After the Beast from the East and all the bizarre weather we’ve had, it’s good to see the sun again. Winter is behind us and summer is on its way. Thoughts of summer bring thoughts of festivals, and this year I’m mostly thinking about KALLIDA.
The intimate and inspiring festival of visual arts and music takes place on the grounds of Baskerville Hall, a 19th century manor house in the beautiful Welsh countryside. It brings together a diverse range of some the UK’s best visual artists, live musicians and DJs. Conceived and put together by a team of friends, musicians, artists, promoters and set designers, mostly based in Sheffield and London, KALLIDA is intended to be an immersive experience, a collision of sound and light, music and art, in which each discipline enhances and complements the others.
When I arrived at the festival last year I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was staying in a bell tent, so brought a crate of squashed peaches for the people who would surely to pile into our palace, but I was wrong. Rather than providing refreshment for our guests, the peaches were used as an offering to gain entry into one of the executive bedrooms, grand honeymoon suites that came with walk-in showers, hot tubs and four-poster beds.
On all sides the festival site is surrounded by stunning countryside, which festival-goers are encouraged to explore during the day. There’s a lake, forests and a magical tree that could be made out of rubber. Installations and a live music stage were set up outside, with two indoor rooms and a cinema inside the hall itself. Wherever you found yourself, there was an obvious and impressive attention to detail.
From the line-up to the set design, everything had been carefully considered and thought through. The result was a seamlessly immersive experience, with KALLIDA’s component parts coming together to create an atmosphere of celebration and community. KALLIDA was billed as a collision of sound and light, but even more than that it was a harmonious coming together of north and south, friends and strangers, musical genres and visual arts.
When combinations of people, music and art are so successfully brought together in such an intimate setting, communities are born. Everyone present at the first KALLIDA would agree that we all left feeling part of a community, a family – a truly amazing achievement for first-time festival organisers.
With an extra day added to the festival this year and a line-up that promises to showcase some of the most innovative and in-demand musicians in the country, KALLIDA 2018 is not to be missed. Let’s hope the sun’s out.
Words: Josh FT
Images: Dan McGeady