A New Festival of Britain

A proposal: A New Festival of Britain.

“The original Festival of Britain in 1951 was planned as an ambitious celebration of British achievements in the fields of the arts, architecture, industry, science and technology. It was also seen as a good way of lifting the doom and gloom from the shoulders of a weary nation and showing the people of Britain that, for all the hardships they were experiencing, the future was bright and exciting with British scientists, designers and inventors leading the world.

Following the referendum in 2016 and the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, we believe at This England that it’s time to start making plans for another festival: to mark our new-found independence in two years’ time and to celebrate all that is best about our magnificent country and its people.”

Nice idea, but I’m just haunted by the naff-and-tat that was New Labour’s awful “Millennium Dome”. Better to disperse a New Festival of Britain rather than centralise, probably, to prevent it being captured and turned by the usual suspects on the left. Or turned into a creaky old nostalgia-fest.

Better to have everyone doing their own thing, regionally and locally, but you only get funding and accreditation and branding for your event / exhibition / etc if it conforms to guidelines and is optimistic and positive and future-facing.

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Further Future festival 002

An interesting music ‘n talks electronica festival happened recently, out in the Nevada desert. At first glance Further Future was a sort of Burning Man-meets-TED, but luxury-brand friendly and seemingly quite heavy on spa treatments for upmarket 30-something hipsters. What makes it interesting for this blog is that Further Future 002 pitched itself as…

“an untethered home for a newly forming and borderless society carrying a shared vision of the world we are making together.”

Visual News had an interview with the lead organiser…

“… our society is in need of an alternative narrative about our future. We find popular culture and literature increasingly obsessed with dystopian futures filled with disaster and darkness. There seems to be a sense of inevitability within this narrative that is corrosive to our ability to find a better direction and solve the challenges confronting us.”

The flyers give a clear insight into how the organisers envisioned their invite-only festival should be. Personally I’d pay not to see or hear the band Caribou, but the hard glam futurism of the flyers certainly offers an alluring Vogue-on-Mars feel…

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Doubtless the reality was dustier, but the festival seems like an interesting twitch in the antenna of culture.

Exhibition – Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today

Brad Bird (director of Tomorrowland) is curating the “Tomorrowland: Walt’s Vision for Today” exhibition at Walt Disney Museum, which will survey Walt’s own optimistic visions of the future at Disneyland, EPCOT, and in Disney’s short factual movies of the 1950s and 60s. The show opens 22nd July 2015, through 7th December 2015.

Disney_ecopt_Spaceship_EarthDetail of the central panel of three mural panels, sited at the exit of the Spaceship Earth attraction at Disney’s EPCOT.