What a crazy festival-starved time we’ve all had to endure since we packed up our tents in 2019. We’re not quite out of the woods yet, but we do feel, pending some sort of ‘reversible of the irreversible’ turn of events, we will be able to welcome you back to our enchanted forest, to embrace fabulous music, make new friends and lose your inhibitions.
Cloudspotting is a magical place. The combination of spectacular natural habitat, talented artistry and an open-minded audience creates a special alchemy. We founded the festival on the premise that sharing new experiences across generations provides special and lasting memories. And boy could we do with creating a few more of those
Our programme reflects freedom, expression, diversity and family friendliness. Edgy and provocative at times, fun and joyous at others. We have modified our activities and capacity a little this year to ensure that things are nicely spaced out and there is plenty room to camp. We hope our audience will be engaged, immersed and inspired, and as many as possible can stick around for the burning embers of our 10th birthday weekend on Sunday night.
The two live music stages at Cloudspotting alternate throughout the weekend, meaning our audience don’t have to miss a beat. Our ‘In the Pines’ stage gets a facelift this year. The beauty of this location and the crispness of the natural acoustics in the trees combine to create a rare experience when the addition of live performance is thrown into the mix.
It’s a rare all UK-based line-up for obvious reasons but one which bristles with creativity, originality and as ever, more than a little quirkiness.
Founded in 1994, The Leaf Label – based in Leeds – is one of the UK’s most enduring and adventurous independent record labels. The eclecticism of the label’s output is perfectly illustrated by the three artists performing – Snapped Ankles, Sarathy Korwar and Keeley Forsyth. We are also delighted to host label boss Tony Morley and Thea to come and play some tunes from the Leaf back catalogue, as well as some soul and disco for some tea-time fun in the woods.
Douglas Dare, whose album Milkteeth, on the brilliant Erased Tapes label, kept our ears warm throughout lockdown, will perform an intimate set in the forest and on the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, Loose Articles, will give us a blast of their punk-fuelled garage vignettes. Contemporary folk from Lancashire in the shape of Propori and propulsive pop art from Lancaster from Dog Daisies will fire up the furnace early afternoon. We look forward to sharing the next line-up announcement before the end of April.
Friday night’s music schedule is now complete. It will be headlined by the inventive London prog-synth duo Soccer96 – comprised of Danalogue (synths) and Betamax (drums) – two thirds of the Comet is Coming. A late night performance packed with power and emotion is guaranteed from Nuha Ruby Ra. And before all that, we have first time visits to Cloudspotting for the brilliantly widescreen Mesadorm, a prog-funk shakedown with Shaku and two favourites of our festival past, the wonderfully infectious Gideon Conn and grizzled genius of John Bramwell.
Trees are the theme of Cloudspotting 10th as we pay homage to the earth’s oldest living guardian. Gisburn Forest Hub is surrounded by trees – both ancient woodland and plantation forest. From making things with sticks to building dens, life drawing our forest queen and exploring our arts trails, we will be creating a festival of foliage throughout the weekend. More tree themed activities to be announced.
We are very excited to be hosting the Celestial Sound Cloud courtesy of the brilliantly inventive Pif-Paf outdoor theatre makers. The sound cloud explores the relationship between nature and technology and asks whether human symbiosis can draw us closer to nature by play. This highly visual and sonic invention is totally interactive. Initially commissioned in 2016 by Kendal Calling, the piece has been further engineered and developed by its creator Pete Gunson. We can’t wait to bring it to Gisburn Forest.
Touring theatre from national treasures The Fabularium – who bring their newest piece ‘The Hare and the Moon’ for two performances on Saturday and a brand new commission by Spot On Rural Touring – ‘The Cabinet of Curiosities’ by Eye of a Newt Theatre brings entertainment for families, with more to be added the programme in the coming weeks.