AERIAL is the Lake District’s innovative new festival of original work and commissions – online and free from 26 September 2020

  • Over 20 new works and commissions from over 40 artists will be accessible online and for free via from 26th September

This was intended to be Aerial’s inaugural year but like all other live events, live performance, especially in the confines of intimate village venues, is now impossible.

Aerial has adapted, cancelled all live shows and used this unique situation as an opportunity to focus on the event’s core purpose – a commitment to commissioning amazing artists to make new work and asking them to respond to the natural, social and cultural history of the Lake District and Cumbria. All ticket holders have been offered either full refunds or the opportunity to donate the price of the ticket to local foodbanks.

On Saturday 26th September Aerial will release these commissions online for free for everyone to enjoy, hosted at It will, over time, become an extensive archive of new work commissioned by the festival.

Supported by Great Place Lakes and Dales an NLHF and ACE funded programme, this significant body of work will feature new music from Kendal-born, ex-Wild Beast and Aerial artist-in-residence Hayden Thorpe, including 2020 a specially commissioned piece created in collaboration with Deepthroat Choir.

Natalie Sharp AKA Lone Taxidermist is also an artist in residence. Hailing from Cumbria’s west coast she is returning home to explore her upbringing through a series of short films, reflecting on life as a first generation immigrant in small town Cumbria. 

Prelude 2020 is a series of commissions asking artists to respond to the tumultuous events of 2020 inspired in part by Wordsworth’s epic poem The Prelude and the Wordsworth 250 celebrations. Aerial has partnered with The Quietus to offer five commissions to artists working in sound featuring Tom Fox and Nick Murray, Rob Walker, Viridian Ensemble, Alice Jones and Hawthonn.

Caught By The River present words and sounds including Stuart Maconie on his own experiences climbing the mountains of the Lakes and paying tribute to Harry Griffin. Author Roy Wilkinson will talk about growing up in Kendal and the start of his brothers’ group, British Sea Power. The UK’s foremost field recording artist Chris Watson presents Lake District recordings from his archives. There will also be new recordings from Jack Cooper (Modern Nature) and contributions from author Helen Mort.

Aerial has also partnered with The Willowherb Review, a journal dedicated to diversity in nature writing,to commission five writers, with new work from Pratyusha, Jennifer Neal, Kaliane Bradley, Amanda Thomson and Karen Larbi.

Sound of Silence will be a series of sound works from artists with deep connections to Cumbria all responding to the Lakes in lockdown. Commissioned through an open call, it will see new work from Andrew Tomlinson, Taylor Nuttall & Emma Nuttall, Polly Atkin & Will Smith, Michael Denny & Simon Sylvester and Jack McNeill.

The Dark Outside presents The Da-Dark Outside; a one-off 24hr online radio broadcast featuring sounds and music no-one has ever heard (or will hear again) with a conscious lean to the weird, experimental and left field inspired by the legacy of artist Kurt Schwitters.

Corbel Stone Press celebrate their 10th anniversary with contributions of music and films from Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson and spoken word from many of their acclaimed poets and writers, including Penelope Shuttle, Gerry Loose, Andy Hopkins, Peter O’Leary, Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright

For all events go to Aerial festival

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