ESSEX – A brand-new festival in East Anglia showcasing creative leaders in arts and culture, EA Festival will feature both local luminaries and internationally recognised stars. In order to launch this ambitious two-day event during the extraordinary conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival is the first to launch a hybrid event format in order to adapt to Government guidelines. In-person and livestream tickets will be available for all events; in addition, should the need arise, in-person tickets will be converted to virtual ones to accommodate social distancing or even Lockdown.
With a line-up including Susie Dent, John Lloyd, Arizona Muse, Evelyn Glennie and Rosey Chan, EA Festival is a showcase of incredible talent across many disciplines. It seeks to invigorate the cultural scene in East Anglia by presenting exciting regional creatives alongside exceptional speakers and artists from the rest of the UK and beyond.
Joanne Ooi, Founder and Artistic Director of EA Festival, comments: “COVID-19 created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a new festival. We have pioneered a new festival business model by introducing unprecedented flexibility into live event production and will livestream the event – from the first year and permanently – and so, even if government restrictions entirely prohibit live audiences or require social distancing, we can guarantee that the show will go on.”
Located in the heart of East Anglia, and now over 900-years old, Hedingham Castle is the best preserved Norman keep in the United Kingdom. The unique fairy tale Keep dominates its lush parkland setting and is complemented by the elegant Georgian mansion nearby. All festival events will take place in the permanent, enclosed, all-weather marquee attached to the mansion, approximately 300m from the Keep
The Keep will host a curated marketplace and exhibition featuring brands, merchants and artists from the region. These will be announced soon. EA Festival is supported by The Good Luck Club, a video and podcast series featuring world-beating entrepreneurs, and Bulbeck Foundry, a regional purveyor of traditional decorative lead planters.
With programming that spans culture, art and industry, EA Festival’s Talks will spur discussion about key issues dominating today’s society. Renowned lexicographer, author and Countdown’s resident word expert, Susie Dent will share her observations about how language has changed over the past twenty years, her predictions about how future generations will use English, and just what her favourite words are.
The UK’s most celebrated comedy producer, John Lloyd, responsible for national treasures like Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI, will be talking about everything but comedy. He will tackle the central importance of curiosity, why there’s no difference between culture with a big or little “c”, and how he banished boredom a long time ago.
Arizona Muse may be best known as a supermodel, having graced the covers of over 40 international Vogue titles, but now she has taken on the commitment to minimise the environmental impact of the fashion industry. She will be appearing in conversation with Christina Dean, the founder of the NGO Redress and the R Collective, a social impact and fashion brand, and one of the industry’s biggest thought leaders in reducing waste in the fashion industry. They will share where and how the fashion industry can mitigate climate change – not just in raw inputs but by overhauling legacy business models and fashion culture.
Former Director of both the Royal Academy of Arts and National Gallery and one of the world’s top art historians, Charles Saumarez Smith will explore the evolution of art museums over the past century and how the art-going experience has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 revealed the weaknesses of museums’ traditional business models, which rely heavily on ticket sales. What can they do to futureproof their revenues and bolster public loyalty?
Rowan Pelling, founder of The Amorist and former editor of The Erotic Review, knows about desire and is ready to talk about sex. She will be discussing the impact of the pandemic on passion and the intrinsic ways in which technology is changing how we understand, communicate, and feel love; and how that affects relationships.
The Poetry Pharmacist, William Sieghart, will talk about the healing power of poetry and why he set up National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry. He will also read from his latest anthology, The Poetry Pharmacy Returns: More Prescriptions for Courage, Healing and Hope. Also appearing will be: Josh Berry, Mike Figgis, Dr. Gavin Francis, Louise Gray, Amanda Geitner, Julia Devonshire, Sally Shaw, Roman Kosyakov, Luke Wright and Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa.
After invigorating and entertaining discussions of the world we live in and how society can continue to grow for the better, there is no better way to send off the day than with gamechanging musical performance. Both evenings will culminate in a vibrant and powerful evening concert.
Evelyn Glennie and Rosey Chan will appear together to explore their love of collaboration. The session will open with a talk and musical demonstration by legendary Grammy Award-winning percussionist, Glennie, explaining how to truly listen. Then Chan, a Steinway pianist and contemporary classical composer, will perform in her signature mode of improvisation, drawing on diverse musical influences while gauging the mood of her audience. The two of them will finally come together in conversation about their careers and why listening remains at the centre of their music.
The East Anglia Showcase is the crowning event of the EA Festival. With Talvin Singh, Nik Void and TAWIAH, this adventurous tripleheader concert is emblematic of the Festival’s approach, providing a smorgasbord of cultural talent which defies easy, obvious classification. Singh, the world’s best-known tabla player, will be bookended by the percussive experimental synth of Nik Void and the astonishing pop vocal talent of TAWIAH. Though their musical styles are wildly disparate, what unites them is their defining musical excellence placing them at the vanguard of their respective genres.
The EA Festival runs from 31st July to 1st August 2021 at Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex CO9 3DJ. Full programme and tickets available here