Arts Derbyshire


Wirksworth Festival Announces 2021 Programme

wirksworth festival


Wirksworth Festival is thrilled to announce its 2021 exhibition and performance programme

Wirksworth Festival

Human Machines – an Exhibition of Kinetic Sculptures by Johnny White and Amanda Wray Photograph © Chris Webb


Wirksworth Festival has just launched its 2021 exhibition and performance programme offering something for all Festival fans, despite all the challenges of the last year, and in particular not knowing if they would be able to run the Festival this year until the very last minute.

Just for this year, the Derbyshire Festival has decided not to host their much-loved Art & Architecture Trail, where ordinarily 150 artists show their work in around 70 venues throughout the town. However, following on from the huge success of last year’s Online Festival, they are running their first ever Online Art Prize sponsored by Longcliffe Community Fund, which provides a digital gallery and shop bringing artists and audiences together from the comfort of their own sofas to exhibit, browse, vote for and buy art from August – September 2021.

The Festival’s main exhibition sees the return of Wirksworth artists, Johnny White and Amanda Wray as their touring exhibition comes home to WOW the town’s residents and visitors – Human Machines is an extraordinary and vibrant exhibition of kinetic sculptures that will take over The Maltings right in the heart of Wirksworth from Sat 11 – Sun 19 September.

Over the weekend of Sat 11 – Sun 12 September you’ll also find a work in progress exhibition from their artist in residence, Liane LangThe Monumental Landscape; Calli Ahuacuauhtomatl an indigenous Mexican view of the moor by Mónica Alcázar-Duarte, Folk artist, Sue Prince’s Isolation Chronicles and Blackpop’s Bursary+X.

Headlining their performance and talks programme on Tue 14 Sept, is alt folk band, Ranagri – “…a sound that’s completely new, with great energy and immediately makes you want to dance.” Katie DerhamBBC Radio 3. You can also enjoy the Wirksworth Novelists, An Audience with Pat Shenstone, The Chorus Crew with Andy Martin and “Judas!” When Dylan went Electric with John Lindley.

The Festival has also commissioned a brand new short film for 2021 – their artist in residence, Liane Lang and up-and-coming Derbyshire-based filmmaker, Tom Dwyer have been exploring the local landscape and Liane’s practice to make a short film documenting the London-based artist’s time living and working in Wirksworth.

The Festival team can’t wait to welcome Festival audiences back to Wirksworth this year and all events will be managed with the latest Covid safety measures as their top priority. The performance and talks programme is ticketed and entry to exhibitions this year is free however, donations will be welcome to help bring Wirksworth Festival back bigger and bolder than ever in 2022.

Carol Taylor, Wirksworth Festival Chair said, “Earlier in the year we had all hoped the pandemic would have slowed down enough for us to run the 2021 Festival in its usual way, however we heard from our local community that running the Art & Architecture Trail which involves over 70 private venues opening their doors to thousands of visitors, wasn’t a favourable option. However, despite initial disappointment for the second year in a row, we are now really excited to launch a number of exhibitions and performance events over the Festival weekend and into the following week. On top of this, we will share our online film commission following our artist in residence, Liane Lang, plus we are delighted with the response we’ve had so far to our first Online Art Prize and can’t wait for the next stage of this, which will see the People’s Prize vote, more prize winners and selling art through the online gallery and shop.”

The Wirksworth Festival programme starts with the online release of the Festival Film commission on Friday 10 Sept, 7.30pm, exhibitions run on Sat 11 – Sun 12 September with the exception of Human Machines which runs until Sun 19 Sept. Performances & talks are programmed from Fri 10 – Tue 14 Sept. The Online Art Prize dates are: Online Gallery & People’s Vote opens Fri 20 Aug, winners announced and online shop opens Mon 6 Sept.

For more information about Wirksworth Festival and to keep up to date with their news, visit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Youtube.

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