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Festival of the Bees 2013

May 20th 2013

A bee feeds on rosemary

A bird of prey

a barn owl

a hawk

It's quite difficult to take a good photo of bees. It took me eight attempts to get the photo on the top left, and I'm not entirely happy with its clarity. However, there was an opportunity to get a much closer look at these insects without having to chase them round your garden, as part of the Festival of the Bees. In an exhibition at McKinnell's Studio in Vickers Lane, there were preserved specimens of bees that people could examine under the microscope, as well as lots of beautiful artwork featuring bees and wildflowers. That exhibition is due to last until 23rd May, and it's open 10am-4pm.

Also part of that exhibition is Sounds of the Wild, which I somehow managed to miss when I visited on Saturday. It's an audio exhibit of natural sounds, created by Mark Barwise from 20 years of recordings. From the press release:

"This sound installation is a compilation of over 30 individual recordings made between 1993 and May 2013. It has been assembled from almost 200 fragments, carefully cutting out intrusive man made noise.

It's a painstaking business as the eight minute thunder storm in this installation took over nine hours to construct out of sixteen fragments recorded in two separate years, and the entire installation took about 180 hours at the editing desk to complete."

Saturday saw the opening of the festival at Spout Yard Park. These birds of prey, pictured on the left, were there on display from Rushmoor Country Park. There were also various stalls and games, as well as face painting.

The festival continues with a conference in The British Legion Hall in Northgate on Thursday, May 23rd. This is an all day event which will feature displays, workshops and stalls. In the evening there will be talks by a number of speakers on the topic of bees.

The festival finale will be the Concert For The Bees on Sunday, 26th May at the Riverhead Theatre, Victoria Road, at 4pm. Singers include Kate Witney, Danae Eleni, Sophie Yelland, Patrick Ashcroft, Andre Refig, and Kelvin Thompson, with Wyn Hyland as the musical director.

Louth In Bloom

This festival takes place against a backdrop of worrying trends for bees, thanks to the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides, habitat destruction, and viruses such as one spread by the varroa mite. So it's just as well that this year Louth in Bloom is set for an expansion, with plans to double the numbers of hanging baskets in town in an effort to improve Louth's chances of winning an award.

I have a rosemary bush, and this time of year it is the festival of the bees. So a few bee-friendly flowering plants can really make a huge difference.

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