24 Sept

25 2020



Sounds and words in the Lake District

***Update 3 July 2020***

The uncertainty surrounding the wider recovery from Covid-19 has made the planning of a festival near-impossible, and coupled with the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on South Cumbria, we feel the staging of a live festival this year would not be the right thing to do, as such all Aerial live events in 2020 will no longer be going ahead. 

Instead we will be presenting an exciting and diverse array of brand new commissions, all available on our website for free from 26 September 2020. Read more details here.

Welcome to Aerial: the Lake District’s new festival

Aerial is a new festival of contemporary music, literature and performance, taking place in and around the Lake District town of Ambleside.

It is intended to be 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 (with very limited capacities). A carefully curated collection of individually ticketed and free shows that allow you to plan a weekend escape to the Lakes on your own terms.

All activity is in easy reach of the best the area has to offer. We want you to make the most of the local area and experience why this place has been and continues to be an inspiration to generation after generation of artist.

See some shows, explore the bars and restaurants, head out on epic fell treks, hire a boat or take a gentle stroll. The Lake District belongs to you and Aerial is all the excuse you need to begin, rekindle or continue what will inevitably be a lifelong love affair with this most beautiful corner of the country.

“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

what’s on

Hayden Thorpe

Artist in Residence

Wild Beast’s solo artist Hayden Thorpe joins the festival as our artist in residence, bringing material from his debut album Diviner alongside a newly commissioned choral piece written especially for Aerial.

St. Mary’s Church Ambleside

Thursday 24 September, 7.30pm
Tickets £15/£12

The Lark Ascending: People, Music, Landscape

Fresh from the Barbican, Aerial is delighted to present an evening retelling Richard King’s acclaimed book, The Lark Ascending, featuring Vashti Bunyan, Richard King, Deep Throat Choir and Westmorland Orchestra.

St. Mary’s Church Ambleside

Friday 25 September, 7.30pm
Tickets £20/£17

Kate Tempest: Telling Poems

Aerial welcomes Kate Tempest; ground-breaking spoken word performer, poet, recording artist, novelist and playwright.

St. Mary’s Church Ambleside

Saturday 26 September, 7.30pm
Tickets £20/£17

The Da-Dark Outside

Call for submissions!

Join us, wherever you are in the world for a 24-hour broadcast of sounds no one has ever heard before


Lone Taxidermist: Marra

New commission

‘Marra’ is a new commission from artist Lone Taxidermist. A multi-sensory installation and performance inspired by her experience growing up as a first-generation immigrant in West Cumbria.

Sporties, Ambleside Tavern

Saturday 26 September, 7pm
Tickets £7/£5

10 Years of Corbel Stone Press at Nab Cottage

Celebrate the first decade of Corbel Stone Press – one of the foremost presses in the UK dedicated to landscape and the natural world – in one of the lakes most emotive places, Nab Cottage on the banks of Rydal Water.

Nab Cottage, Rydal

Sunday 27 September, 7.30pm
Tickets £15/£12

The Quietus

Join legends of independent cultural journalism for an afternoon of doing what they do best; having intelligent, interesting conversation and playing amazing sounds, many of which you probably haven’t heard before.

The Ambleside Inn

Sunday 27 September, 1pm
Free. No ticket required

Ambleside Late Night Sessions: Niko, Aim & Sierre

Three artists from Cumbria who have achieved greatness or are standing on that cusp. Atic Records based in Barrow is home to legendary producer Aim who will be playing a vinyl only set, joined by label mate Niko performing a live PA in support of a new album out later this year. Kendal’s Sierre will be closing the night, touted by Redbull Music as one of the UK’s hottest new producers. Lose yourself to the future sound of Cumbria.

Sporties, Ambleside Tavern

Saturday 26 September, 10pm
Tickets £5

Ambleside Late Night Sessions: DJ Gripper & ‘BUMS’

Let the renegade minds of BUMS (Barrow Underground Music Society) guide you through Electronica, Jazz, Broken Beat, Deep House, Balearic, Afro, House, Acid and everything in between.

Sporties, Ambleside Tavern

Friday 25 September, 10pm
Free. No ticket required

Hayden Thorpe and Deep Throat Choir present: 2020

New commission

2020 is a choral piece written in response to the ancient stone circle at Castlerigg. It will be performed at dawn at the stone circle and will then make its way through the South Lakes in a series of free, public performances.

Various locations

Saturday 26 September
Free. No ticket required

Words From The Water

Join swimming writers Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Amy Liptrot and Nina Mingya Powles for readings & discussion, followed by an optional wild swim.

Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere

Saturday 26 September, 11am

Painting of Grasmere, Lake District


Ambleside and surrounding areas – The Lake District

In the heart of England’s Largest National Park, the spectacular landscape of the Lake District has inspired the creative minds and imaginations of residents and visitors for centuries. The stunning vistas of craggy hilltops, mountain tarns and lakes hugely influenced the work of William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Thomas de Quincey, John Ruskin and many more since, from Beatrix Potter to Arthur Ransome, Wild Beasts to Sarah Hall. Today the World Heritage site has a thriving outdoors and creative scene which continues to go from strength to strength.

From readings on the water, to dancing into the night, galvanize your body and your mind with wild swims and leafy hikes before you join us for performances of a lifetime. Take in the views and discover local artisans, makers, craft breweries and wildlife.

Be inspired on the steps of our venues.

how to get here

Oxenholme is the mainline railway station serving the South Lakes, with trains to London (2.5 hours), Manchester (1.5 hours), Glasgow (2-3 hours) and further afield. From Oxenholme a connecting train to Windermere takes 15 minutes.

From Windermere, the 555 bus route has regular shuttles into Ambleside and Grasmere.

The 555 is the main route throughout the Lake District connecting, Lancaster to Keswick. More info

Please use sat nav instructions outlined on the venue/ticket page site. We encourage audiences to take public transport where possible.

Manchester (c. 2 hours)

Carlisle (1h 15)

Kendal (30 minutes)

For more information on accommodation and local details visit: Go Lakes and Lake District National Park Authority



Aerial is made possible by funding from Great Place: Lakes and Dales; one of 16 national schemes placing art, heritage and culture at the heart of our future and at the centre of the Grasmere – Skipton corridor.

about us

Copyright © 2019 Aerial website by Louiza Rabouhi