Line-up revealed for Suffolk Festival of Ideas

George Monbiot ANL-151201-154548001
George Monbiot ANL-151201-154548001

A festival exploring the ideas that shape our environment will debut in Bury St Edmunds this May with a talk by a renowned environmentalist and columnist.

George Monbiot will launch the inaugural Suffolk Festival of Ideas which includes more than 30 events for all ages and interests.

Owen Jones ANL-151201-154602001

Owen Jones ANL-151201-154602001

There will be debates from the likes of The Guardian’s Owen Jones and a town-wide art trail with work by regional artists on display at various businesses and shops.

The green themed festival, which puts an emphasis on collective and individual responses to climate change, has been funded by locality budget donations from Suffolk County councillors Mark Ereira-Guyer and Sarah Stamp.

Festival curator and journalist Matt Gaw said: “For me, this event was about trying to organise something that would really stimulate both thought and action.”

The festival will also tackle the problem of a hyper-consumeristic society with Newsnight-style discussions featuring commentators and theorists such as Dr Daniel O’Neill, Andrew Simms and Sue Palmer.

Other highlights include critically-acclaimed poet Luke Wright, renowned academic Aubrey de Grey and a screening of Jeff Orlowski’s award winning film Chasing Ice.

A number of self-organising groups and schools are putting on their own Festival of Ideas events while organisations such as Bury Water Meadows Group will be leading a guided walk and Sustainable Bury will host a meet, greet and eat session. Restaurants and eateries Maison Bleue, Cafe del Mar and The Old Cannon Brewery will all be serving a special local dish for the festival weekend.

Cllr Ereira-Guyer, festival director, said: “This year’s Festival of Ideas will focus on individual and collective responses to manmade climate change. We hope it will provide the widest opportunity possible for people from all backgrounds and ages to engage with the debate raging worldwide - what are we all going to do to ensure that runaway climate change chaos is averted.”

Cllr Stamp, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, added: “The environmental themes being explored cut right across politics and affect us all and I hope that this festival helps unite our local community in a common urgent endeavour.”

Members of the organising committee include Cllr Stamp, The Very Rev Dr Frances Ward, King Edward VI headteacher Geoff Barton as well as John Parr and Angela Whatley, of West Suffolk College.

The festival runs from May 22-24 with a launch event on May 18. Visit www.suffolkfestivalofideas.co.uk