The organisers of the now hugely popular Kendal Calling music festival, set in the grounds of Lowther Park in the northern reaches of England’s Lake District, wanted to create a new artistic area to bring an after-dark, non-musical dimension to their programme. Its purpose? To surprise, enthral and engage festival goers in a range of immersive and experiential art, and to provide a creative forum for artists to develop exciting new pieces of work.
Given the festival’s setting on the edge of the Eden Valley we used the folklore of this ancient part of the Lake District as the starting point for our inspiration, and made a call out to artists to respond to a creative brief which empowered them to be brave, adventurous and daring.
Our challenge was to curate a mysterious woodland area with an eclectic mix of both installation and performance art that engaged crowds for three nights from 9pm to 3am. Working in partnership with Arts Council England, Lost Eden saw us attract a wealth of outdoor arts talent that included both performance and walkabout content as well as two dedicated stage areas (The Carvetti Stage and The Lost Stage) featuring roster of sounds with changing content throughout each day. From acoustic and experimental to gut shuddering dub, the musical content was enhanced by a range of mesmerising light installations and special effects.
Lost Eden is a showcase example of how we can curate and programme a thought-provoking festival experience by drawing on our wealth of artists, performers and outdoor theatre partners that we collected over nearly 25 years of outdoor arts. The mercurial alchemy of performance art and installations in a festival setting is truly exhilarating.