This Friday will see the majority of the London art scene decamp to Wales; to the small, picturesque town of Hay, situated on the edge of the Black Mountains next to the River Wye. Every year a glut of artists, critics, collectors, philosophers, novelists, politicians and scientists descend on this “town of books” for Crunch: the Art and Music Festival at Hay, coming together to ask the big question: what’s the point of art?
Kicking off on the Friday evening with a magical lantern procession from Hay’s Market Square to the globe field, the first night is a frenzy of live music, dancing, wild costumes, sky-high fire sculpture and trapeze artists. The rest of the weekend is a whirlwind of talks, debates, parties and art, with Hay playing host to a legion of big names from the art world. Speakers include leading rights advocate, Bianca Jagger, Serpentine Director Julia Peyton-Jones, Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed, ICA Director Ekow Eshun and BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz and many many more. In addition to this comprehensive series of events are performances from Laura Marling, Lulu & the Lampshades and Man Like Me amongst others.
In the globe field, you’ll find the Tate Great British Art Debate Tent with a cabaret mix of talks, music and desert island art and outside pyrotechnic excitement with globe on fire. And this year, for the first time, Crunch is holding the Crunch Art Fair, showing and selling work by some of the UK’s leading artistic talent and galleries. A cultural highlight of the festival, the Crunch Art Fair combines leading galleries with the programme of talks and debates. Giving festival-goers the opportunity to look at – and buy- works of art, the new space directly below the globe field plays host to a series of containers, each dedicated to a different gallery platforming the work of multiple artists. In addition, work will be exhibited in the Upper and Lower Galleries of the globe at hay.
The exhibiting galleries will be showing pieces by both established and cutting-edge artists. With works spanning the media of sculpture, video art, painting and photography, the Crunch Art Fair offers visitors an opportunity to discover new developments in contemporary art and experience artworks in a relaxed and beautiful setting. Work will include new video art from Squid & Tabernacle, being shown in the UK for the first time, contemporary painting inspired by the Old Masters courtesy of the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, video painting from Open Gallery including work from the winners of the Open Prize, and mid-career and celebrated emerging work from the Alexia Goethe Gallery. The Museum of Everything- whose Exhibition #1 became the most successful exhibition of self-taught, marginal and non-traditional art ever to be staged in Great Britain- will be showing Exhibition #2 in the globe at hay.
Engaging, irreverent and challenging, the weekend promises to deliver an unforgettable festival atmosphere amidst the bleakness of winter.
For more information, see www.artfestivalathay.org.