Audiences thrilled and inspired as Timber Festival returns to the National Forest

24th Jul 2023
Aardman Workshop
© David Severn


An abundance of music, talks, art, and workshops filled the woodlands of Feanedock as Timber Festival returned to the National Forest for the fifth year, 7th - 9th July. 

Highlights from this year included headliners, The Go! Team, who bought their fusion sounds and archaic beats to the Field Notes stage, inspiring talks from author Raynor Winn and Coronation Street actor Shobna Gulati, plus colourful dance performances from Sonia Sabri’s Company and Trigger.  

In addition to national and international artists, Timber is a wonderful way to tell the National Forest story and showcase our work, as well as creative projects local to the Forest, some we have supported through this year’s National Forest Art Grants.   

Following our recent collaboration with Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep, the award-winning animation studio brought their ‘Amazing Scene Machine’ to Field Notes, led by Aardman model-maker Jim Parkyn, combining time-lapse, animation and clay modelling. Festivalgoers were invited to create a model to feature on a community woodland inspired scene. Over the course of the festival, models were added to a large 3D picture, which was filmed and animated, with the final artwork to be displayed at Conkers Discovery Centre.  

Blossom and Thorn
© David Severn


Through this year’s National Forest Arts Grant we supported textile artist Ruth Singer to create Blossom and Thorn, a project exploring the extraordinary and humble hedgerows of the National Forest. Through the gathering of hedge learning contributed by local volunteers, Ruth created a textile artwork presented within an ancient hedgerow and led a walk exploring the ancient boundaries across the Timber Festival site.  

EcoTones were another of our arts grant recipients, who shared listening techniques developed with young people from the Forest Foxes initiative in Leicester, offering festivalgoers an immersive experience of ethereal forest-inspired sounds, whilst learning and exploring techniques for tuning into the natural noise-floor of the forest. 

© David Severn


Youth Landscapers Collective, a group of young people from the National Forest area who come together to explore and share the landscape’s industrial past and forest future through creative projects, presented the Stage of Possibility, featuring a democratic space for a delightful mix of entertainment, including talks, workshops, live music and even karaoke. Curated by young people the programme drew upon the group’s local contacts and relationships developed over the last seven years, reflecting upon the rich history and culture of the Forest. 

Youth Landscapers
© David Severn


Other activity included campfire sessions led by the National Forest Company and guests, exploring topics such as outdoor learning in the Forest, the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors and how agroforestry can help balance biodiversity and food production.  

Our Chief Executive, John Everitt, also led an interesting panel discussion on the Field Notes Stage around the efforts to support native species including the challenges and inspiring work taking place in the National Forest and across the country. 

Timber Festival will return to the National Forest 5th-7th July 2024, so make the most of the Early Bird ticket offer available until the end of July.