From walking mechanical installations to international comic artists, here are ten festivals to find great art at between now and October
Edinburgh festivals, until August 31
© Neil Hanna
Visitors to the International and Fringe festivals are spoilt for art. The brimming Edinburgh Art Festival programme includes a show by Turner Prize nominee Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and performances by Phill Jupitus (at the Royal Botanic Garden’s Inverleith House) and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy (Talbot Rice Gallery). Jupitus will also sketch some of his favourite artworks from the National Galleries of Scotland on his iPad in the free Sketch Comic exhibition, taking place as part of the Fringe.
Festival of Love, Southbank Centre, London, until August 31
© bread&circus' Wot? No fish!!
Aiming to transform its 21-acre site, this festival of playful installations includes a jewel-coloured pavilion outside the Royal Festival Hall, a newly commissioned artwork by Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner, the first display of actor Jim Broadbent’s sculptures and a mirrored maze based on the chemicals produced by those in love. Free exhibitions include a set of 40 neon signs by designer Chris Bracey, a set of illustrated wake packets – the inspiration for theatre production bread&circuses – and One Nation Under a Groove, a selection of more than 100 images from the Photographic Youth Music and Culture Archive.
The Long Progress Bar, Lighthouse, Brighton, September 3-4
© Courtesy Lighthouse
The idea of improving reality is one most would happily subscribe to, and Lighthouse’s inventive festival of “radical imagination” aims to do that through collective action, technology and art. The line-up is excitingly lengthy and eclectic: rap-loving satirist David Blandy’s futuristic video on capitalism is a must-see, while Katrina Burch and Diann Bauer – the authors of the xenofeminist manifesto – work in multidisciplinary art, philosophy, electro, archaeology and sound.
Summer Bytes, The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley, August 1-30
Vintage 1970s surveillance equipment, the BBC’s beautifully retro the MicroBit, app building, insights into Apple’s machinations and an addictive LEGO room are among the highlights amid the stirring surroundings of Bletchley Park. Tickets include family readmission throughout the summer.
Margate Festival of Colour: Tribes, Margate, August 13 – September 13
© Turner Contemporary
Building on last year’s Summer of Colour, Turner Contemporary is again helping to create an interdisciplinary festival across Tracey Emin’s hometown, inspired by the subcultural tone of Grayson Perry’s current exhibition at the gallery.
Bestival, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight, September 10-13
Bestival adds even more to its visual spectacle of glittery partiers: look out for the special Carnivale area this year – the Arts Council are involved in the festival’s central carnival – as well as rave knitting and much more.
Abandon Normal Devices, Grizedale Forest, Lake District, September 18-20
© Forestry Commission - Abandon
Resisting any work by Marshmallow Laser Feast, one of the artists taking part in this meeting of art, digital play and new cinema across the Lake District’s Grizedale Forest, would surely be churlish. A “living” exhibition in the forest is based around plants, while the treks and trails include a trip to a Love Motel.
Art Out Loud, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, September 18-20
© Benedict Johnson
Chatsworth is steeped in literary history – the Duke of Devonshire, who takes the 16th century mansion as his seat, still owns an antiquarian bookshop in Mayfair where his author aunt worked during World War II. It’s a fitting setting, then, for this festival of words dedicated to art, with a programme comprising a series of talks featuring the likes of youngest living Academician Conrad Shawcross, who will discuss his work with the RA’s Tim Marlow, and Grayson Perry, whose talk on September 20 has just had more tickets made available.
Ramsbottom Festival, Greater Manchester, September 18-20
© Steve Edwin
The fifth stage at the fifth outing of this Lancashire festival is dedicated to family arts, and it doesn’t hold back in its scope. The Marie Celestial, a walking mechanical art installation and street theatre show, was commissioned alongside Glastonbury Festival, and a circus theatre performance unfolds with the audience walking alongside it. Stone Balancing also teaches kids how to create the impossible by applying science to natural materials.
Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, October 16-18
© 2015 Bill Morrison. All Rights Reserved
If the ultra-cool postcards produced to promote this festival are any measure, including one by comic laureate and The Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, the weekend itself should be a dream for illustration fans in an area where Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth were once inspired. Acerbic Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell opens the show.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
This is just a small selection of the thousands of UK cultural events and exhibitions we have on Culture24. Click here to see everything.