Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly playing at the Dark Mountain Project launch last July
(Photograph by Andy Broomfield)
Organising a festival is rather like playing "fantasy dinner party", where you imagine what it would be like to have Oscar Wilde, Germaine Greer and Christopher Marlowe round for tea. At least, that's how it feels when I realise that I'm getting to put my oldest friend Bill Harbottle's band on stage, hours after I'll be up there myself grilling George Monbiot.
UNCIVILISATION: The Dark Mountain Festival is only seven weeks away now - so it's time to book your tickets, if you haven't already! I'll post more soon about the ideas behind the festival, but for now I just wanted to share my excitement about the combination of people we're bringing together.
And I'm delighted to be putting together Anthony McCann, who I used to hang out with every Monday in Sheffield over breakfasts that often lasted till mid-afternoon, with Vinay Gupta, the inventor of the Hexayurt, who I first met in a squat in London last January.
Lottie Child is an artist who asks deep, simple questions which change the way people look at the world. Briony Greenhill has been searching for a blended lifestyle, with a netbook in one hand and a spade in the other. Both of them have inspired me to ground my thinking in practical questions of how we make lives which work for us as individuals and communities, in a world that faces massive disruption.
Anton Shelupanov is a Russian polymath who rewrites the penal codes of Central Asian countries in his spare time, and his band Bleak make me think of Birthday Party-era Nick Cave. Get Cape Wear Cape Fly is a very nice bloke who got in touch with my Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth after reading his first book, One No, Many Yeses, and has been a friend of this project from the start.
I first met Marmaduke Dando when I was editing the Pick Me Up email zine. He runs Power Down - a zero-electricity club night with wind-up gramophones, candles and totally unplugged music - and he'll be running one for us on the Friday night.
I've never met Jay Griffiths, but I've been a fan of hers for years and she's written a great piece for the first Dark Mountain book, which is being launched at the festival. She's one of a range of writers we've invited to talk about how we find new stories for difficult times.
To be honest, I could go on all day about the wonderful collection of people who'll be joining us in Wales - but the most important thing to say is, I'd like you to be part of it.
UNCIVILISATION is happening in Llangollen, over the bank holiday weekend of 28-30th May. Tickets cost £60 (including camping) and you can buy them here. (The venue itself is indoors, so if the Welsh weather turns against us, it won't be miserable.)
It's the first time Paul and I have done anything like this - although Michael and the team who are running things at the Llangollen end know what they're doing. The idea is to create a space in which the conversations started by the Dark Mountain manifesto can continue face-to-face. Part literary festival, part music festival, part training camp for an uncertain future... It should be a chance to talk honestly about serious questions, but also a lot of fun - with time to catch up with old friends, make new ones and hang out with some people whose books and ideas have inspired and challenged many of us.
Someone described it the other day as "a kind of intellectual Burning Man". That's a lot to live up to, but we're excited about the energy that's gathering around the festival - and I'm certain it'll be a weekend to remember.