Aespia is a 24 hour celebration of art and escapism.
You are taken away on blanked-out coaches and shuttle buses to a secret woodland location.
Aespia is about creativity and discovering a meaningful connection to the things and beings that surround you - it is a no phones festival, where you leave your reality behind and immerse yourself in an alternate world.
Before you enter the woods, you will pass through 'limbo', where you drop off your bags, change into your art overalls, and get ready to create a piece of live, accumulative art.
The woods are transformed into an engaging outdoor gallery by our hugely talented team of artists, architects and musicians. Expect stunning sculptures, giant paintings, interactive installations, miniature exhibitions hidden within the trees, impromptu performances and much, much more. A giant three-dimensional canvas will be created for you to explore, adapt and enjoy.
Aespia is special because we invite YOU to become the artists. We provide the materials, atmosphere and backdrop - you make your mark.
Aespia is split into 5 worlds; all of which have their own identity; all captivating and majestic in their own right.
There is no main stage; no main feature; no main area - instead you’ll find yourself wandering in and out of forest communities that are envisioned, designed, built and run by collectives who live in the woods for the month of August, collaborating, dreaming and sharing.
Within these worlds, you’ll be immersed in live art, music, performance and movement; invited to participate in eclectic creative activities run by brilliantly talented teachers; and spoiled by bespoke bars and food stalls that compliment the feel and atmosphere of the area.
Each world is carefully designed to evoke different emotions and ease you into different states of mind; a sensory journey, catering to your every need. Whether you’re in the mood for dancing to infectious music; frolicking between installations, discovering the secrets of the Aespian woods; or connecting with like-minded creatives inside cosy dens; you’ll discover a sense of belonging in one - if not all - of the worlds.
Aespia is delighted to introduce its worlds: The Shack; Flow State; Discofunk; Women's Ginstitute and Greenstone. For concepts, info and images, please scroll down...
Aespia is pleased to welcome The Shack back to the woods.
The Shack brings together music, fun, art, film and partying, all under one tin roof.
Using found and discarded wood, videos and music; it gives them a new life in the form of an installation. From the wood frame to the videos and music being projected, The Shack reinterprets it all in a fun and immersive experience.
Hidden in a secluded, sheltered nook of the woods, The Shack blends into its surroundings. The music policy is strictly anything goes: from Jungle to Rock to House to Hip Hop to Film Score; no 2 DJ sets are alike.
Tailor-made videos play on a video screen built into a beautifully painted piano by British artist David Shillinglaw; projection screens hang from the tree canopy; a bespoke quality sound system ensures the vibes flow all night long.
As much an art installation as a party, The Shack refuses to be classified or defined.
If you are yet to experience the wonders of The Shack, make sure you stumble across it this year.
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The Shack is designed, built and hosted by Arlen. Arlen has spent the last 25 years DJ'ing, producing music and making films. The Shack is a culmination of his favourite films, music and art. Spanning multiple genres such as electronic music, DJ culture, digital film making and installation construction, The Shack is his vehicle for showcasing the best these disciplines have to offer.
Aespia is proud to announce Flow State: your interactive forest lounge.
Flow State is a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus: ‘the complete absorption in what one does’.
Jazz is the ultimate Flow State genre, where musicians submerge themselves in freeform music, scatting and improvising. Jazz and jazz-fusion sets play a significant role in setting the tone of Flow State, as well as electronic, classic, hip-hop, funk, soul, afrobeat, world and breakbeat.
Immerse yourself in creative, intuitive activities; relax into the comforts of these archipelagic dens; meet and connect with participants; find your Flow State.
Participative activities range from: painting, drawing and body art; percussion, singing and dancing; meditating, discussions and yoga; board games and cards games; making dream-catchers, macrame and jewellery.
Flow State is a transformative area that evolves with the rhythm of the participants. The set shifts; the decoration accumulates; the atmosphere blossoms.
Grab a drink, melt into the music, take the pace off, and enjoy the wonders of Flow State deep in the Aespian woods.
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Flow State is envisioned and run by Jack and Mika. As ardent music and festival lovers, and all-embracing-mellow-warm-ambiance connoisseurs, they hope to share their world with those who wish to slip into a dream-like state and create magic.
Want to know more about the curators and hosts of Flow State and what you can expect to find in their world? Read the full interview here...
Aespia is thrilled to welcome back - for the third year running - its dearest and most fabulous friends, Discofunk.
Discofunk started as a gathering in a tiny Kentish Town basement for a bunch of best mates. Over the last few years it has flourished into a fully fledged posse of likeminded DJs, musos and party people, centred around quality music and disco culture.
Discofunk is a platform that celebrates all walks of the genre, from old school glam to the more modern, deeper sound. The Discofunk Allstars are also known for a strong identity that incorporates jazz, soul and world-infused house music.
Discofunk is more than the music; it’s a message. While the mixes online showcase their sound, the energy can only truly be felt during their live sets.
You know when you've stepped into Discofunk's world, with its infectious vibe and undeniable love for good times. lust and glitter linger in the air as knowing looks are exchanged and marathon dance-offs are accomplished.
This unquestionable passion is evident when Discofunk Head Honchos, FUNKWISE and CORDZ, take to the stage. At Aespia's Bestival 2016 woodland takeover, the pair played B2B for 15 hours.
Their message is one of perpetuating only positive energy; pursuing music as a passion over money, and encouraging people to ‘do what they love and love what they do’.
Aespia has a plethora of exquisite art and music treats waiting for you in the woods but if you feel like dancing the whole night away in Discofunk's world, well, we wouldn't blame you...
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Discofunk is run by Adam and Rory.
A steadily growing gang, the Discofunk Allstars have mastered Gottwood, 'Labyrinth' at Secret Garden Party, Snowbombing, Craft Beer Rising and a fine selection of London bars and clubs.
They are currently hosting a fortnightly takeover at the Bermondsey Yard Cafe in South East London and have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
Aespia is delighted - and very proud - to present the debut of the Women's Ginstitute.
Women are often massively underrepresented in the events world. Whether at director's level, in the line-ups, or the build crew; women tend to make up a smaller proportion of the team. This imbalance absolutely does not exemplify the wonders of women’s contribution to the industry.
In a quest to support the women already smashing it, and to invite and encourage more women to sign up, Aespia welcomes everyone <of all genders> to party in this inclusive, supportive and celebratory - female-heavily designed, built and performed - area of the festival.
Aespia’s founder and director is a woman; many women make up the bulk of the crew; the audience tends to be primarily female; and the desire is to always support women in the running, and contents, of the festival. The Women’s Ginstitute embodies this sentiment in true festival form and with pure artistic flair.
The Women’s Ginstitute is by no means exclusive to women, nor is it an attempt to intimidate or shun those who do not identify as women: it is a fun, welcoming celebration of women in the arts and events industries, with a focus on hiring a female-heavy team to realise it.
Welcome to the Women’s Ginstitute: a ‘roaring 1920s’ themed space with an abundance of delicious gin based drinks; immersive performance; infectious party music; fancy dress and interactive games.
Drenched in art deco delights and an undeniable atmospheric buzz, the Women’s Ginstitute offers a party within a party, where women’s contribution to the arts and events industries is celebrated in all its glory.
Aespia is very excited to welcome the Greenstone gang back to the woods.
Offering a very different genre and experience to the other Aespian worlds, Greenstone is a family of exceptionally talented emerging bands. The atmosphere is so welcoming and inclusive, you'll find yourself singing along to lyrics you don't know and dancing on the straw bales with band members as your new best friends.
Greenstone is a music festival, live night and alternative music scene. They celebrate alternative, innovative music that gives you goosebumps. They have been running around London with their guitars in hand and lungs at the ready before even titling themselves.
"The atmosphere and music of the Greenstone Stage buzzed with familiarity."
- NME -
"The musical highlight of Aespia was undeniably the Greenstone stage... Throughout the day, hosts of unsigned and unknown bands took to the stage, each of which was better than the last and the majority of whom seemed to be firm friends, swapping instruments and occasionally members as the day went on. As midnight came and went, the calibre of bands was kicked up even more with Corinthians setting the bar high, only for it to be vaulted by the raucous HOO HAs and chaotic Swedes, Francobollo, who closed the stage at around three AM by having Greenstone founder Jay sing the final bars of their departing song as members of MOHIT, the HOO HAs and god knows who else piled in."
- Notion Magazine -
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Greenstone is run by musician and poet, Amaroun, who (through Greenstone) shares her favourite bands on festival stages across the UK and every other year ventures to the countryside in Northamptonshire, herding her talented bunch of emerging bands, to showcase Greenstone festival.