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Castle installation invades Lakes Alive

(left) Artists impression of how the castle should look and scuppered by high winds, artist Steve Messam (pointing)

[I]t’s bright red, nine metres high and has battlements that overlook Kendal and beyond.

Lakes Alive has commissioned acclaimed artist Steve Messam to create a new piece to respond to the landscape of Kendal.

The audacious castle installation will be coming to town during the Lakes Alive festival 8-10 September.

‘Keep’ will make its grand entrance at the contemporary arts festival on the Saturday and Sunday.

It will be positioned on the site of the former Castle Howe (situated behind the Brewery Arts Centre).

The bright red tower will create a dramatic presence in Kendal while overlooking its neighbour – the existing Kendal Castle on the other side of the river.

People can get a sneak preview when it is temporarily installed at Latrigg Fell, near Keswick in Lake District National Park for one day – Wednesday 6 September.

Lakes Alive offers a weekend of spectacular happenings in and around Kendal and wider Lake District National Park. The free arts festival will appeal to families and art lovers alike. It is also a celebration of World Heritage Site Status for the Lake District National Park.

Steve Messam has created 18 large scale installations in the Lake District over the last ten years including: filling a beach with thousands of sandcastles and paper flags, a giant raindrop the size of a three storey building and a walk-in kaleidoscope on the shores of Windermere.

People will also remember his 2015 PaperBridge creation which stretched across a stream in Patterdale.

Steve Messam, from Upper Teesdale, Country Durham,  said: “Within the context of Kendal, ‘Keep’ is a playful intervention in the rich history of the town and landscape. The bright red creating a very surreal and colourful presence in the ‘old grey town’.

“It converses with the existing Kendal Castle on the other side of the river. The red versus white, as two rooks on a chess board of landscape.”

Steve added: “I’m interested in the English tradition of putting a building or folly up on a hill. Follies on hills did not originate in the Lakes but the reason people built them elsewhere was a direct result of the way Lakes’ landscapes changed the way we value landscape.

“For Lakes Alive I want to bring something that, like a folly, is visually striking from a distance. I also want people to enjoy it and be part of it…”

Phillippa Haynes, Lakes Alive Festival Director said: “We are thrilled to bring a brand new Steve Messam commission to Lakes Alive. This stunning work is one of dozens of intriguing art installations, spectacular happenings and intimate performances taking place during the fantastic Lakes Alive weekend.”

Lakes Alive kicks off on Friday 8 September at 6pm with a giant Jacob’s Join – a unique dining experience alongside the River Kent at Kendal with music, dancing and merriment.

During the weekend Kendal Castle will be all aglow with Shipping Forecast – a light installation by artist Pete Johnson. Darkness delivers the most impact of this stunning piece.

Also at the castle, artist Richard Shilling is creating a fantastic land-art piece. Large-scale and set high on a hill, it can be seen from afar.

Cumbrian sound artist Dan Fox brings Cymbria. This is a new piece created with the voices and sounds of Cumbria and inspired by the River Kent.

Dance is a feature of this year’s programme with London-based Folk Dance Remixed, a collision of traditional and hip hop dance and music set to delight audiences throughout the weekend.

They will perform alongside northern companies AbouTime Dance and Hawk Dance Theatre who bring traditional and contemporary dance to the streets of Kendal.

Acclaimed environmental artist Steve Messam is bringing a stunning and audacious new commission to the festival.

The big international commission is called To Travel and To Matter, an adventurous walk and sound installation by Dutch composers Strijbos & Van Rijswijk with poet Jacob Polley.

This is located in Grasmere and Elterwater on walking trails and open fells. To Travel and To Matter uses Strijbos and Van Rijswijk’s digital app Walk With Me to move the listener at their own pace through a glorious landscape and to create a unique and dramatic experience on the route.

Lakes Alive brings together artists from home and abroad. This festival of making, exploring and seeing is set to transform spaces and transform audiences. Other stunning art and participation activities will take place across the town including, The Factory, The Brewery Arts Centre, Abbot Hall, and Kendal Castle.

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