Field days

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A new festival combining the public’s love for music and cheese will rock Oxfordshire this summer. Alex James is set to open up his very own farm to showcase the best of British food alongside a soundtrack of the coolest bands.

Alex James presents Harvest will take place from September 9-12, and is sister festival to Harvest at Jimmy’s, set on Jimmy Doherty’s farm in Suffolk.

Dom Gomez of Big Wheel Promotions is the event’s festival director, and is looking to adopt a “V model” so that bands can flip between the two sites, capping capacity at 10,000 and developing a chilled edge and boutique style, he tells Stand Out.

So far, KT Tunstall, Richard Corrigan, Mark Hix, Rachel Allen, Yotam Ottolenghi, Jay Rayner, Monty and Sarah Don, Stevie Parle and kids favourite Charlie & Lola have confirmed their collaboration. More details are expected to be announced later this month, but cookery master classes, pop up restaurants, a farmers market and gardening workshops are expected.

Alex James presents Harvest will take place in Kingham, near Chipping Norton, and is the latest in a number of events that have seen high profile figures from the world of fashion and music embrace the events marketplace.

The Access Sessions at the Event Production Show last month saw Wayne Hemingway, founder of Red or Dead, take to the stage to reveal plans for Vintage 2011, given the announcement in January that the retro-fest would no longer take place at Goodwood.

Hemingway revealed that the idea and logo design for Vintage at Goodwood were put together as many as five years before the event took place. Vintage at Goodwood broke new ground in the festival circuit with its mix of glamour, fashion music and food, and Hemingway argued, in 2010, that many of the festival goers were going to their “first ever gig”, underlining the new audience 2010’s inaugural festival had found.

The event was intended to change the perception of festivals as thousands of people living rough in the mud. Vintage at Goodwood featured a pop-up high street,

which featured high street shops run by famous brands. This same concept will be used for Vintage 2011, which it has been revealed will take place in London, along the Southbank.

From July 29-31, London’s iconic Southbank Centre will host the Vintage concept and will be transformed into a Vintage wonderland, as the festival will form part of the venue’s Festival of Britain – an event that pays homage to the infamous event of 1951.

The 21-acre section of the Embankment, including the Royal Festival Hall, the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, the British Film Institute and the Thames Embankment itself will be transformed and by night the whole of the Southbank will feature a series of set dressed venues, complemented by a flotilla of party boats, cruising the river.

Hemingway told the Event Production Show audience that he believed he would be able to sell 10,000 tickets for Vintage in London without announcing any acts, and suggested that it’s better to hold an event on the South Bank than in a field in the South Downs.

But as two doors open, another two close. Christine Briars, festival director of the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival announced the cancellation of the event, citing a range of factors that have conspired to make it impossible to deliver the “best event”.

The four-day event will now take a sabbatical so that it “can find solutions to the problems we face in time for 2012”. Briars explained: “First and foremost we want to promote a quality line-up of artists and great venue you have come to expect; increasingly more money has to be

paid out in advance to do this. But in these difficult times people are, understandably, more reluctant to commit their hard- earned cash to buy tickets in advance. Also the credit card companies want to ring-fence all ticket sales income in case the event doesn’t run for any reason. So we get squeezed in the middle. Add to that the increasing costs of ensuring it is the safest, most family friendly festival environment we can make it and, this year, it’s not looking financially feasible.”

The BBC’ has also pulled the plug on Electric Proms, citing tough economic conditions and efficiency savings. Instead, the BBC is working on regional productions and content.

Wedding from hell

For one night only, Yorkshire’s Kirkstall Abbey will create a dramatic backdrop on March 19, as the aged venue plays host to the recreation of Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live in Leeds. It’s an ambitious music and drama event that is a collaboration between BBC Wales, BBC North and local organisations in Leeds, and will be broadcast on BBC Three.

Leeds City Council’s Ian Cairns is production manager on the event, and Capita Symonds is also providing health and safety services on-site.

The marriage of scientist Victor Frankenstein and his bride-to-be, Elizabeth, will be told utilising light projection and audience participation throughout. In the weeks leading up to the event, the audience will be encouraged to read Mary Shelley’s novel before getting involved live on the night as wedding guests in their best wedding outfits.

The pan-BBC project is being supported by key organisations within the city, including Leeds City Council, Welcome to Yorkshire, Marketing Leeds and Phoenix Dance Theatre and follows on from the successes of Manchester Passion (2006) and Liverpool Nativity (2008).

Blissful new home

Both Blissfields and Bearded Theory festivals will also settle into new homes in 2011.Blissfields takes place from June 30 until July 3 at Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, Winchester, and is just a few miles from the festival’s original site in Bradley upon which it launched in 2001. Its founders, Paul and Mel Bliss have increased capacity from 1,300 to 2,200 yet hope to maintain an intimate feel whilst incorporating more ideas and artists.

Bearded Theory’s founder, Rich Bryan, also has moved his festival to Kedleston Park, and is offsetting the extra rent of a 850-acre site against the hire of track and roadway, as the site has existing, and suitable, infrastructure.

Panda Hire, Orbit Roofs and Staging, Imperial Security, Albion Woods, Total Hire and Eve are all set to work on the event from May 13-15. Bryan considers capacity “natural progression” and hopes for organic growth in future years.