Fest Watch > Nova

INTRO > It’s that time of year again and the UK festivals have entered their seasonal domain, but with so many popping up across the country, how does one newcomer stand out from the rest? Well, just ask Nova, because they’re doing it!  Words > Rosie Davis

Created by the producers of the original Big Chill, Nova festival pieces together a series of artistic, natural and flamboyant building blocks to offer an escape from the social norms and take you into a creatively affluent environment in naturally vibrant surroundings. This is an intimate gathering set within Bignor Park, Pulborough, a twelve hundred acre privately owned estate within the new South Downs National Park, where five thousand people will be hidden amongst gardens, lakes and historic architecture.

The location is undeniably a selling point, but it’s not only the scenery that makes this shiny new festival so special, it’s the festival’s focus on all creative forms – and not solely music. Nova is bringing some of the highest caliber of artists to this festival for us to listen to, talk to, learn from and meet, in a relaxed and unique environment. To see Damien Hirst and Rankin on a festival programme is not your usual line-up and it doesn’t end there; immerse yourself in film, music, spoken word, photography, sculpture, life drawing, painting and the list goes on and on and on. This is why Nova has been catapulted onto the first place pedestal.

What also brings me to praise the team behind Nova is how they like to encourage a creative relationship with the festival’s fans, (something we feel very passionately about ourselves with Pretty Litter). Their Facebook limerick competition was not just an ordinary competition, it has presented someone with the chance to have John Hegley, the poet laureate, to write a limerick using the opening lines that they have written. How often does that happen? There will be open creative salons where anyone can expand their minds and imagination, allowing their creative juices to flow freely with a series of workshops, as the Nova team says, the festival is for “makers, lovers and doers”. Salons include The Hunger creative salons, Afri-kokoa drum sessions, Blinkarts craft sessions, Andrew Logan jewellery salon, cocktail making, foraging, wild running and if you feel a little bit more risqué then the Rude Workshops will be ready and waiting! Have you considered erotic photography, bodypainting, boylesque or stripping and teasing?

Explore the grounds and watch live music on a stage stretching out into an idyllic lake, find the pop-up casino, Kubla Kahn’s Coffeehouse, watch Rankin and Hirst’s collaborative film Myths, Monsters and Legends or hear Rankin in a rare Q&A session.  Fill your belly with a dose of hard-hitting laughter with a wide range of comedy acts or lose yourself in a musical trance. Ghostpoet, Speech Debelle, Fionn Regan, Crazy P, Belle and Sebastien DJs, the tUnE-yArrDs and Jessie Ware are just a few names that will be playing for you. Not bad for the festival’s inaugural year!

If relaxation is much more up your street then find the hot tubs, massage and soul pods in the Zen Gardens. The pods will be home to trained spa therapists, so why not have some reiki or reflexology. The Bliss Dome is also an immersive bath of sound and light with essential oil sprays with 360 degrees of audio and visuals. Learn some basic breathing techniques and energy points to release tension and regenerate your body and soul.

This festival is stretching boundaries and is enabling all abilities and styles to meet. Nova isn’t isolating anyone, it is welcoming everyone. Every time I look at the line-up and think about this new breed of festival I become overly excited. What other festival will you find Rankin, Swedish style hot tubs and Adventureland Golf?

Get onto the Nova Facebook page now to see what other surprises they have for us this weekend: www.facebook.com/novafestival Tickets are £139, but for more info about the festival visit: www.novafestival.co.uk 

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