Nairn Book and Arts Festival will open the festival week with an environmentally-themed creative takeover of Nairn High Street and a stunning silk flags installation.
Running from September 4 – 12, Nairn Book and Arts Festival will offer a hybrid programme of events and activities, including a range of live and online talks, live music, outdoor performances, spoken word, art installations, pop-up shops, creative workshops and more.
On Sunday September 5, 500 naturally-dyed silk flags will be displayed on Nairn’s East Beach, creating an eye-catching installation.
Silk flags created by Nairn residents to go on display
These silk flags were created by communities along the east coast of the UK as part of international outdoor arts company Kinetika’s Beach of Dreams project.
The initiative’s goal was to discover the hidden gems of the East Coast of England, inviting collaboration from communities, environmental scientists and artists along the way. Kinetika’s artistic director Ali Pretty and journalist Kevin Rushby walked the entire route joined by filmmakers, artists, writers, scientists, and local residents.
Now, to involve Nairn residents, Ali hosted two workshops where locals helped to design and make new silk flags that will be included in this weekend’s installation.
Artist Ali said: “It’s been my dream to install these silks on the beach at Nairn, which inspires me every time I visit and gives me courage and strength in these challenging times. I hope it will be the beginning of a longer conversation and further collaboration.”
Creative takeover of Nairn High Street
Nairn Book and Arts Festival will also bring live music, pop-up exhibitions, immersive theatre, musical performances and spoken word to Nairn’s High Street on Saturday September 4.
Some of the highlights will include an appearance by performance troupe the Mad Hatters of Moray, ceilidh performances at Castle Square from musicians of Fèis Inbhir Narain, and a promenade show by Mellow Yellow Creative Art.
In addition, poet Hamish MacDonald and street artist Sadie Stoddar will also take part in the upcoming event.
Nairn Academy pupils and local children from Nairn Drama Club as well as Highland Children and Young People’s Forum will also be involved in the festival, creating pavement chalk drawings and working on a collaborative mural.
Alex Williamson, chair of Nairn Book and Arts Festival, said: “High streets are the heartbeat of our communities. Nairn’s High Street has a long and proud history of serving local residents – a tradition it maintained during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We want to work with local businesses and explore creative ways to revitalise the high street and give it a new sense of purpose.
“And we also want to take the art out of the gallery and into the community to create a memorable event that is accessible, inclusive and most importantly, fun.
“But there is a serious message too. This year is VisitScotland’s themed Year of Coast and Waters – and later this year, the world’s leaders will gather in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).
“Given our coastal location, for this year’s festival we want to celebrate Nairn’s natural environment while raising awareness of the local and global effects of climate change.
“We are close to nature’s heart in Nairn. But we need to make sure we take care of it.”
Other Nairn Book and Arts Festival events
Locals and visitors alike can also look forward to a special appearance by mechanical puppet STORM, the 10m creation by Edinburgh’s Vision Mechanics, whose creative director, Symon Macintyre, spent his childhood in Nairn.
More than 20 critically-acclaimed and award-winning authors from across Scotland and the UK are scheduled to appear at this year’s festival, including Sarah Moss (Summerwater), Cal Flyn (Islands of Abandonment) and David Barrie (Incredible Journeys).
The festival will also showcase live music from folk musician, songwriter and storyteller Iona Lane, and will feature a premiere of new material from multi-instrumentalist folk duo Mike Vass and Innes Watson.
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