Festivals, music, art and creativity are at the heart and soul of Sundae, so it was an incredible honour to be asked to look after press and publicity for this year’s Shangri-La, our favourite ‘naughty-corner’ of Glastonbury, the festival of all festivals.
Little did we know when exploring the late-night mecca in previous years that we’d be invited to be part of such a beautiful and talented family of creative pioneers, and share their vision for Shangri-La’s tenth incarnation with the world.
I first met Shangri-La’s artistic director Kaye Dunnings eight months ago at 2018’s Design Manchester festival, when she came and delivered a show-stopping talk about her 17 year relationship with Glastonbury. She told her personal creative story, which began delivering installations at Lost Vagueness, and later creating Shangri-La with an incredible ground-breaking collective of artists, musicians and producers to guide the field in the South-East corner of Glastonbury through ten shape-shifting formations.
More than a music festival, and far beyond an art gallery, Shangri-La is a completely unique, politically challenging, community building and above all wildly entertaining production that takes months to develop. For us, it is truly a dream project, as it brings together all that we love, with an infectious, inspiring, heart-warming life force of its own.
We’ve been on site for three days already, after a recce three weeks ago, which is absolutely nothing compared to the six weeks or more the build team, led by Kaye’s partner Willy Brothwood, have been living here for. In even those three days, we’ve seen the site change beyond measure, with the art and venues growing and changing by the hour. We’ve also had the warmest of welcomes and already feel like we never want to leave.
We’ve been kept busy over the past weeks. This year’s theme, Junkstaposition, as ever, couldn’t be more timely, and it has garnered huge interest even before anyone has seen the field, which is being kept strictly under wraps until the first full day of the festival tomorrow.
Junkstaposition isn’t the creative ‘theme’ you might find at another festival, it’s a mirror of the Re-use, Recycle, Resist mantra the Shangri-La team live in their personal and professional lives. This year, we worked with Creative Boom and Creative Review to tell the story of how Shangri-La is created, and all the people that contribute, shining a light on some of the interactive creative responses to it.
Every single item you find at Shangri-La has been re-used or re-cycled, and this year the 360 Gas Tower arena is being made from 10 tonnes of plastic collected from beaches across the South West of England, a project developed in partnership with the Orca Sound Project and Keep Britain Tidy. This created huge media interest, with hundreds of titles across the UK covering the news.
Also new for this year, Shangri-La is hosting new venue The Shed, produced by artistic director Moses Powers, and dedicated to celebrating positive masculinity. This is a completely new festival concept, and so to tell its story thoughtfully, we worked with Moses on an opinion editorial for the Huffington Post, which explained its inception, intent and programme.
Walking around Shangri-La, you can feel the anticipation, and there’s so much to come, it’s difficult to pin-point the element we’re most excited about. From the art, which is still transforming before our eyes, to the incredible music line up, delivered by the legendary Chris ‘Tofu’ MacMeikan, which includes Denzel Curry, Craig Charles, Norman Jay, IDLES and the secret act we couldn’t contain our excitement about any more, Sleaford Mods.
See you on the other side.