Spectacular Solstice Festival Brings Celebration of Arts and Science to Dumfries & Galloway



A summer solstice festival is expected to attract crowds to Dumfries and Galloway for a spectacular midsummer celebration of art, science and music.


The three day festival at the Crawick Multiverse – Scotland’s world-class cosmic artland – and neighbouring Sanquhar will bring together leading artists and scientists with members of the community. Highlights include the official unveiling of a new mosaic from the globally-renowned landscape artist Charles Jencks; the opening of an exhibition featuring his work alongside that of artist, designer and performer Alex Rigg; and a series of fascinating science lectures.


The Duke of Buccleuch, who funded the £1million, 55-acre Crawick Multiverse, said: “The summer solstice marks the first birthday of this unique site which, once a coal mine, has become a truly inspirational artland representing exciting discoveries and theories of the universe.  There is no better way to celebrate its tremendously successful first year than a weekend dedicated to celebrating art, science, and the fusion of the two – with the local community right at the heart of the festivities.”

The festival kicks off on Friday, June 24, with the opening of the collaborative Landscape of Waves exhibition hosted by A’ the Airts at Merz Studios in Sanquhar. Charles Jencks’ work reveals how the landscape and skyscape are made up of waveforms; while Alex Rigg will present costume created in response to the site and give an insight into his approach for making performance and design.


Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) President, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, will inspire artists and scientists alike with a talk at Sanquhar town hall on ‘Our Universe in Pictures, Poetry and Music’. Dame Jocelyn is credited with having discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy – one of the most significant discoveries of the 21st century.


Saturday, June 25, will feature lectures around the theme ‘Our Sun, Our Star’ at Sanquhar Town Hall, organised by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, featuring: Professor Ineke De Moortel of the University of St Andrews, Professor Yvonne Elsworth FRS of the University of Birmingham, Professor Lyndsay Fletcher of the University of Glasgow and Professor Jim Wild of the University of Lancaster.

On Sunday, June 26, the Festival of the Solstice comes to the Crawick Multiverse – an unforgettable showcase of performances by regional schools, artists and community groups. A stunning new addition to the site will be unveiled – Charles Jencks’ mosaic entitled Sun Flare – Earth Shield. It represents the ‘dance of life and death’ between solar flares and the protective rotation/electromagnetism of the Earth.


Visitors will also enjoy pipers and Riding of the Marches before the day culminates in a not-to-be-missed performance from Alex Rigg and his acclaimed theatrical dance company Oceanallover entitled ‘Not to Scale’. The performance explores form and movement derived from microbes, bacteria and insects too small for the eye to see alongside giant structures of human construction.  At 6pm the Collision of the Galaxies / Burning of the Multiverse will be represented through a fire display and a musical performance in the Crawick Multiverse’s desert.


For more information or to buy tickets for the summer solstice festival activities, visit www.crawickmultiverse.co.uk.  You can keep track of what’s happening at the Crawick Multiverse via the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crawickmultiverse or check out @CMVerse on Twitter.

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