Home » Uncategorized » The Idler Festival at Fenton House in Hampstead – 13th to 15th July 2018

The Idler Festival at Fenton House in Hampstead – 13th to 15th July 2018


Photo – National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

London has many festivals, however the new Idler Festival will be promoting the concept of useless pleasure with a carefully-curated line-up of artists, wits, performers and characters.

The event with take place at Fenton House with discussions, classes, debates and performances  filling all corners of the 17th century mansion in the heart of Hampstead village, as well as its lawns, sunken rose garden and 300-year-old orchard.

Photo – National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Some of the highlights include:

Michael Palin will be in conversation with The Idler editor, Tom Hodgkinson, on the myth of idleness.

Investigative journalists Carole Cadwalladr and Peter Jukes will discuss their remarkable partnership which broke the Cambridge Analytica story and everything that has happened since the scandal hit the headlines.

Hassan Akkad fled the conflict in Syria and filmed his escape and subsequent journey across Europe to the UK for the BBC documentary Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, becoming a BAFTA award winner in the process He will come to the festival to give a first-hand description of escaping from Syria.

Sally Phillips leads a discussion on how utilitarianism took over the world and why it should be stopped.

Could magic mushrooms be used to treat depression and are psychedelics getting respectable again? Dr Robin Carhart-Harris is the Founder and Head of the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, where he leads brain imaging studies into the brain effects of LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and DMT. He’ll invite the festival audience into his current programme of research into magic mushrooms.

Historian Matthew Green will explore the history of the coffeehouses of 18th century London.

Murray Lachlan-Young will perform his narrative poem, The Raddlesham Mumps, the rhyming saga of a very unlucky aristocratic family and how they all came to sticky ends.

Laura Freeman will discuss The Reading Cure, the story of how she was coaxed back to health by the plum puddings, greengages, bread, blackberries and biscuits described in the books of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Robert Graves, among others, after succumbing to anorexia at the age of fourteen.

Ben Moor will present Pronoun Trouble, an extremely silly and surreally brilliant lecture about lectures, which starts out by analysing the great Hunting Trilogy of Looney Tunes cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd in far too much detail, using Warner Bros cartoon stills throughout.

Anarchist professor, David Graeber of the LSE, discusses ‘Bullshit Jobs’, his new broadside against the work ethic.

Harry Mount will take festivalgoers on a tour of Hampstead, the best-preserved Georgian village in London, strolling its winding streets and exploring its architecture: 18th-century cottages, terraced house and villas.

Elsewhere, philosopher Edith Hall will speak on Aristotle and his praise of leisure; Fenton House’s harpsichords will be used for recitals of Chopin and Handel; and Mary Shelley’s biographer, Fiona Sampson, will tell all about the creation of Frankenstein.

The Idler magazine was founded by Tom Hodgkinson 25 years ago and the Idler Festival marks the start of celebrations of its anniversary.

The festival takes place over three days and offers numerous diversions to enjoy in a wonderful setting.

Festival Information

Times: Friday 13th – 6-9pm; Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th – 12 noon-7pm.

Venue: Fenton House and Garden, Hampstead Grove, London NW3 6SP

Travel: Fenton House is a 4-minute walk from Hampstead tube.

For more information , visit the Idler website here

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