Countryfile presenter lined up for four day eco-festival in Alnwick

“What a Wonderful World” – so sang Louis Armstrong in 1967 and now, 55 years later, those same words are inspiring the organisers of a festival which will use the arts, science and debate to focus on the fragile future of our planet.

Monday, 9th May 2022, 3:20 pm

Alnwick Playhouse is the main venue for the four-day event from June 23-26 which will celebrate our environment, question our actions and inspire us to act now to make a real difference for future generations.

The festival will expand into The Alnwick Garden on the final day with an art workshop and live music.

Liz Anderson, festival trustee and co-organiser said “About four years ago I woke up to the devastation being caused round the world by the climate emergency.

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Countryfile presenter Tom Heap.

"My husband, musician Alistair, and I hit on the idea of a celebration that would raise people’s spirits and bring hope and options for action rather than despair.

"We were particularly inspired by youngsters who have proved the most active on climate and environmental damage and loss.”

She continued: “I have always loved the Louis Armstrong version of the song ‘What a Wonderful World ‘and thought that it would make a heartwarming signature tune and name for our festival.”

Keynote speakers, performers and activists including BBC Countryfile presenter Tom Heap, members of Indie band Maximo Park, comedian Kate Fox, folk singers Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, the Eliot Smith Dancers, poets and songwriters will be responding to the call to imagine a more sustainable world.

Liz and Alistair Anderson.

There has been a great response from local people keen to become involved with the festival.

Brycchan Carey, Peter Edge and students from the Duchess’s Community High School are among those taking part in Thursday’s poetry event, Words for a wonderful world.

Local speakers include the Gazette’s gardening correspondent Tom Pattinson, Duncan Hutt from Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Professor Sara Walker from Newcastle University, Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Leader Emeritus Bradley Creswick and John Baker-Cresswell who is chairing the Sunday discussion Food and Farming - The Future.

Glendale Middle School Ceilidh Band and their slightly older neighbours Glendale Ceilidh Band have been busy rehearsing for their performances on the Music Stage in The Alnwick Garden on Sunday.

Glendale Middle School ceilidh band.

There will be a series of climate conversations which aim to get people talking by asking the questions we need answering so we can start to make a real difference. Topics range from forestry and farming to fuel bills.

Young people are central to the festival and they will be out in force debating, asking questions, dancing, singing, playing music and creating amazing art works in the Playhouse and also The Alnwick Garden as well as enjoying the Green Tails storytelling sessions for younger ones.

Both venues have become enthusiastic partners along with Friends of the Earth Alnwick, Duchess’s Community High School, Alnwick Town Council and Northumberland County Council and local primary schools.

Liz, Alistair and their team want the festival to become an annual event, as more and more people get involved in addressing the climate emergency.

As Sir David Attenborough says “We have been putting things off year after year. The moment of crisis has come”.

Festival pass £40 or £20 for those 18 and under.

For further information contact Alnwick Playhouse Box Office: www.alnwickplayhouse.co.uk – 01665 660550