INTERVIEW: Tour de Moon | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Nelly Ben Hayoun by Siqi Li for Financial Times

Taking the Earth’s celestial companion the Moon as its inspiration, a unique and immersive free festival of events will land in a variety of venues in Newcastle from Friday 27th-Monday 30th May, in what promises to be an out of this world experience designed to provoke radical thinking and instigate change.

Tour de Moon aims to provide a platform for youth counterculture, inviting audiences to think about radical approaches to challenges in the global climate and imagine alternate futures. The project is the brainchild of polymath Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun, who is founder of NASA’s International Space Orchestra and the tuition-free University of the Underground; a radical thinker whose large-scale multi-dimensional experiential projects intersect science, theatre, politics, music and design, her work has included collaborations with Noam Chomsky, Pussy Riot, Massive Attack and Kid Cudi to name a few, and her reputation as an instigator and challenger of institutions makes Tour de Moon, and the potential for what may result from it, an exciting prospect indeed.

Providing a “platform for fresh thinking and new ideas” the festival is committed to “plurality, decolonial practices, social and racial justice, solidarity and equity”. Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun explains further: “Our main objective of Tour de Moon is to prompt radical imagination, support pluralistic thinking to offer alternative futures developed by and with youths. With this festival we decided to redistribute our funding and to use our platform to celebrate the nightlife sector and young adults – demographics which have been hit especially hard by the impacts of Covid and funding cuts over the last few years. Tour de Moon travels with the night, seeking new beginnings to empower others to create, initiate and innovate with new thinking and pluralistic practices so that history does not repeat itself on and beyond Earth.”

Tour de Moon travels with the night, seeking new beginnings to empower others to create, initiate and innovate with new thinking and pluralistic practices

Chief among the attractions will be the Moon Convoy, a fully-sustainable armada of vehicles parading down Nelson and Grainger Streets which will elicit cosmic transformations through the mediums of live music, DJ sets, talks, film screenings and a giant squid (of course). At Star & Shadow Cinema, a selection of short films will introduce new concepts and important messages on care and youth countercultures and their experiences with nightlife; they advise audiences to expect “unique discourses and non-linear narratives on science subjects”. In the Ouseburn warehouse spaces on Lime Street, Moon Experiences aims to repurpose buildings to create a surreal and unusual theatrical space; a highlight of the programme includes Soundbath by Loss><Gain, which features music and compositions from a stellar line-up of musicians and composers including Anna Meredith, Kae Tempest, Jarvis Cocker, Riz Ahmed, Oliver Coates, Rival Consoles, Gruff Rhys, Cosmo Sheldrake, Yelfris Valdès, Jatinder Singh Durhailay & Suren Seneviratne and Roella Oloro. Across the weekend at World Headquarters, Moon Music will showcase rising musical talent and feature North East artists including Alannah Lamb, Weston, PDT, RENOK, 9000, Westy, Georgia May, Knats and Nadedja.

Moon Talks aims to engage and rouse, with a series of panel discussions with multidisciplinary nightlife workers and policy makers around how attitudes can be rethought and policies reshaped. Panellists include Ruby Kearney, Jack Heath, Nicola Mantalios-Thompson, Tom Bailey, Geoff Kirkwood, Lee Kyle, Scott Turnbull, Richard Little aka Faux King Dik, Gabriel Day, Sammy Dobson, and Dami Fawehinmi among others, taking place across World Headquarters, Discovery Museum and Star & Shadow Cinema.

Entry to events is free, but ticketed. See the website for more info.

Tour de Moon takes place at various venues in Newcastle from Friday 27th-Monday 30th May.

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