

Simply put, it plays the music of the sea. It’s an other-worldly sound. Think of whale song – rather than several thousand whelks hitting high C together – a couple of hours before or after high tide and you’ll get the drift.

Now a group is set to sing right back at it, improvise, play other sounds, including melting ice, in a “sonic meditation on the natural pace of time and the continuous movement of the tide,” and explore its “wider context” further, “releasing osmotic delight and disruptive power”.

If that sounds like a fishy April Fool jape that got away – think again. There’s a serious theme to collective Breathing Space’s performance, as one of the highlights of the Other Worlds Festival running to Sunday.

The “new site specific durational performance and sound installation with the Blackpool High Tide organ and melting ice” is scheduled 
to take place from noon to 2pm.

A spokesman said: “Transmitting an audio feed brings the voice of the organ, and therefore the sea, and the sound of ice melting into an urban environment, uncovering another layer of disconnection, in order to create an opportunity to foster a new connection.”

The audience will be invited to take part with pieces of text about rising sea levels and the environmental impact of melting ice.

If you fancy taking more water with it, visit http://www.thefestivalcalendar.co.uk/festivals/Other_Worlds_Festival_2016