What is Festival of the Dark?

How would it be if we turned off the lights. And sat - just for a while - in the dark? What might we discover? Rediscover, perhaps? Shall we try? 

We want to explore the darkness, profoundly, in Reading’s Festival of the Dark. It will be based on the ancient Celtic Wheel of the Year, running from winter solstice to winter solstice (21 December 2016 - 21 December 2017). The events will be scheduled according to the significant dates in this calendar. The focus is on the rhythms of the seasons, the seesaw of day and night, and on the subtle recognition of winter and darkness as essential counterpoints to summer and the light.

The Festival will challenge, creating cultural flashlights to illuminate aspects of the ‘dark’ that are largely hidden and shunned. It will be a vital element of the festival that the community contributes, and is drawn in, to these explorations. It is hoped that by 21 December 2017, Reading will have come far enough in its quest to celebrate a turning off of the lights for one night. 

The scope of the festival will be focussed yet diverse, with commissioned installations, music, wild events in nature and on the river, keynote speakers - all exploring darkness physically, scientifically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, environmentally. The ideas already flowing are fertile and exciting and we already have many rich events scheduled. More detailed information will follow.

Our festival partners are South Street Arts Centre and Olympia Ballroom, and we have the full support and backing of Reading Borough Council, University of Reading, Reading Climate Change Group, Reading Year of Culture 2016, Broad Street Mall, Dark Mountain Project and Tipping Point.

Reading is courageous in committing to this challenge and we are proud to be working with the Reading community. Your support and involvement is so important to its success. 

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Outrider Anthems, registered company number 07289131.
15 Burnham Rise, Emmer Green, Reading RG4 8XJ   T. 07878 697892   E. outrideranthems@gmail.com