Aerial – the Lake District’s new festival of contemporary music, literature and performance

Aerial – the Lake District’s new festival of contemporary music, literature and performance.

New artists join previously announced headliners Kate Tempest (sold out), Hayden Thorpe (Wild Beasts) and only show outside London for The Barbican’s ‘The Lark Ascending’ feat. Vashti Bunyan and more.

Literary website Caught By The River will host an afternoon aboard a classic steamer on Lake Windermere, featuring authors Helen Mort (winner of the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize and author of Lake District Trail Running)  and Amy Liptrot (author of the acclaimed Outrun) plus an acoustic set by the wonderful Jack Cooper and Roy Wilkinson (author of Do It For Your Mum).

The Quietus will take over the Ambleside Inn for an afternoon of music and conversation , hosted by co-founder Luke Turner (acclaimed author of Out of the Woods) and featuring artists from the festival and some very special guests.

Also announcing Ambleside Late Night Sessions which will take place in ’Sporties’ at The Ambleside Tavern. Friday 27th will see a takeover from BUMS (Barrow Underground Music Society) headed by the BUM-In-Chief DJ Gripper and some very special guests. Established by music lovers in 2017 BUMS was created as a reaction to the anodyne, the normal and bland, expect the unexpected and be prepared to hit the dance floor.

Saturday 28th will see a live PA from Brooklyn born but Barrow-based Niko and a vinyl only DJ set from legendary Cumbrian producer Aim representing Barrow’s Atic Records. They will be joined by the future sound of Cumbria Kendal-based Sierre, acclaimed by Redbull Music as one of Britain’s most promising new producers.

Ambleside Tavern will also play host to a new commission from artist Lone Taxidermist ‘Marra’. A multi-sensory installation and performance ‘Marra’ is based on her childhood growing up as a first-generation immigrant in rural West Cumbria. Step into a world of dialect and ancient ceremony, endangered voices and esoteric rituals from auctioneers to gurners, a side of Cumbria hidden from view remade in a truly singular and extraordinary way.

Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Corbel Stone Press, one of the foremost small presses in the UK dedicated to landscape and the natural world with an afternoon at Nab Cottage. The event will comprise an afternoon of music and film interspersed with readings from contributors to their publications over the past decade, including artists Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright, poets Erica Bell and Andy Hopkins, and writer of strange fiction Mark Valentine.

The first wave of announcements, included performances from Hayden Thorpe (Wild Beasts) as the festival artist-in-residence; iconic poet and recording artist Kate Tempest (now sold out), and The Lark Ascending, an imaginative retelling of Richard King’s acclaimed book, with a stellar line up including Vashti Bunyan and the Deepthroat Choir, that comes straight from the Barbican to St Mary’s Church in Ambleside.

Responding to the surrounds of the Lakes, Aerial’s bespoke bill of iconic and up-and-coming artists will take over churches, country houses, a prehistoric stone circle, a Windermere steamboat and even a cave over a long weekend from 26-29 March 2020.

As a prelude to the Festival, The Wordsworth Trust and Stagecoach will bring poetry to the people via Local routes 555 and 599, on Thursday 19 March. Acclaimed Poets Kim Moore and Clare Shaw will perform their contemporary work and share Wordsworth’s words with passengers as they journey through the landscape that inspired some of The Lakes greatest poetry – and continues to inspire poets today

Aerial is created by Luke Bainbridge (Head of Arts at Festival No.6, previously Deputy Editor of Observer Music Monthly), and Kendal-born Sam Hunt (previously Creative Director of London Borough of Culture), who have pulled together an ambitious programme with a focus on new commissions reflecting a contemporary take on the creativity the Lake District inspires.

Sam Hunt one of the organisers said “Aerial is the sort of festival that you can dip and out of, rather like wild swimming in Rydal Water. It is designed as a collection of individually ticketed and free shows that allows you to plan a weekend escape to the Lakes on your own terms. Based in Ambleside and in easy reach of the best the area has to offer we invite you to experience why this place has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to generation after generation of artists. See some shows, explore the bars and restaurants, head out on epic fell treks or take a gentle stroll. The Lake District belongs to you and Aerial is all the excuse you need to begin, rekindle or continue what will inevitably be a lifelong love affair with this most beautiful corner of the country.”

Aerial is still inviting submissions for a 24hr radio broadcast by The Dark Outside who will transmit from the Merz Barn in Elterwater, in honour of German artist Kurt Shwitters who created his seminal work there . Aerial is looking for submissions of music or sounds never heard before to be part of the broadcast. Details on the Aerial website.

Aerial was commissioned by Great Place Lakes and Dales, a National Lottery Heritage and Arts Council funded initiative which spans the rural corridor linking Grasmere and Skipton.

Produced in partnership with From The Fields, the brains behind Kendal Calling, the festival is part of the initiative’s ambition to place arts, heritage and culture at the heart of the future of the area, promoting it as a great place for under 35’s to live and work.

Tickets and more information can be found at