Shangri-La at Glastonbury Festival
Creative Director of Shangri-La at Glastonbury Festival and Lost Horizon, celebrating underground art, music and culture.
In 2002 Kaye began working in Lost Vagueness, the naughty corner of Glastonbury that was filled with DIY culture, activists, punks, circus performers and travellers, as a performer and hostess.
Her mind was blown by the raw creativity she was now a part of, so she decided to create something to contribute the following year in the form of The Laundromat Of Love. This tiny polka dotted tent was designed to provide a bit of an antidote to the hedonism of Lost Vagueness – a place for the introverts, and people that just needed a hug, to be welcomed and pampered by her all-female troupe of performers The Laundrettas. 15 self-created characters in the form of 1950’s Housewives, but with a feminist twist – revealing the true essence of the modern woman – her strengths and flaws, through interactive theatre and comedy.
This first show Kaye created at Glastonbury was a big risk – She had to decide to create the show at Lost Vagueness or pay her rent.. she made the right choice, one that changed her life forever. In order to achieve this, her entire worldly possessions were brought to site, becoming the decor both inside and outside the venue. Now homeless, she was more home than she had ever been.
By 2007, Kaye and her gang had departed from Lost Vagueness started working with Joe Rush and the Mutoid Wast Company in Trash City at Glastonbury, as well as creating bespoke live art installations, theatre shows, cabarets and their own club nights in London and festivals and events in the UK/Ireland.
Many of the key people from Lost Vagueness came together in 2008 to re-write history forming a rebel alliance – their drive was to do something new, something that had never been seen or experienced before in a field, something autonomous that would reflect their take on the world and change the way festivals are experienced, briefed and supported by Michael and Emily who gave the field its new name.
Together they created Shangri-La, a name that didn’t resonate at first, but they subverted to become an enforced Utopia, inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 and the aesthetic of the iconic Bladerunner.
Kaye’s personal interest as a maker and performer was to truly immerse people into the faux-world they were making, creating an assault on the senses on every level, so they built a living breathing film-set where the boundaries between performer and audience member could completely break down. Creating a role for herself as artistic director – a role never previously associated with festival culture.
Taking the model of the Launderette, and multiplying it exponentially, she pushed it further by pulling together 20 different crews from every subculture imaginable to curate their own mini-venues, and the population for the sprawling city of Shangri-La was born. Everyone followed the same narrative and storyline, but with their own take on it. The aim wasn’t to control it but to bring it to life and let it live, with music, performance and artwork telling the story. Everyone would have their own unique experience at Shangri-La depending which alleyway they ventured down, creating their own journeys and stories. The more people interacted with he narrative, the deeper and more rewarding their experience.
Today both Kaye and Shangri-La continue the mission they set out with, holding a mirror to the masses, creating conversations, encourage activism and stimulating all of the senses at the same time. The aim is to work with artists to create work that lives on outside of the festival so it can be enjoyed by everybody, intensifying hearts and opening minds. Their own personal shangri-la is to guide other events to be more sustainable, using the recycled materials that are everywhere, pushing for the truth and engaging people more politically.
RE-CYCLE – RE-USE – RESIST.
“Shangri-La this year is a battle cry – a call to action, and a chance for us to come together en masse to create something truly powerful, using our voices and enabling those who don’t have one to be heard, in the field and beyond. We need to show our humanity and live our truths. We need to inspire, teach and learn from each other. There is no better place to do that than here.. at the most incredible party on the planet. I am truly humbled by the love and dedication the crew and collaborators bring to Shangri-La. We welcome everyone with open hearts and open arms”
Kaye Dunnings Creative Director 2019