The power of mushrooms will be explored at Glastonbury Festival this year, though not in the manner typically associated with England’s landmark music event.
In the six weeks leading up to the festival, a collective of artists and designers are testing mushroom roots, or mycelium, as a versatile and compostable material of the future. The results will be presented inside the inaugural Hayes Pavilion along with sound art compositions and a short film documenting the process.
The experimental art pavilion is one of three new creations from Silver Hayes, a section of the festival which, since erecting a dance tent in the mid-’90s, has proudly pumped rave throughout its grounds. For festival-goers seeking a contemplative repose to the dance floor, Silver Hayes is now introducing The Information, a stage for arts-centric debate and conversation, originally created for Bristol’s Forwards Festival.
The roster is as eclectic as the topics are varied. Groove Armada’s Andy Cato and contestant Ruby Tandoh will discuss the right to eat well. Two Arsenal footballers and a pair of DJs will assess the state of women’s football. A cluster of festival representatives will go meta and ask whether or not festivals can affect positive change in the world (spoiler: they can).
The Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller is also making an appearance at Silver Hayes (though not for a public reenactment or revival of his Williams-Fairey Engineering Band). Deller is set join to Rough Trade’s Nina Hervé and Jonny Banger, the subversive t-shirt designer and social activist, for “Books are Weapons,” a talk that will discuss, most likely, books, though as the event flyer makes clear: “We’re not sure where this talk is going to go.”
The expanded scope of Silver Hayes, partly made possible by Arts Council funding, is one its arts producer Ben Price believes will continue over the next decade.
“We’re pushing the area’s programming beyond its electronic boundaries,” Price said in a statement. “Art, design, debate, and the visual culture that surrounds music will now be at core of our offering.”
Glastonbury has been hosted at Worthy Farm in Somerset since 1970 and attracts more than 200,000 people annually. The 2023 edition of the festival runs from June 21 to 25.