It struck me today that Cambridge, in particular, overflows with festivals. Whatever your hyperspecialised desire, there is probably a festival that will include it in this town. I just got an email from the Food and Drink festival about their fundraising quiz, where you go and drink wine and eat cheese and try and answer insanely specialist food and drink questions in one of the beautiful medieval college halls. Worth doing it for the architecture alone, which is frankly wasted on undergraduates.
The image above of dawn breaking over a pirate ship is from the Secret Garden Party. It’s a kind of English-country-house-themed tiny Burning Man, part music festival, part theatre event that takes place over four days in the grounds of a Georgian country house outside the city.
The University culture means that more cerebral festivals are strong – we’re having a Darwin Festival in July to celebrate the anniversary, and there is always the Festival of Ideas in November, to mop up anything intelligent that hasn’t been covered to death earlier in the year. Also the science festival starts this weekend under the auspices of the university, which deliciously has guidance on some events “Warning, loud bangs”. And for grown ups we can “join the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, Professor David Spiegelhalter as he discusses ‘Statistics: can we sex them up without dumbing them down’. ” Telephone booking is now open.
A particular favourite is the Shakespeare festival – it takes place in July in various college gardens, and is again worth it as much for the architecture as the acting, although the standard is fairly high.
Edit: I forgot Cambridge Word Fest, which is booking now for April with a cornucopia of literary events and workshops.
Then there is of course all the music, so much music. The Folk festival, the Summer Music festival, the Rock fest (in association with a beer festival, naturally) and on. Put out more flags, it’s going to be a beautiful year.Images of the Folk festival by Arkadyevna on Flickr If I’ve left any out of my list please do let me know. Science Festival 9-22nd March – Science fun for adults and families Cambridge Word Fest 23-26th April – Book events and writing workshops for all genres Cambridge Super8 Festival 29th April – 2nd May Cambridge Beer Festival 18-23rd May – Real Ale drinking Strawberry Fair 6th June – Free festival of music, theatre, arts and crafts Cambridge Comedy Festival 8-14th June – Live Comedy Cambridge Shakespeare Festival June-July dates TBC – open air shakespeare in college gardens Pink Festival 09 date TBC – Gay open air music festival Darwin Festival 5th – 10th July – philosophy, literature, history, theology art and music arising from the life of Darwin Cambridge Fringe Festival 16 July – 2nd Aug – open access performance Cambridge Summer Music Festival 17 July – 8th Aug 09 – world class classical music Secret Garden Party 23rd – 26th July – music theatre performance camping Cambridge Folk Festival 30th July – 2nd August 09 – world class folk music Cambridge Rock Festival 6-9th August – Rawk and Beer Cambridge Film Festival 17-27th September 09 (submissions open 1st March) Festival of Ideas 21st Oct – 3rd Nov – explore more about the society we live in Cambridge Music Festival 8-29th Nov – Serious classical music trienniale, commissions new work NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.