New Lake District arts festival takes flight

Published on: 24 Sep 2015

A new international outdoor arts festival will take flight in Kendal and the Lake District next summer as the successor to Mintfest.

After taking a break from Mintfest this year, Lakes Alive joined forces with the Lake District National Park to work up plans, consult with partners and bid for funding to secure a vibrant and innovative legacy beyond the eighth Mintfest.

The Arts Council has awarded £170,000 towards the cost alongside £25,000 from South Lakeland District Council and £20,000 from the Lake District National Park, who will co-ordinate the festival. Communication is underway with other funders and partners to make sure the new festival builds on the success of Mintfest.

Sarah Allen, a creative director with more than 10 years’ experience delivering artistic programmes and festivals across the UK, has been appointed as festival director to commission internationally and nationally acclaimed artists. They will stage a spectacular programme celebrating people’s obsession with flight through the ages by utilising cutting-edge digital art, street theatre and visual arts at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre, Windermere and Kendal town centre.

Sarah says: “I am thrilled to be working on such an exciting project and in one of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes. I’m looking forward to embracing an inventive approach to festival experience in both familiar and new spaces around the Lakes. The festival will have a digital and participatory emphasis enabling people to explore and be part of this stunning landscape in a way they never have before. ”

Sarah added: “Lakes Alive is widely regarded as a national lead in outdoor arts and played a significant role during London 2012. Outdoor and street arts will continue to play an important role as we build on its fantastic legacy. We look forward to developing our valued partnerships, to diversifying audiences, embracing high quality art in all of its forms. Next steps are to build the programme and find a name for this new edition to the festival scene.”

The new festival launches in July 2016, opening with a large-scale site commission at Brockhole, by international artist Geraldine Pilgrim. This new work will be created along with local residents to celebrate Cumbria’s contribution to aviation. A visual heritage trail will also link the site to Kendal where a new annual arts festival continues in the wider theme of flight on 26-28 August 2016.

Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park, Richard Leafe, said: “The Lake District has long been a source of artistic inspiration and this is one of the central themes of the bid for World Heritage status in 2016. It is exciting to be involved in the succession of Mintfest, which was a truly world class event. The opportunity to bring a new, digital arts festival to the area will help to firmly establish the Lake District as a modern, cultural destination.”

South Lakeland District Council’s Culture, Arts and Events Portfolio Holder, Cllr Chris Hogg said: “We welcome the investment by Arts Council England into the district and their support for the arts in the area.

“We look forward to working with the new creative director on this exciting new festival, which will build on the success of Mintfest and have Kendal very much at its heart.’’

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