Arcadia unveils new arena for Glastonbury

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Arcadia will unveil a radical new arena at the Glastonbury Festival in 2024.

The Dragonfly, a giant bio-mechanical creature, will awaken “at the heart of an evolved geometric space”, exploring themes of renewal, climate change and our relationship with technology.

Built from an ex-military Royal Navy helicopter, The Dragonfly repurposes a weapon of destruction into a unifying symbol. As conflicts flare around the world, the transformational nature of the sculpture has been designed as a monument to hope.

The transformation of the first dragonfly to mark the dawn of a new season resonates through cultures worldwide, none older than the Aboriginal First Nations of Australia, where Arcadia has forged strong connections since its Perth residency of 2016.

In a vibrant expression of peoples coming together, Arcadia and representatives of the Wadjuk Noongar nation will perform Warraloo, a spectacular ceremony that sees The Dragonfly burst into life. It celebrates possibility, inviting reflection on a changing climate and ways to navigate it through cooperation, unity and the creative use of technology.

The Dragonfly will run on batteries initially charged offsite by wind and solar energy, anchoring its theme of renewal.

Pip Rush and Bert Cole, co-founders of Arcadia, said: “We’ve loved the challenge of forging something so new as our main Glastonbury installation – it’s been hard to contain the excitement and keep this under wraps.

“Arcadia’s firmly back to its roots with some deep repurposing of insane military machinery to create a ground-breaking centerpiece for our boldest ceremonial arena yet, opening profound new levels to the experience.

“The magic is weaving all of the unique elements together into a powerful melting pot which is going to explode on Friday night and throughout the rest of the festival.”

Roaming both the Arcadia field and the wider festival will be The Dragonfly’s mobile, amphibious cousin – The Bug. Built from submarine moulds, The Bug comes alive on six wheels of self contained sculpture, spreading the carnival spirit with its own eclectic lineup.

2024 also sees a whole new daytime dimension to Arcadia’s world – an interactive kids area open to families. The Alchemists’ Playground is a collaboration with constructive play specialists Woodland Tribe – a forge of ideas, workshops and creative adventure.