Malian music legends Amadou & Mariam, electronic party pioneers Basement Jaxx, acclaimed cinematic pop duo Goldfrapp and legendary punk band The Stranglers headline the four-day event, which runs from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July 2018.
Tickets for the 5000 capacity Lunar Festival, based near the picturesque Warwickshire village of Tanworth-In-Arden just thirty minutes south of Birmingham, will be released for general sale from 10.00 on Friday 23 February 2018.
For the first time in its five year history, the festival site will open up a day early exclusively to 500 weekend ticket holders on Thursday 26 July.
Committed to staying small whilst thinking big, the 2018 edition of Lunar Festival welcomes the introduction of Lunar’s Seven Elements: Learn, Listen, Taste, Relax, Laugh, Move and Create - placing creativity, community and celebration at the heart of an exciting and diverse programme.
"Lunar Festival offering is all about bringing together like-minded individuals, artists, fans and creatives, to realise a shared vision that inspires, entertains, enlightens and captivates through the Seven Elements. We've worked hard over the past year to make the 2018 programme our best yet, for the adventurous and the family-orientated. Lunar is 100% dedicated to celebrating the wonderful community of music and art lovers that have supported the festival to date, and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to this year's edition." - John Fell, Lunar Festival
FRIDAY AT LUNAR FESTIVAL 2018
Amadou & Mariam met as children at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind in Bamako. Now celebrating 35 years as successful musicians playing their electric take on Afroblues across the globe, the duo has recorded eight full-length albums (including 2017’s "La Confusion" via Because Music) and count Stevie Wonder, Manu Chao and Simpson's creator Matt Groening amongst their fans.
Double BRIT award winners Basement Jaxx have gone from throwing hush-hush raves in abandoned South London pizza joints to being a go-to name for eclectic and uplifting mixes and productions that embrace house, Latin, Kizomba, hip hop and broken beats amongst a multitude of styles and genres.
Nabihah Iqbal (formerly Throwing Shade) released her debut LP on respected British label Ninja Tune in December 2017. ‘Weighing of the Heart’ melds live instrumentation and moody, propulsive basslines with shimmering synth atmospheres - a storming work realised by a musician, broadcaster (NTS Radio) and multi-disciplinary artist (Tate, ICA, Barbican).
The Go! Team, an act “who still have faith in the power of music to make things better” promise a joyous set for the Lunar Festival faithful, alongside highly-anticipated sets from Heavenly Records artists: the hotly-tipped Cardiff funk, rave and psych-indie outfit Boy Azooga; and 77:78, a brand new project from The Bees’ Aaron Fletcher and Tim Parkin.
Award-winning family folk group The Unthanks will perform the songs and poems of Molly Drake; a fitting tribute, as Lunar Festival, takes place in Tanworth-In-Arden, the spiritual home of Molly’s son, venerated English singer-songwriter Nick Drake.
SATURDAY AT LUNAR FESTIVAL 2018
Goldfrapp's seventh album ‘Silver Eye’ (a reference to the moon) was released in 2017 and marked a new direction towards cinematic pop with a twist - away from previous forays into electronic folk by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. Ever-inventive and transformational over 21 years of recording and performing, the duo promises a dramatic and visually striking experience to help top off the festival’s Saturday main stage offer.
Critic Alex Petridis (Guardian Music) awarded Hookworms - rock band gone electronic - a rare five-star review for their February 2018 release ‘Microshift’. Lunar Festival offers genuinely memorable and intimate surroundings in which to see and hear one of the UK’s most exciting acts live.
Fusing slinky underground disco, deep electronic throbs, and shimmering pop moments, Crazy P make dance music with a voice, a heart, and soul - a perfect foil for the psychedelic jazz of Soundway Records collective and perennial festival pleasers The Heliocentrics, as well as Birmingham industrial synth-doom merchants Matters.
Trojan Soundsystem celebrates 50 years of the influential reggae label with a gathering of selectors and singers, promising uplifting and feel-good sounds in intimate surroundings of The Crow Bar.
SUNDAY AT LUNAR FESTIVAL 2018
Seminal punk and new wave band The Stranglers bring the Lunar Festival weekend to a fitting end - 43 years since emerging via the Guildford punk rock scene. The band have gone on to experiment with different styles, resulting in smash hits ‘Golden Brown’, ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Always The Sun’, and are consistently cited as one of the most influential acts to have come out of the UK in the 20th century.
After being forced to leave their homes in Mali during the civil conflict and imposition of Sharia law, Songhoy Blues formed. Their 2015 debut album, ‘Music In Exile’, was released via Transgressive Records to universal acclaim, being described as “a masterpiece of desert blues; blending American guitar licks with Malian groove” (NME).
Former lead singer of the legendary and seminal German krautrock band Can, Damo Suzuki now performs around with world as Damo Suzuki’s Network, and has created live improvisational music with more than 7000 different musicians across 43 countries to date. He will bring this project to Lunar Festival for a never-before-seen performance with a group of specially-assembled musicians, dubbed the Lunar Ensemble.
Expect a kaleidoscopic world of wild synths and drums from AK/DK, Jane Weaver’s melodic electro-indie channelling new depths of cosmic energy and fresh soundscapes from rising Birmingham collective Dorcha. More highlights come from Blackash with their fusion of acid rock and acid house and BBC 6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe with his band Galleon Blast.
ELSEWHERE AT LUNAR FESTIVAL 2018
Hosting dance classes by day teaching Bhangra, Northern Soul and Swing, The Crow Bar will carry on the party till 3 am once the music on the Lunar stage has finished.
Similarly, new venue Journey To Nutopia will play host to futuristic talks and workshops through the day, broadening minds and changing perspectives. By night, this venue will see high-calibre DJ sets from the likes of dance music icon, A Guy Called Gerald, performing a live acid jam session, and one of Britain’s first house sound systems, DIY Soundsystem, hosting the Friday night. Also making an appearance to bring a Nutopian electronic-meets-spoken-word set to Lunar is Richard Norris.
In the timber-framed Moonshine Barn – a further addition to this year's Lunar offering – comedy is provided by one of the UK’s longest-standing comedy clubs, The Glee Club. This includes their famous Comedy Carousel as well as performances by crowd favourite Paul Foot and local hero Barbara Nice, hosting Celebrity Blind Date.
Lunar Festival will also see live podcasts, such as Reasons To Be Cheerful by Absolute Radio’s Geoff Lloyd and ex-Labour party leader Ed Miliband, recorded on site.
The Misery Saloon, strictly for the morose over 18s, will host whiskey, rum and gin tasting sessions as well as being home to a matinee of “thoroughly depressing film” and employ a strict "No Smiling Rule”.
FAMILY ACTIVITIES AT LUNAR FESTIVAL 2018
Thanks to partnerships with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Space Centre, families can revel in a wealth of theatre and science-themed activities. The Pink Moon Meadow will host plenty of other entertainment and workshops, such as making your own fairy doors, pottery, wand-making, the renowned Big Fish Little Fish family rave, Lunar team sports and a skate ramp, provided by A Third Foot.
Children can also go free to the Umberslade Children’s Farm where they can interact with baby animals, ride a pony, enjoy the two adventure play areas and even ride one of the farm’s John Deere tractors.
For those wanting a more luxurious experience at Lunar Festival, glamping options include luxury bell tents, beautiful vintage tents or quirky and unique Landpods. To escape from the hustle and bustle, attendees can enjoy a soak in wood-fired hot tubs, complete with waiter service and a chill-out tent at the Northern Sky Retreat.
Lunar Festival is produced by the team behind Moseley Folk Festival (in its twelfth year) and Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival (in its eighth year).
During the Lunar Festival year off in 2017, the team produced Beyond The Tracks Festival in Birmingham, which was subsequently nominated for Best New Festival at the Independent Festival Awards.
The team has brought some of the biggest and best shows to Birmingham over the past five years, including Chaka Khan, George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic, Public Enemy, Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, Laura Marling, Bonobo, Levellers, Ocean Colour Scene, Editors, Orbital, Super Furry Animals and Television.
Applications are currently open for NHS workers to apply for free weekend tickets (one ticket per worker). Applicants must email proof of NHS employment to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 16 March. 100 workers will be selected at random to receive a free ticket.
Lunar Festival tickets are released for general sale from 10 am Friday 23 February 2018 via the official website.