Jupiter Rising festival (Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh, 28-29 August 2021)

AJ Dehany remembers the 2019 edition and looks forward to dipping a toe back in the water of music festivals:

Jupiter Rising. Image by Aly Wight Photography, courtesy of Jupiter Artland

Styling itself as a Scottish Supernormal, the delayed third edition of the Jupiter Rising mini-festival is coming on 28-29 August. The Jupiter Artland sculpture park near Edinburgh in the West Lothian countryside is a compelling location for this unique fusion of art and music for an audience of around just 500 people.

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Headlining the 2019 edition, The Comet Is Coming played on the penultimate night of their international summer tour. They were the best I’ve ever seen them, absolutely on fire. In an afternoon set, Ben Vince layered up skronking sax over layers of electronic noise with an uncompromising intensity. Similarly pulling no punches, Apartment House performed selections from the gnarly end of classical repertoire with pieces from Julius Eastman and Frederic Rzewski.

The opening performance by Steven Warwick and Carlos Maria Romero overtured LGBTQI+ themes the festival promotes. The festival is very much an LGBTQI+ safe space, and also wonderfully kid-friendly. Our girls, aged in single figures, loved their first camping experience. With the small geographical scale and friendly arty crowd it felt safe and fun. They made BFFs 4eva with a lovely pair of older young women during the Vaselines’ set. The art trail tour round the sculpture park engaged them with works by huge names including Anish Kapoor, Anthony Gormley, Andy Goldsworthy, and Cornelia Parker.

Steven Warwick and Carlos Maria Romero. Image by Aly Wight Photography, courtesy of Jupiter Artland

This year’s offerings include the beloved Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist and the drums-guitar noise-rock duo Guttersnipe, sonic marmite that I adore but who have an impressively divisive effect. The late night woodland raves curated by OH141 are another highlight of the experience, as is the lake swimming on the site.

Most of us are slowly and somewhat cagily re-inserting ourselves into music, art and lived experience again. Jupiter Rising, with its serious commitment to niche and cutting edge art and its small size, is a great option for a cheap, welcoming and safe testing of the water, literally. There’s a palpable and increasing need and desire for spaces where art, music and performance can come together, and the 2021 edition of Jupiter Rising looks sure to build upon the successes of 2019’s programme and share its unique atmosphere.

AJ Dehany writes independently about music, art and stuff:

LINK: Jupiter Rising website

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