Wonderland.

NOVA 2012

Damien Hirst, David Shrigley and Rankin – at a festival? Thanks to the creative genius of two Big Chill producers, the big-name artists will all be present at Nova, a festival with a (very arty) difference.Wonderland gets the low-down from Victoria Burns, its creative director.


How did you come up with the concept for Nova?

It’s a vision that has been developing for a while. Katrina Larkin and I have a friendship and creative understanding that spans 17 years. We’re driven by a passion for presenting different art forms in new, fun and exciting ways and an understanding that people don’t just go to festivals for the music.

We’re taking art out of galleries, theatre out of auditoriums and providing intimate platforms to listen to and partake in art. Having a whole lot of silly fun for its own sake really excites us.

Is it more about engaging the festival goers?

There are plenty of opportunities at Nova for observing some of the finest art practitioners and producers in the country, but just as many for getting involved. Hat making with milliner Katia Wengraf; jewellery making with sculptor Andrew Logan; crazy golf by artist Doug Fishbone, where each hole is designed by a different contemporary artist; naughty burlesque and boylesque workshops… Some you will only find out about when you get to Bignor.

Where did the name Nova come from?
You should have heard some of the others! We were drawn to beautiful images of the Hindu festival of Holi, which lead us to enhanced photos of stars being born – novae – hence Nova, which it also means new in Latin! It all sort of fell into place…

What festivals would you liken Nova to?

We don’t really see ourselves as a music festival, but an arts festival that includes music. Some of our art names are perhaps better know internationally than the music ones… Rankin, Hirst, Shrigley, Chapman. I am not sure any other festival has ventured into the world of crazy golf! If they have, I don’t think the course will have been designed by luminaries of the contemporary art world as ours has.

It seems like Nova is aiming to bring an excitement and accessibility to art – is that right?

The work that is being produced at Nova is as far as we can make it bespoke to the event or failing that, it will be informed by its surroundings. Our aim is for it to be immersive and interactive, we want our guests to experiment and explore- and have unpressurised fun!

The festival is family friendly, so is the Nova crowd a sparse age group?

Our audience can be of any age so long as they share the same spirit of adventure. All you need is an open heart and an open mind.

What are you looking forward to the most about the festival?

Building it! We can’t wait to get stuck in on site. Also a pint in the pub and a bob in the hot tubs, and watching all our guests finding their way around and interacting with what’s on offer. Plus, seeing how guests morph the site and bring it to life.

Nova festival is on from 5 to 8 July in West Sussex. Tickets are still available here.

Words: Kerina Duhra

NOVA 2012

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