Escape to Port Eliot

Port Eliot Festival cr Michael Bowles

All photographs used in this post are taken by Michael Bowles

Port Eliot Festival brings together some of the best creative talents around and plonks them in the midst of a magical sprawling garden party.

Enticingly, they say: “Our home is your playground for one magical weekend and nothing makes us happier than seeing you explore the Estate. Whether you’re swimming in the estuary, catching a literary star on the Bowling Green, rocking out at the Park Stage, canoeing on the river, catching an intimate gig in the church, watching a cooking demo on the Flower & Fodder Stage, a fashion show or dancing ‘till the wee hours in the Boogie Round – our home is yours for the weekend.”

It all kicks off on 26th July, running till 29th July, at St Germans, West Cornwall.

This year’s speakers, performers, mixologists and events include poet Hollie McNish, Helen Pankhurst, Robert Webb, Lucy Mangan, Tim Clare, Salena Godden, Geoff Dyer, Three Cane Whale, Salena Godden, Savannah Miller, Raleigh Rye, and so many others.

Look out for Travel Writing for Adventurers, the Great Diary Project, and Mindful Masculinity with Caspar Walsh.

There are also exhibitions to be inspired by: In The Round Room, you’ll find live play readings and poetry performances, a Virtual Reality installation, and late night screenings… There’s also the brand new Cinematheque celebrating women in film, Midnight Trapeze & Circus School, and Museum of Witchcraft Nightwalks.

Each of the stages have names that seem plucked straight from fairytales: Lark’s Haven, Walled Garden, Flower and Fodder, The Idler Academy and The Dead Man’s Fingers bar, being just a few.

Port Eliot woodland cr Michael Bowles

It helps, of course, that the surroundings are some of the finest SW England has to offer, with historical attractions including the oldest church in Cornwall – St Germans Priory Norman church. Natural delights range from the Grade 1 listed park and garden, to the estuary. Take a Bee Trail Workshop, go stargazing, try Canadian Canoing or enjoy a mid-summer wassail.Port Eliot estuary cr Michael Bowles

That’s not all though, not by a long short. As the organisers say: “we’ll celebrate words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration, fun and all that is good in the world!”

Now, that’s my kind of party.Night at Port Eliot Festival cr Michael Bowles

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Explore ideas of identity at the Barbican

 Fevered Sleep at the BarbicanLooking for something creative to get up to this weekend (yes, I’m already looking that far ahead)? On Saturday 1 & Sunday 2nd March 2014, from 11am till 6pm, the Barbican is hosting We Create: technology for self-expression.

Part of the regular Barbican Weekender series, the mini festival of digital media offers up a packed programme of free workshops and experiences exploring ideas of image and identity, with genres including music, dance, art, and film.

Black Country Atelier, credit Georgie Clarke

Black Country Atelier, © Georgie Clarke

If you go along you’ll get the chance to take part in activities ranging from 3D printing with Black County Atelier, computer coding and animation workshops by SketchTag, to image printing with The Photocopy Club.

You can experience the first multi-user art and film app by Fevered Sleep; project your energy in award winning dance-based installation danceroom Spectroscopy; watch a short film selected by the Barbican Young Programmers, or compose your own tunes with Musicjelly’s visual library of sounds.

Danceroom Spectroscopy, credit Paul Blakemore

Danceroom Spectroscopy © Paul Blakemore

Every wanted what the texture is of the music you hear? Then investigate Pod, a blue sphere that allows you to touch sounds!

Other highlights include I’ll be Your Mirror by choreographer Darren Johnston in which a hologram mirrors and emulates movement through digital technology; and Transformer, a 20-person game designed by Usman Haque, which takes place in the darkness of Barbican’s Pit Theatre.

In the Curve, there’ll be a chance to see the new commission by United Visual Artists: Momentum. Visitors entering the space are invited to express thoughts and feelings via a live blog and record written fragments in an audio booth. The Barbican Young Poets will then transform words into new works of poetry and spoken word in performances taking place on the Barbican foyers throughout the weekend.

Sounds like an amazing adventure!

Find out more about We Create: technology for self-expression.