Issue 100 is out now
Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

18th May 2018

We spoke with organisers of Timber festival - a new family-friendly event where music, art, theatre, storytelling, science and play will weave together in the heart of the National Forest, one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects.

Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

18th May 2018

Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

18th May 2018

Gemma Gibb of Timber Festival tells us what they have in store this year.

1) What’s the most exciting aspect of the festival this year?

Created by the National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus (award-winning producers of the Just So Festival, renowned as one of the top family festivals in the world), experience the transformative impact of forests with artists, musicians, and scientists. Explore what woodlands can mean to us and how we can re-imagine our relationship with our environment. Play and create in an arboreal wonderland, where the tonic of wildness rules supreme.

Highlights include the world premiere of Seek, Find, Speak: A Conjuring Told In Gold, the world premiere of the outdoor theatre companion to the enchanting, best-selling illustrated book of acrostic poems The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Created by Director Collette Murray, experience a forest theatre trail for all ages, both self-guided and also led by a charm of Goldfinch performers. It will feature stunning 3D installations of Jackie Morris’s golden illustrations and Macfarlane’s words, such as spells wrapped in gold lettering around trees, animals to be discovered in the woodland, and lines of spells perched on branches like starlings. Together with sound recordings of the spell poems from some of Britain’s famous voices of all ages and accents, including inspiring athletes, naturalists, actors, poets, musicians and scientists, The Lost Words will come alive in the National Forest, for families to Seek, Find and Speak this summer (please see full press release on this below.

2) What do you have planned for families?

SOUND is an ambitious adventure into sound and music, rooted in the forest. Join us across three stunning bespoke wooden stages (including the enchanting Eyrie Stage suspended between the trees) and around the campfire for the chance to see some of the most exciting new music live in an intimate woodland setting.

Don’t Miss:

• Composer and sound-artist Jason Singh, whose work includes vocal recreations of birdsong and forestry environments.

• Multi award-winning progressive brass band Perhaps Contraption will be performing an exuberant show.

• Musician, artist and filmmaker, Ichi from Japan will take the notion of a one-man band to new limits.

• Venture into the woods to be immersed in compelling sound installations, storytelling, soundscapes and DJ sets. Sound artists will be responding to forest environments in incredible, interactive ways, and choirs will be bringing the woods to life through song.

There’ll also be torchlight processions, light projections, fire gardens and luminous installations, will help us see the forest in a new light. Expect incredible performances as dusk falls each night, and discover the unexpected as into the night the forest will be transformed by spectacular installations.

Don’t Miss:

• Take a journey into the heart of the forest at dusk in the English festival premiere of Tree and Wood, a new interactive performance exploring our relationship to trees and forests by leading artist and producer Jony Easterby, with a team of international artists, musicians, performers and foresters. Tree and Wood explores our relationship with the trees and woods we depend on for our survival both past and present through a journey through a series of installations, movement, song and music. Known for his dynamic and immersive sound and light works across the world, Jony Easterby’s recent immersive night time adventure For The Birds has wowed audiences across the UK.

• Explore all the sides of the moon in the greenfield festival premiere of Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon – an incredible seven metre moon sculpture featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface and sound by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones.

• Witness an enthralling fire-garden created especially for Timber Festival by leading artists, sculptors, designers and technicians pa-BOOM.

• Enjoy campfires and bonfire bands each evening as the forest magic transforms the night.

3) What measures do you have in place to make sure that your event is environmentally sustainable?

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.


Timber is underpinned by an ambition to share our love of forests, to celebrate the transformative impact of the National Forest and its rich and diverse heritage and to provoke thoughts, discussion and inspiration about what it means to live sustainably.

We hope our audiences join us for an incredibly playful and creative weekend whilst also helping us to manage and mitigate the impact of the festival on the environment.

Most importantly in this first year we’ll measure things and not just because we’re data geeks but so that it gives us a really sound understanding of the impacts we’re having so that we can see where best to focus our efforts in future years.

We’ll be measuring:

  • Fuel Consumption on site
  • Water Consumption on site
  • Waste water produced
  • Recycling rates
  • Waste to landfill
  • Carbon emissions created by travel to the event from our audience, performers, staff and volunteers

In the first year we’ll work really hard to ensure the following stuff is top of mind:


We’ll monitor fuel consumption, aim to use a green tariff electricity supplier, use hybrid generators where appropriate.

We’ll use energy efficient light bulbs and turn things off.


Increase tap (instead of bottled) water usage through provision of sufficient standpipes.

Check on provenance of food ensuring it’s local, organic, fair trade and free range where possible.


For official travel we’ll walk, bike, carpool or take public transport where possible.

Utilise and promote car share schemes.

Offer secure bike parking.

Communicate the public transport options.


As well as using a local contractor we’ll aim to have a mixture of compost loos and water efficient portable toilets.


We’ll use durable and reusable materials for the build of the event, the signage and stages.

We’ll run a reusable cup scheme at our bars.

Set-up robust recycling procedures.

Ban excessive packaging, plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags, disposable giveaways and uncompostable serveware.

Crush waste so that more can be transported in one go rather than adding to skip transportation.


We’ll undertake surveys of local wildlife habitats and ecosystems.


Reduce printed material by using digital communications wherever possible

Use Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) paper, organic fair trade cotton and a mix of mineral and vegetable dyes for printing.


We’ll work with the local community to leave a legacy for them to enjoy.

We’ll set up a tip top volunteer scheme.

Work with local artists, performers and groups to make sure our International Forest Festival has a very local flavour.

Establish partnerships with HE establishments to ensure we’re at the forefront of new research and innovation.

We’ll rigorously evaluate where we get to in Year 1, keep you up to date with how we get on and let you know how we intend to address any problems we’re faced with.

Taking place from 6-9, July, Timber promises to be a real treat for all the senses, with sustainability right at it’s heart.