No clouded vision for new festival

Cloud Cuckoo Land, a community-focused creative arts festival with a utopian vision, returns for a second year

Described by organisers as “an unrealistically idealistic state of being, where everything is possible,” Cloud Cuckoo Land will feature a mixture of live music, performance art and informative workshops and speakers. It will take place from 3-5 August in Somerset.

Music will come from bands including local ska hip-hop act Babyhead, the Balkan folk of Sheelanagig and Dub Mafia, a Bristol-based seven-piece blending drum and bass, dub and break-beat. There will also resident DJs including Parker and Featurecast.

Throughout the weekend The Cloud of Unknowing area will feature speakers including ‘moneyless man’ Mark Boyle and Tim ‘Mac’ Macarthy, author of Finding Earth, Finding Soul.

Other entertainment will include a cabaret, circus performances, poetry and interactive workshops. There will also be a kids area, wood fired saunas and a cycle-powered cinema showing classic films such as A Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

The collectively organised festival holds just 500 people in order to maintain a sense of community and enable it to embody its self-sufficient ethos. “Small festivals demonstrate that ecologically sustainable and culturally dynamic communities can flourish,” said festival organisers. The festival is held at Fernhill eco farm and the site includes permanent solar powered energy and a reed bed system that recycles all human waste chemical free.

The sustainable infrastructure was created using funds raised by the festival itself as part its commitment to supporting community projects. “All proceeds are invested in radically localised community building initiatives,” said festival organisers. This is done via Koyaanisqatsi, an organisation committed to raising funds to build localised and resilient communities.

This year the festival aims to help projects including continued investment in Fernhill’s eco infrastructure and the development of a food waste kitchen in Hackney Wick.

Organisers believe that it’s initiatives like this that make the festival part of a growing trend of more sustainable and uniquely run events: “The UK’s festival scene is world renowned but increasingly commercialised and homogeneous. Cloud Cuckoo Land is part of a growing movement working to re-imagine festival culture.”

Cloud Cuckoo Land will take place at Fernhill Farm in Somerset’s Mendip Hills. Weekend tickets are £55 and under 12’s go free.

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