Sounds & Words in the Lake District


a new festival of
music, literature
& performance

The Commissions

Instead of a live festival in 2020, we concentrated our energies on commissioning new work from some amazing artists, all of which are presented here, online and for free.

Aerial is more than a festival. It is intended as a platform for new work inspired in some way by the natural, cultural or social history of Cumbria and each of these commissions reflect that.

Take your time to explore an uncharted landscape of new music, poems, essays, sound art, films and podcasts.


Hayden Thorpe, The Quietus, Lone Taxidermist, Caught by the River, The Dark Outside, The Willowherb Review, Richard King, Rob St John and many more

More than 20 new works from over 40 artists


Prelude 2020

The Quietus & The Willowherb Review

Ten international artists respond to the events of 2020 in words and sounds, inspired by Wordsworth’s epic poem The Prelude. listen here



Hayden Thorpe

Aerial has commissioned new work from Kendal born Hayden Thorpe, a stunning collection of new songs inspired by the Lakes. listen here



Lone Taxidermist

Short films reflecting on life growing up as a first generation immigrant in small town Cumbria, set against the esoteric rituals and traditions of the area. Expect music, art and general all pervasive weirdness. watch here


Caught by the River

Stuart Maconie & More

Words and sounds featuring BBC’s Stuart Maconie, author Roy Wilkinson, the UK’s foremost field recording artist Chris Watson, Helen Mort, music from Jack Cooper (Modern Nature) and much more. listen here


10 Years of Corbel Stone Press

Richard Skelton, Autumn Richardson & Guests

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Corbel Stone Press with music and films from Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson, plus spoken word contributions from many of their acclaimed poets and writers. watch here


Da-Dark Outside

Various Artists

A one-off 24hr online radio broadcast featuring sounds and music no-one has ever heard (or will hear again) inspired by the legacy of artist Kurt Schwitters. listen here


Sounds of Silence

Various Artists

Sound works from artists with deep bonds to Cumbria inspired by the Lakes in lockdown, commissioned through an open call. listen here


No One Can Own A River

Richard King & Rob St John

Inspired by Raymond Williams’ theories of vocabulary and culture, the film examines the themes of King’s book The Lark Ascending to explore received ideas about our national relationship to the countryside. watch here

We'll be back with live events as soon as possible

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About Aerial

Aerial is a festival of predominately (though not exclusively) new work; melding sounds, words, performance and film inspired by the natural, cultural and social history of Cumbria and the Lake District. 

It’s the sort of festival that you can dip in and out of, rather like wild swimming in Rydal Water. Minimising impact to the local area by only using existing venues, from steamboats to churches, cosy pubs to stone circles.

From time-to-time Aerial will also stage one-off events or commission work for presentation online, if you are interested in working with us please get in touch.

“The station whence he looked was soft and green,
Not giddy yet aerial, with a depth
Of vale below, a height of hills above” 

William Wordsworth, Home at Grasmere 1806


The previously advertised programme of live events in 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID-19. All ticket holders should have received an email from Ticketline, if you have not, a refund can be obtained by contacting their customer service team by 28 September 2020:

We will donate any unclaimed refunds to local foodbanks.

Aerial is a festival of contemporary music, literature & performance, taking place in the stunning landscape of the Lake District.

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Aerial is made possible by funding from Great Place Lakes & Dales: placing art, heritage and culture at the heart of our future.

Copyright © 2020 Aerial. Brand and website Louiza Rabouhi. Landscape photography by John Shedwick.