From now until 12th September, you can unearth Wakehurst's wild landscape through art and sound at 'Summer of Sound'. Be inspired and get back to nature with six large-scale installations, interactive workshops for kids, music and more! Plus, until 15th August, see the gardens and sound installations come alive as the sun goes down at 'Summer of Sound: After Hours'. We had a chat with Emily Jones, a Programme Producer at Wakehurst to tell us more about it...
Tell us about your role and how it's helped shape Summer of Sound this year?
Hi, I’m Emily Jones and I am one of the Programmes Producers here at Wakehurst. My role is really varied and I work across a range of programming, and have been really privileged to be able to curate this event for the site this summer.
What can visitors expect when they visit Wakehurst for Summer of Sound?
This summer we are inviting visitors on an exploration of unique sound installations set in the beautiful landscape of Wakehurst. With over 500 acres to discover, it’s a great chance to encourage visitors to discover new spots in the gardens and connect to nature in a different way.
Working with award-winning sound artists, we have six large scale sound installations in the gardens, along with an After Hours evening event and a range of workshops – so there really is something for everyone. The workshops are all inspired by the summer programme, so you can learn new skills such as learning to talk to birds and song writing, or join Ivor Novello award-winning artist Kathy Hinde on a deep listening workshop.
Did you have much involvement in curating the theme for this year? If so, can you tell us a little more about it...
I’m passionate about sounds and wanted to bring another level of enjoyment to the landscape by adding in and enhancing natural sound elements. We wanted the installations to be part of the landscape, and really encourage visitors to stop for a moment to listen and embrace their surroundings.
How long does an event of this kind take to organise and what challenges have risen throughout?
To plan and organise something like this you need ideally a year, but you can never have enough time! Covid and Brexit have been challenging to overcome in many different ways, from import taxes to quarantine rules. But we’re so delighted it has all worked out and our international artists were able to make it to Wakehurst.
Summer of Sound is a chance to connect with nature, which is especially important to people right now. What’s your personal favourite installation and why?
It’s so hard to choose as they all do different things for me depending on what mood I’m in. The Sonic Woodland Glade is probably my favourite though as it’s nestled away in Horsebridge woods between towering Giant Redwood trees. Just lying in the hammocks and letting the sounds wash over you is a real treat, and it’s been a real favourite with our visitors too.
After hours is a chance to see the gardens and sound installations come alive as the sun goes down but can you tell us a bit more about how it differs from the day-time event?
I am so excited about this evening event, Summer of Sound After Hours. We don’t often open the gardens up in the evening, so it’s a really special offer for our audiences. The installations will feel different at sunset, plus we have a tuba player up a tree, a laser harp, a cellist in one of our giant megaphones, plus silent disco headphones with a newly commissioned spoken word piece from artist Sami Switch. Not to mention open air grill cooking and botanical cocktails! What’s not to love?!
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