Big-name acts and cult heroes heading to Warwickshire: all you need to know about this year's Lunar Festival

Amadou and Mariam. Picture: Gabri Guerrero
Amadou and Mariam. Picture: Gabri Guerrero

Basement Jaxx, Goldfrapp and The Stranglers have been named among the acts heading to Warwickshire this summer for the Lunar Festival.

They join Malian music legends Amadou & Mariam and diverse array of alternative and innovative acts at the event, which is based near Tanworth-In-Arden and runs from Thursday July 26 to Sunday July 29.

Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp

Tickets for the 5,000-capacity event will be released for general sale at 10am on Friday February 23.

For the first time in its five-year history, the festival site will open up a day early exclusively to 500 weekend ticket holders on Thursday July 26.

Committed to staying small whilst thinking big, this year's festival introduces what organisers call Lunar’s Seven Elements: Learn, Listen, Taste, Relax, Laugh, Move and Create.

John Fell, one of the organisers, said: "Lunar Festival offering is all about bringing together like-minded individuals, artists, fans and creatives, to realise a shared vision that inspires, entertains, enlightens and captivates through the Seven Elements.

The festival has a capacity of 5,000. Picture: Jolyon Holdroyd

The festival has a capacity of 5,000. Picture: Jolyon Holdroyd

"We've worked hard over the past year to make the 2018 programme our best yet, for the adventurous and the family-orientated. Lunar is 100 per cent dedicated to celebrating the wonderful community of music and art lovers that have supported the festival to date, and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to this year's edition."

Among the other acts performing are The Go! Team, who promise a joyous set for the Lunar Festival faithful, alongside highly-anticipated sets from the hotly-tipped Cardiff funk, rave and psych-indie outfit Boy Azooga and 77:78, a brand new project from The Bees’ Aaron Fletcher and Tim Parkin.

Award-winning family folk group The Unthanks will perform the songs and poems of Molly Drake; a fitting tribute, as Lunar Festival, takes place in Tanworth-In-Arden, the spiritual home of Molly’s son, venerated singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

Here's what's happening on each day:

Basement Jaxx. Picture:

Basement Jaxx. Picture:

FRIDAY JULY 27

Amadou & Mariam met as children at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind in Bamako. Now celebrating 35 years as successful musicians playing their electric take on Afroblues across the globe, the duo has recorded eight full-length albums (including 2017’s "La Confusion" via Because Music) and count Stevie Wonder, Manu Chao and Simpson's creator Matt Groening amongst their fans.

Double BRIT award winners Basement Jaxx have gone from throwing hush-hush raves in abandoned South London pizza joints to being a go-to name for eclectic and uplifting mixes and productions that embrace house, Latin, Kizomba, hip hop and broken beats amongst a multitude of styles and genres.

Nabihah Iqbal (formerly Throwing Shade) released her debut LP on respected British label Ninja Tune in December 2017. Weighing of the Heart melds live instrumentation and moody, propulsive basslines with shimmering synth atmospheres.

The Go! Team, an act “who still have faith in the power of music to make things better”, promise a joyous set for the Lunar Festival faithful, alongside highly-anticipated sets from Heavenly Records artists, the hotly-tipped Cardiff funk, rave and psych-indie outfit Boy Azooga; and 77:78, a brand new project from The Bees’ Aaron Fletcher and Tim Parkin.

Award-winning family folk group The Unthanks will perform the songs and poems of Molly Drake; a fitting tribute, as Lunar Festival, takes place in Tanworth-In-Arden, the spiritual home of Molly’s son, venerated English singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

SATURDAY JULY 28

Goldfrapp's seventh album Silver Eye (a reference to the moon) was released in 2017 and marked a new direction towards cinematic pop with a twist - away from previous forays into electronic folk by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. Ever-inventive and evolving over 21 years of recording and performing, the duo promises a dramatic and visually striking experience to help top off the festival’s Saturday main stage bill

Critic Alex Petridis (Guardian Music) awarded Hookworms - rock band gone electronic - a rare five-star review for their February 2018 release Microshift.

Fusing slinky underground disco, deep electronic throbs, and shimmering pop moments, Crazy P make dance music with a voice, a heart, and soul - a perfect foil for the psychedelic jazz of Soundway Records collective and perennial festival pleasers The Heliocentrics, as well as Birmingham industrial synth-doom merchants Matters.

Trojan Soundsystem celebrates 50 years of the influential reggae label with a gathering of selectors and singers, promising uplifting and feel-good sounds in intimate surroundings of The Crow Bar.

SUNDAY JULY 29

Seminal punk and new wave band The Stranglers bring the Lunar Festival weekend to a fitting end - 43 years since emerging via the Guildford punk rock scene. The band have gone on to experiment with different styles, resulting in smash hits Golden Brown, No More Heroes, Peaches and Always The Sun, and are consistently cited as one of the most influential acts to have come out of the UK.

After being forced to leave their homes in Mali during the civil conflict and imposition of Sharia law, Songhoy Blues formed. Their 2015 debut album Music In Exile was released via Transgressive Records to universal acclaim, being described as “a masterpiece of desert blues; blending American guitar licks with Malian groove” by the NME.

Former lead singer of the legendary and seminal German krautrock band Can, Damo Suzuki now performs around with world as Damo Suzuki’s Network, and has created live improvisational music with more than 7,000 different musicians across 43 countries to date. He will bring this project to Lunar Festival for a never-before-seen performance with a group of specially-assembled musicians, dubbed the Lunar Ensemble.

Expect a kaleidoscopic world of wild synths and drums from AK/DK, Jane Weaver’s melodic electro-indie channelling new depths of cosmic energy and fresh soundscapes from rising Birmingham collective Dorcha. More highlights come from Blackash with their fusion of acid rock and acid house and BBC 6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe with his band Galleon Blast.

ELSEWHERE AT THE FESTIVAL

Hosting dance classes by day teaching Bhangra, Northern Soul and Swing, The Crow Bar will carry on the party till 3am once the music on the Lunar stage has finished.

Similarly, new venue Journey To Nutopia will play host to futuristic talks and workshops through the day, broadening minds and changing perspectives. By night, this venue will see high-calibre DJ sets from the likes of dance music icon A Guy Called Gerald, performing a live acid jam session, and one of Britain’s first house sound systems, DIY Soundsystem, hosting the Friday night. Also making an appearance to bring a Nutopian electronic-meets-spoken-word set to Lunar is Richard Norris.

In the timber-framed Moonshine Barn – a further addition to this year's Lunar offering – comedy is provided by one of the UK’s longest-standing comedy clubs, The Glee Club. This includes their famous Comedy Carousel as well as performances by crowd favourite Paul Foot and local hero Barbara Nice, hosting Celebrity Blind Date.

Lunar Festival will also see live podcasts, such as Reasons To Be Cheerful by Absolute Radio’s Geoff Lloyd and former Labour party leader Ed Miliband, recorded on site.

The Misery Saloon, strictly for the morose over 18s, will host whiskey, rum and gin tasting sessions as well as being home to a matinee of “thoroughly depressing film” and employ a strict "No Smiling Rule”.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Thanks to partnerships with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Space Centre, families can revel in a wealth of theatre and science-themed activities. The Pink Moon Meadow will host plenty of other entertainment and workshops, such as making your own fairy doors, pottery, wand-making, the renowned Big Fish Little Fish family rave, Lunar team sports and a skate ramp, provided by A Third Foot.

Children can also go free to the Umberslade Children’s Farm where they can interact with baby animals, ride a pony, enjoy the two adventure play areas and even ride one of the farm’s John Deere tractors.

For those wanting a more luxurious experience at Lunar Festival, glamping options include luxury bell tents, beautiful vintage tents or quirky and unique Landpods. To escape from the hustle and bustle, attendees can enjoy a soak in wood-fired hot tubs, complete with waiter service and a chill-out tent at the Northern Sky Retreat.

Lunar Festival is produced by the team behind Moseley Folk Festival and Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival.

Applications are currently open for NHS workers to apply for free weekend tickets (one ticket per worker). Applicants must email proof of NHS employment to info@lunarfestival.co.uk by Friday March 16. A total of 100 workers will be selected at random to receive a free ticket.

Lunar Festival tickets are released for general sale from 10 am Friday 23 February 2018 via the official website.