Timber Festival, 5 - 7 July at Feanedock in the National Forest
The Best New Festival in the UK returned to the National Forest for the second time at the weekend in an unforgettable celebration of nature and world-class performance. Timber Festival, organised by the National Forest Company and award-winning outdoor event producers Wild Rumpus, took place in the beautiful 70acre woodland at Feanedock with an audience of 5000 excited festival goers across the weekend.
This year’s line-up included captivating music sets from Welsh singer Gwenno, electro-ambient musician Hannah Peel, Californian Jesca Hoop, pop trio Stealing Sheep and foot-stomping folk troupe Sheelanigig, to name but a few. Audiences also enjoyed a wealth of theatre, circus and dance, from an immersive theatre and dinner experience in B Arts’ Forest of Dreams to the jaw-dropping show Baron in The Trees from Lost in Translation Circus.
Thousands of crafty festival goers built their own cardboard society throughout the weekend with anarchic arts organisation Cardboardia, complete with a mine, miners and trees to reflect the area’s coal-mining heritage, before taking part in a procession around the festival site led by Balkan-folk fusion band The Baghdaddies.
Comedian Phill Jupitus took to the stage to share his favourite nature-related songs, whilst prolific radio presenter and avid rambler Stuart Maconie discussed his latest book The Long Road from Jarrow. Further talks and debates ranged from a discussion with some of today’s young climate activists hosted by The Ecologist magazine, to a rousing talk from campaigners Extinction Rebellion and a lesson on re-wilding.
Festival goers learnt a host of new skills including outdoor survival cooking, identifying trees, archery and impressive circus skills. They also took to the chilled-out Shivelight area for wellbeing workshops, yoga sessions and forest bathing, and enjoyed time in the wood-fired hot tubs and the relaxing hammocks in the woodland library.
There was lots for families and children to get involved with, including giant versions of Guess Who, Scrabble and Ludo, storytelling around the campfire, a marble run through the trees, and the Hammer and Chisel area where they could have a go at using wood, hammers and nails to create their own structures.
Sustainability is at the heart of Timber Festival. This year saw the introduction of compost toilets in the main festival arena, as well as a cycle ride from Birmingham to the festival with Red Fox Cycling. Timber also continued its ban on the sale of plastic water bottles, straws and single use sauce sachets, which left the site looking pristine as well as reducing the festival’s impact on the environment.
The site was left in an immaculate condition when campers left on Monday morning, with not a single tent left behind.
Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird, directors of Wild Rumpus, said:
‘We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody who came to Timber Festival this year. One of the best things about the weekend was watching people make wonderful memories in nature, whether it was children sitting around the campfire in a woodland glade listening to a storyteller, or a group of friends watching the sun go down at The Hollow Way Lookout. We really hope that people have left Timber feeling energised and inspired. We can’t wait to welcome people back to Feanedock next year.’
John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest said:
‘Timber 2019 has been a real success. People have flocked to the National Forest from all over the country to enjoy amazing outdoor arts experiences in the sunshine. The festival has inspired audiences to take action in their lives as a positive contribution to climate change, and celebrate a greater connection to trees and forests.’
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