Review: Timber Festival, The National Forest

The first ever Timber Festival was greeted with blue skies and warm sun, providing the perfect atmosphere for this lovely new event in the National Forest.

A network of glades and woods, Timber had a distinctly peaceful feel, although music could be heard from all parts of the festival, it was easy to find yourself in your own sleep bubble – sitting in a deckchair in the sun with a book from the festival’s own mini-library, or in one of a group of hammocks in amongst the birch trees.

A family-friendly festival, with representation from all generations and plenty to do, Timber didn’t in any sense have the feeling of slumming it – as festivals so often do. My favourite detail here, whether deliberate or not, was that the tap water, available at points around the festival, did not taste like the plastic piping it was carried in. Although the selection of food was relatively limited for a weekend-long festival, it was all very good and not overpriced.

Each area of the festival provided something a little different: learning basic wood-working techniques such a spoon carving, and wood-turning; slacklining and tree climbing; talks and discussions on nature-related topics; or boardgames and silk acrobatics. My personal highlight was the giant moon suspended in amongst the trees and lit from the inside at night – a beautiful spectacle, that gave the feeling almost of sitting around a campfire which, of course, the festival also provided.

All in all Timber Festival was a nice event, with calm friendly atmosphere – ideal for families, or for a day-trip. Teens and twenty-something year olds may find it a little calm compared to other bigger festivals, but Timber does what it does well and I hope to see it do well in the future.

Review by Matt Penman

Created by the National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus (award-winning producers of the Just So Festival),  Timber  invited the audience to experience the transformative impact of forests with artists, musicians, scientists and thinkers. They were able to explore what woodlands mean to us and how we can re-imagine our relationship with our environment.

Highlights included music headliners Jane Weaver and This Is The Kit, a keynote address from Stuart Maconie, the English festival premiere of Jony Easterby’s new interactive performance Tree and Wood, the greenfield festival premiere of Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon plus experiences such as Comedy In The Dark with Leicester Comedy Festival, a Fire Garden, feasting, Masked Ball, a woodland playground, forest film programme, eco spa, dawn runs and more.

Timber is a not-for-profit festival with sustainability at its heart which will partner with other international forest festivals to share knowledge and innovations taking place in forests and transforming lives across the world.

It was located at Feanedock, a 70-acre woodland site on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border at the heart of the National Forest.

Embracing 200 square miles of the Midlands, the National Forest is the first forest to be created at scale in England for over 1,000 years.The first trees in the National Forest were planted over 25 years ago, to transform a landscape that had been left scarred and derelict by the closure of the Midlands coalfield.

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