NEWS: Niddfest | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The tagline pulled me in. “Celebrating nature in writing.” Two of my favourite things. Combined in a weekend festival. In the Yorkshire Dales. I’ve heard great things about Nidderdale and how pretty it is. Recently there’s been a rise in popularity of festivals with a more cultural emphasis (Festival No.6, Port Eliot, Curious Arts Festival) perhaps appealing to those that are bored with the traditional music festivals or those with creative sensibilities who want to do something a bit different.

Niddfest (in its 2nd year) was set up by Kit Peel, who has an interesting backstory. In a previous life Kit was a foreign affairs journalist, travelling from the Artic to Afghanistan, with long periods in Africa, before settling down in Yorkshire to set up NiddFest. He has also just qualified as a landscape gardener and is writing a children’s book. The festival takes place from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August, and instead of buying a festival pass, events are individually ticketed so you can pick and choose the events that suit you best. It’s also family friendly, with plenty of fun and educational events and activities to encourage kids to see nature as part of their everyday lives.

Expect a weekend of talks, music and outdoor events, perfect for nature lovers and literary types. Headlining Niddfest is Carol Ann Duffy, the UK’s 20th Poet Laureate (most people will remember her poems being featured on the curriculum at school – for me Valentine has always stuck in my mind). She’s speaking on the opening night and reading selected poems on Saturday morning. Salish Kumar is an author, editor and peace/environmental activist (he currently edits Resurgence and Ecologist magazine). His latest book Soil, Soul And Society urges readers to remember that we are very much part of nature, and why we need to take a broader view of our route towards a more secure and sustainable future. (You can find out more at his talk on Friday evening). Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker, and will share the stage with Carol Ann Duffy on the opening night (she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014). The North East’s very own Mercury prize-nominated singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams is sure to enchant the audience on Saturday evening, singing tracks from her latest album Hypoxia, which was inspired by Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar.’

Niddfest takes place at Pateley Bridge, Harrogate from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August.

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