The award-winning Timber Festival will celebrate its 3rd edition returning to its stunning woodland home in the heart of the National Forest on 2nd–4th July 2021. With only a handful of tickets, remaining festival-goers are urged to buy now to avoid disappointment. Musicians Gruff Rhys, The Unthanks, Snapped Ankles, Erland Cooper, Field Music, and Sam Lee top a diverse bill where music, performance, and the arts run wild. Tickets are on sale here.
Timber Festival will be going ahead within the current step three guidelines and under close consultation with the local authority safety advisory group and the director of public health. Because of the size of the location and the small scale of the audience, there is plenty of space for everyone to spread out. Producer Wild Rumpus has been working collaboratively over the summer with the Outdoor Arts sector to highlight COVID-19 safe practices and operating safe small-scale events.
Nestled in the National Forest, Timber Festival is a hive of activity all day and into the night. Curated with love and imagination and featuring a vast array of activities, the Timber festival is colourful, curious and creative, and wonderfully wild and adventurous. Beguiling and enchanting, Timber Festival offers families and friends the perfect staycation opportunity, a sanctuary nestled amongst the forest. By day an enchanted menagerie of music and culture awaits, shape-shifting with the dwindling light into illuminated reverie amidst the darkness of the woods.
Created by the National Forest Company and award-winning festival producers Wild Rumpus, Timber takes place at Feanedock, on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border in the National Forest, from 2nd–4th July 2021. A celebration of trees and forests, in a place where trees have led the transformation of a former mining landscape, Timber encourages audiences to re-examine their relationship with the natural world. Attendees are invited to join artists, musicians, performers, and writers, as they respond and react to the forest in bold and exhilarating ways.
Rowan Cannon and Sarah Bird, directors of Wild Rumpus, and partners with the National Forest Company in creating Timber Festival, said: ‘A riot of creativity, Timber Festival’s programming aims to be the best. Packed full of great ideas, we’re ready to entertain and engage the most energetic and curious minds.’
‘We aim to deliver life-affirming programming that explores our relationship with the natural world, from wild treetop adventures and bush-craft activities to a packed programme of music, theatre, and dance. After a year of lockdown, we all want to get together with our family and friends and create great new memories. Timber promises to be a magical, fabulous fun-packed weekend, and we can not wait.’
‘We hope that Timber 2021 will provide the sense of escapism, connection, and community that we are all longing for right now. Forests are resilient, adaptive, and multifaceted; they offer hope, sanctuary, and solace. They provide comfort and inspiration to us all. The unifying and restorative power of nature has never been stronger, and this is reflected in our amazing lineup of speakers and artists.’
John Everitt, chief executive of the National Forest Company, said: ‘What better way to spend time with friends and family this summer than at our boutique Forest festival. The programming really does have something for everyone to get out, enjoy the outdoors together, experience a sense of adventure, and celebrate a better future. So, join us for Timber 2021 – it’s the perfect antidote to lockdown.’
Timber’s carefully curated musical line-up is a clear statement of intent. Gruff Rhys headlines the bill, Super Furry Animals frontman, Neon Neon singer, and a prolific solo artist in his own right. His recent solo album Seeking New Gods was praised for its madcap curiosity.
With their other-worldly, post-punk debut Come Play the Trees, Snapped Ankles could not be a better fit for Timber. Summoning the feral energy of the forest, the East Londoners bring their homemade log synths to Timber’s Field Notes stage. The band’s third album, Forest Of Your Problems, is released on the day of Timber in what promises to be the ultimate celebration.
Rhys is joined by artistically brave and revered folk duo The Unthanks, whose haunting harmony signature pieces like Magpie (recently brought to wider attention by Mackenzie Crook’s beautifully poignant series, Detectorists) make them perfect for the festival.
Timber also welcomes Field Music. The band boasts several critically acclaimed albums, including Commontime (2016) and Plumb (2012), and a reputation for innovative and varied live performances. Since forming in 2004, they have become known for a deconstructionist approach to music and songs, carving a niche in their approach to albums, soundtracks, and collaborations. Field Music’s critically acclaimed culminated in the current album Flat White Moon, praised universally for its buoyant, bright art-pop.
Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer, conservationist, song collector, award-winning promoter, broadcaster, and activist Sam Lee also joins the bill. Lee’s recent album Old Wow, produced by Bernard Butler (Suede, MacAlmont & Butler), is devoted to the natural world, a commitment that has long since dominated Sam’s principles.
BBC radio presenter and broadcaster Elizabeth Alker will once again take over a day on the woodland Eyrie Stage, programming a mixture of live music, spoken word, and a DJ set. Alker is the host of BBC Radio 3’s Unclassified and presents weekend editions of Breakfast.
After dark, Timber comes alive. The natural amphitheatre beneath the trees is replete with beats, lasers, and lights. As well as his appearance in Wilderness Tracks, the nation’s bard Simon Armitage switches a mic for the turntables as he takes to the woodland Eyrie Stage as a night-time DJ- expect the unexpected.
Timber Festival has commissioned cutting-edge musicians Erland Cooper, Hinako Omori, and Jason Singh to create new music in response to crowd-sourced sounds from forests and woodlands worldwide. Supported by the PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Organisations, the music will be premiered at the festival.
A rabble-rousing range of established wordsmiths and podcasters who all recognise the power of language to change the world and the environment top the Timber line-up.
In exploring the climate crisis, Timber, set at the heart of the National Forest, is all about encouraging people to live more sustainably and in harmony with nature. In 2021, much of the programme will explore the impacts that we have on the world and tackle the climate crisis. Expect a clarion call to action in a speech by Caroline Lucas, MP.
Timber will also host a reading of Letters to the Earth from Culture Declares Emergency, a book compiled of moving and inspiring letters about the climate crisis from the British public, along with authors, scientists, and actors, including contributions from Emma Thompson, Yoko Ono, and Kae Tempest. Audiences will listen to recordings by contributors, reading out letters from the book in a thought-provoking audio installation.
Jini Reddy also discusses belonging and otherness in a conversation about her new book Wanderland which was recently shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize. The book explores Reddy’s very personal journey to connect with the magical and sacred landscape in Britain. Pascale Petit, the winner of The Poet Laureate’s inaugural Laurel Prize for ecopoetry, reads from Mama Amazonica at the festival alongside the Ginkgo Prize 2021 winner.
Across the weekend, new thinkers challenge audiences to re-examine our relationship with the natural world. Each year top guests discuss their favourite nature-inspired music in Wilderness Tracks with BBC Radio 4’s Geoff Bird. The bird will host a live version of Wilderness Tracks with Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and beloved Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh. Julie Hesmondhalgh said: ‘I’m really looking forward to coming along to the amazing National Forest for the Timber Festival and sharing my Wilderness Tracks on what will surely be a beautiful summer’s day. Can’t wait.’
With its extensive wellness programme, Timber offers sanctuary and escapism, an opportunity to stop, look up, slow down and engage directly in nature. An array of yoga, Tai Chi, mindfulness, and well-being workshops will take place across the weekend to relax and soothe the soul.
Timber offers an alluring and immersive environment; live performance art and installations will enthrall. Ascension Dance presents The Other Side, a thrilling outdoor dance performance that combines parkour and contemporary dance with live engineering and bridge-building. Nita Rao from ArtSpace will harness the healing power of art and nature Forest of Healing installation.
One truly immersive activity, in every sense, is Forest Bathing (Shinrin Yoku), a wellness practice aimed at spending time in nature to gain a greater sense of well-being. Woodlands and forests are also celebrated in all their glory across the Timber weekend with workshops and activities from the Woodland Trust, The National School of Forestry, The Walking Library for Forest Walks, Transforming the Trent Valley, Heart of the Forest Cooperative, and more.
For attendees who want to embrace nature’s restorative energies and reconnect with the great outdoors, there is the opportunity to participate in a barefoot walk, tree climbing, horse logging, bug hunting, tree-hugging, and much more.
Timber is perfect for adventurers of all ages. Attendees can contemplate their place in the cosmos as they wander among Timber’s giant illuminated planetary installation, get lost among a hand-built woodland maze, ascend high into an unforgettable tree-top world with a guided tree climbing experience, connect with nature on a barefoot walk, participate in a horse logging and much, much more.
Timber is renowned for explosive outdoor arts and awe-inspiring visual entertainment. This year the festival presents extraordinary artists who explore environmentalism and our relationship with nature. Highlights include The Lost Opera, an interactive street performance led by three bewildering beasts who perform a musical composition as you have never heard before. More Productions also present Do What Yah Mamma Told Yah, an immersive and vibrant comedy circus show centred around food and storytelling across geography and generations.
At Timber, there is something breathtaking at every turn. The Heliosphere will see an acrobat suspended beneath a helium balloon spiralling and spinning whilst exploring the uncharted space between the ground and the treetops. World-class funambulist and high-wire walker Chris Bullzini will also delight audiences with a spectacle between the trees.
For 2021, the Timber festival introduces a brand new area. A Gathering Light is the home of intriguing installations that speak to the senses. The area features incredible, immersive experiences. Here Squid Soup presents Where There Is Light, an immersive sound and light installation sharing the voices and stories of sanctuary seeking communities from across the country, and Jason Singh presents The Hidden Music of Trees, an augmented installation where audiences will experience music that has been generated entirely by trees through a 3D visual environment using the interface of mobile devices.
Woodlands and forests are celebrated in all their glory across the Timber weekend with workshops and activities from the Forest School Association, National School of Forestry, Woodland Trust, The Walking Library for Forest Walks, Transforming the Trent Valley, Heart of the Forest Cooperative, and more. The Youth Landscapers, a group of young people from the Heart of the National Forest, share their exciting new after-dark installation, The Telling of the Bees.