Main image: Timeless, credit Luke Witcomb
The award-winning Timber Festival returns to the National Forest for three days of music, art and ideas.
Taking place Friday 01 to Sunday 03 July 2022 in the beautiful Feanedock woodland near Ashby de la Zouch, Timber is all about celebrating nature and re-examining our relationship with the natural world.
Festival directors Sarah Bird and Rowan Cannon from event producers Wild Rumpus have picked their top highlights of this year’s packed festival programme, which includes incredible live music under the treetops, spectacular circus and dance performances, DJs playing sets in secluded woodland glades and even the chance to walk on hot coals.
‘Timber is all about looking at the world differently and reflecting on our place within it. We want people to find inspiration in the music on The Nightingale stage, provocation through the talks at Field Notes, nourishment in our food area The Common, and connection with each other in the heart of the forest. It’s a magical weekend and I can’t wait to welcome people back this year.’
Co-founder of Wild Rumpus
Here are Sarah and Rowan’s top 10 picks for Timber Fest 2022.
1. THE NIGHTINGALE STAGE
Dance the night (and day) away at the Nightingale Stage with music from the genre-defying Penguin Cafe, ‘90s-inspired indie band The Orielles, international legends The Turbans, multi-instrumentalist Alabaster dePlume, minimalist acoustic folk musician Billie Marten, Theo Mizú and Banda (the best street band in São Paulo), folk music and live art duo Lunatraktors and many more.
You can also try your hand at a drumming workshop with Ghanaian drumming group Kakatsitsi, or show off your best moves at Cut A Shine’s raucous Ceilidh.
2. WALK ON HOT COALS!
In a Timber first, festivalgoers can test their courage in the ultimate physical and mental challenge of walking on hot coals. Internationally qualified fire-walking instructor Olivia Beardsmore will fully prepare participants for this life-changing experience before they walk on the embers.
3. TALKS & DEBATES
Expand your horizons at the Field Notes stage with a huge range of talks and debates on how we can live more sustainably, plus film screenings from Kendal Mountain Festival, comedy from Leicester Comedy Festival and a stellar lineup of cabaret.
You can also hear from authors and writers including Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who returns to Timber to read from his new book The Owl and the Nightingale, as well as author Max Porter (Grief is a Thing with Feathers), who will give a special improvised performance accompanied by folk maestros rushes/esp.
4. BECOME A MOVING FOREST
In a huge celebratory moment, The People Are the Forest will unite everyone at the festival as the sun sets on the Saturday evening. People will build their own tree-like sculptures from sustainable wood provided by Arnold Laver, then gather together to hold them skywards whilst singing a new song written especially for the festival by Boff Whalley, founding member of Chumbawamba, and theatre maker Daniel Bye.
‘We’re so excited to be back in the National Forest for the fourth Timber Festival. Everything in the programme is designed to connect audiences with the wildness of nature, whether it’s listening to live music in the breathtaking surroundings of the forest, taking part in forest bathing or gong baths in our wellbeing area, exploring intriguing installations under the treetops, or taking part in a firewalk over burning embers.’
Co-founder of Wild Rumpus
5. OUTDOOR ARTS
Watch spectacular outdoor arts performances and installations brought to Timber by commissioners Without Walls, including Timeless by Joli Vyann, a circus and dance show performed inside a seven-metre-high hourglass, Look Mum, No Hands! by Mimbre, a tender story about friendship told through physical theatre, and Lives of Clay by The Clay Connection, which brings stories of women from ancient myths to life through Indian dance, music and half a tonne of clay. And giant plants will reach out to connect with you in Unfurl, a garden like no other created by robotic studio Air Giants.
6. FAMILY FUN
Families can get hands-on with nature in a wealth of activities over the weekend, from rolling natural treasures down a huge marble run to getting crafty with workshops including seed ball making, spoon carving and even making a family of clay woodlice.
They can also build a giant playground from tyres, ropes and ladders in DIY Utopia, an open, wild and free play space where kids make the rules.
7. KIDS’ PERFORMANCES
Enjoy art and performance by the next generation. Walk through The Great Timber Sproutness, an installation of thousands of clay mushrooms handmade by school children from within the National Forest.
Symphony for String Quartet and Forest is an exciting project working with local school children to explore classical chamber music and its connections with nature through a series of musical presentations, performance workshops and an outdoor performance of a newly commissioned piece.
8. MAGIC IN THE DARK
Explore the festival as dusk falls – Timber comes alive at night! Walk The Gloaming light trail and marvel at full moons, glow-worms and gleaming stars, watch bands around the Timber campfire and dance to woodland DJs playing high up in the forest canopy.
Stretch your body and centre your mind in calming wellbeing sessions in the Shivelight area, from laughter yoga and gong baths to meditation and forest bathing.
10. FOOD & GROWING
Feast at nature’s larder in The Common, an area dedicated to all things food with talks, workshops and demos. Delve into the magical world of mushrooms, learn about organic food growing, and even try some edible insects. And you can find your new festival bestie in Forest Speed-Friending.
Timber Fest tickets are still available here – prices range from £20 for a child day ticket to £140 for an adult three-day camping ticket. Residents of the National Forest get 25% off all tickets.
Cyclists can join the Big Timber Bike Ride and cycle to the festival from Birmingham with Red Fox Cycling.
Red Fox will guide you on a scenic cycle ride through beautiful countryside, serve up tasty snacks en route and even carry your bags. All cyclists on the bike ride get a discount of £55 on weekend camping tickets.
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