We’re nearing the beginning of the Great British Summer and festival season is almost upon us. So, as you umm and aah over whether to take your tent to big beasts such as Glastonbury and Reading or boutique offerings like Kendal Calling or Green Man, make sure you take a look at The Curious Arts Festival. Co-curated by Clare Conville of Curtis Brown’s sister agency Conville & Walsh, this curious, glorious event brings together writers, artists and musicians in a unique way that connects the mainstream with the maverick.
Taking place in the idyllic surroundings of Pylewell Park in Hampshire from 17–19 July, the festival’s line-up already reads like a who’s who of the contemporary literary scene. From new voices such as Claire Fuller, Simon Wroe and our former colleague Alex Cristofi (whose debut novel Glass was recently longlisted for the 2015 Desmond Elliott prize) to more established talents like David Baddiel, Matt Haig, Jojo Moyes and David Nicholls, The Curious Arts Festival is fast gaining a reputation as the must-visit event for book-lovers.
But it wouldn’t be a festival without music. And thankfully Clare and her fellow curators have come up with an exciting rosta of soundsmiths to keep everyone dancing. Man of the moment George the Poet will be appearing, as will former Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell, Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music, indie darlings Amber Run, and many others. Plus there’ll be late-night DJ sets from HMS Sweet Charity – who only play music found in thrift stores and charity shops. The comedy line-up’s pretty good too, with Richard Herring, Lucy Porter and Mark Watson the pick of a very funny crop.
And that’s not all. Other fun activities include poetry workshops, a film tent and an Authors’ XI cricket match. Children get an Alice In Wonderland tea party (which makes us adults rather envious), a puppet theatre workshop, and much more. And if they’re under 13, they get in for free.