Why This Bright Land will be the summer’s most joyful festival

·2-min read
 (This Bright Land)
(This Bright Land)

After two pandemic-enforced years of isolation and loss, the irreverent fashion designer Gareth Pugh and his activist husband Carson McColl couldn’t escape an overwhelming sense of hopelessness in the air. Covid had been a stark reminder that life is short, and the pair felt like they needed to do something to abate the capital’s gloom.

They came up withThe Bright Land, a major new cultural festival taking place across the month of August at Somerset House. The brainchild of the fabulous couple, who together co-founded the independent creative studio Hard + Shiny, it’s set to be a magnificent project that will bring together major artists, cultural figures, community groups and grassroots activists for a much needed celebration.

“We want to bring happiness to people, and create a space for joy and fun and shared experience,” McColl told Dazed. “But we also want to bring stories about radical care and allyship to a mainstream audience.”

With additional curation support from Kartel Brown, a prominent member of the Voguing scene, Kayza Rose, founder of BLM Fest, and Jo Cunningham-Alloway and June Lam, representatives of We Exist, The Bright Land has all the hallmarks to be a certified hit.

Vogue Rites (Vogue Rites)
Vogue Rites (Vogue Rites)

The 29-day long affair will be jampacked with all sorts of fun activities. Live music and dance will play a big role, with weekly Friday night parties that will welcome the likes of Nine Nights – a creative initiative platforming Black creative talent such as Chamber 45, Gaika, GLOR1A, BRBKO and Sandra Omari. They’ll also pay hommage to ballroom culture with weekly Saturday Vogue Balls where performers and house members will compete for trophies and unique prizes in an outdoor extravaganza.

The daytime will be for families. Think: a site-wide treasure hunt hosted by weird and wonderful mascots, an outdoor food market curated by Black Eats LDN, and pop ups with leading beauty brands such as Forest Essentials who will create a sensorial relaxation space where you can test out Ayurvedic products. They’ll also be a free exhibition titled Eternally Yours, which will spotlight sustainable fashion through diverse artists who use upcycling and repurposing at the core of their brand.

Finally, an honourable shout out has to go to the 35-metre observation wheel that promises unreal views of the Thames and Soho.

Black Eats LDN (Black Eats LDN)
Black Eats LDN (Black Eats LDN)

Curated under the overarching theme of family – whether that be biological family, chosen family, creative family or global family – the vibe is set to feel like one big hug. Be sure to keep your calendars clear in August for This Bright Land.

Full programme and pricing details will be released on 22 June; somersethouse.org.uk

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