“We are creating natural spaces that people of all ages can benefit from". This is the promise from Carol Rowntree Jones of the National Forest, announcing that Timber festival will return on 5 July 2019, with music, debate, theatre, spoken word, performance and provocation from some of the UK’s leading thinkers and artists,
Timber is a site-specific festival located in response to the National Forest landscape at Feanedock, a 70 acre woodland site in the midlands. The woodland has been transformed from a former coalfield to be part of the first forest to be created at scale in England for over 1,000 years.
Timber aims to engage visitors with the natural environment and the programme offers varied opportunities from bush craft to yoga to explore and reevaluate our relationship with trees and nature.
Ms Rowntree Jones added:"Timber has grown out of this unique transformation, and is the perfect way to share this vision with a whole new generation of people – how trees can transform lives as well as the landscape. By coming to Timber you are part of the National Forest story and we welcome you.”
Guest speakers include writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie. Stuart is returning to Timber in 2019 for his second festival and will be talking about his book The Long Road From Jarrow.
Welsh and Cornish speaking musician Gwenno described as ‘the visionary of Synth Pop’ by Pitchfork, will be taking part in a discussion about minority languages, music and the landscape.
Gwenno Saunders is a sound artist, DJ, radio presenter and singer from Cardiff who has released two albums - the first, hailed as ‘one of the best British debuts of 2015, was in Welsh, while last year’s Le Kov is in Cornish, created with long term collaborator Rhys Edwards. The conversation will be followed by the chance to hear Gwenno’s forthcoming Radio 4 documentary, Songs from the Edgelands.
Live music will include sets from Jesca Hoop. Her recent album on Sub Pop Records wastes no time in making clear its confidence, confrontation, and craftsmanship. The stark and reverberant title track opens the set with a fighting spirit that serves as an anthem to push through any obstacle and put forth your very best work.
You Tell Me will be performing on Timber’s Nightingale stage. Peter Brewis has been honing the craft of pop songwriting for almost fifteen years as one half of band Field Music. Sarah Hayes joins him in this new venture and they will be performing music from their self-titled debut album.
BBC Radio 4’s Geoff Bird will be hosting Wilderness Tracks where guests chose six pieces of music that soundtrack their relationship with nature.
Laura Barton is an English music journalist, writer and radio presenter and she will be the first guest to join Geoff. As contributing editor at Q magazine and a former staff writer on The Guardian, Laura’s new book on music and sadness will be published this year. Her Radio 4 series 'Laura Barton’s Notes on a Musical Island’ dwells on the intricate connections between music and place.
BBC presenter and broadcaster Elizabeth Alker is one of Timber’s guest curators and she will be taking over the Eyrie stage on Saturday, programming a mixture of live music, spoken word and a DJ set. Elizabeth is perhaps best known for presenting the music news on BBC6 Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie show, as well as hosting her weekend breakfast show on BBC Radio 3.
Timber plays host to all kinds of magic and it is the live performances, arts and theatre that make the site come alive for festival-goers, creating lasting memories.
The Forest of Dreams is a performance project that combines storytelling, puppetry and projections. Delivered by B Arts from Stoke on Trent, Timber will host the premiere of the outdoor adaptation of this piece.
Visitors will be sure to bump into Trixie and Tilly, two eccentric tea ladies, who serve their fine leaf drink from their special musical trolley- dancing to their favourite Gramophone records as they swirl and stir along their way.
Trixie and Tilly are part of Tea Club, an outdoor strolling piece of dance theatre celebrating Britain’s passion for tea and all things vintage, produced by Axial Dance.
Artist Dan Fox will be presenting his work Shimmer a freestanding installation with 12 branches, each with a cymbal suspended from it. The 12-channel piece is designed to be heard in the round and the audience will be invited to stand underneath the cymbal canopy and absorb the sound.
Timber is collaboration between the National Forest and Wild Rumpus, an award-winning arts organisation, specialising in showcasing arts and culture in the natural environment.
Wild Rumpus will be creating a new piece of work for Timber 2019 exploring the site’s coalmining heritage. Throughout the National Forest are coal seams that wind beneath the landscape.
Seams will take the audience on a multi-sensory journey inspired by the evocative names and diagrams of the coal seams that surround Feanedock. Don your miners helmet and venture below ground, for a sound and light installation through dark stony bind, and nether coal, before emerging into a brave new world, viewing Feanedock in a whole new light.
Rowan Hoban, director, Wild Rumpus, said: “We’re very excited about this year’s Timber. We have some inspiring speakers who really understand what the festival is about. They will be talking about their experience of landscapes.
"Our audiences can expect to step out of their everyday lives into an extraordinary space – which will be transformed by our artists and musicians to create a truly memorable weekend festival experience.”
This article is based on a press release from Timber Festival. For more information on the programme visit their website; to buy tickets click here. Follow Timber Festival at @timber_festival, www.facebook.com/timberfestivaluk/, and www.instagram.com/timberfestival/