News: Kite Festival Showcases Exciting And Innovative Music And Cultural Ideas 10-12 June 2022

Kirtlington Park by Nicholas Verstraeten
  • Music headliners Grace Jones, Tom Misch, TLC, Mavis Staples, Self Esteem
  • Ideasfrom Ai Weiwei, David Miliband, Bimini, Armando Iannucci, David Olusoga, Delia Smith, Jarvis Cocker
  • Comedy from Reginald D Hunter, David O’Doherty, Jen Brister, Janine Harouni, Christopher Bliss, Sara Barron 
  • Full programme of interactive ThinkIns and Lessons 
  • KITE Festival takes place in Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire on 10-12 June 2022  

Weekend / Day / Camping / Glamping & Palladian VIP Tickets available here

KITE is a brand-new festival that will celebrate ideas and music for the curious, inquisitive, and cultural minds. A never-before blend of unique artists, musicians, storytellers, and ideas that are highlighted against the backdrop of a classic British greenfield festival. KITE which marks an innovative intervention aimed at building a festival for the future, will be spread across seven unique stages in the glorious surroundings of Kirtlington Park, Oxon on 10-12 June.

Their pioneering music and ideas line-up consists of musicians, comedians, artists, writers, activists, and thinkers including household names like Grace Jones, Tom Misch, TLC, Mavis Staples, David Miliband, Jarvis Cocker and Delia Smith.

The music programme will present a line-up of exceptional artists with contemporary cultural resonance. Rather than being brought together under a genre, the line-up will be unified by an ability to move the audience’s head, heart, and hips. 

Grace Jones, off the back of her curation of Meltdown will lead the music programme, reinforcing her status as a true cultural icon, bringing her electrifying, funk-reggae artform to the festival. Joining her is R&B legend Mavis Staples, who has truly made a mark on history and through her music continues to inspire audiences around the world; iconic R&B girl-group TLC will make a rare UK appearance; multi-instrumentalist Tom Misch will bring his unique fusion of R&B, jazz, and soul beats; alternative folk singer-songwriter Kate Stables AKA This Is The Kit will captivate audiences with her beautiful harmonies and instrumentals; Seun Kuti, son of afrobeat godfather is performing with his father’s former band Egypt 80; The much-loved electric Brit-pop trio Saint Etienne will be taking the Saturday stage and bringing back their 90’s aesthetic; BBC Music Introducing’s Artist of the Year, Self-esteem is set to bring her unapologetic pop self to the KITE stage along with so many more outstanding musicians and artists. 

The ideas programme will ask provocative and fundamental questions in a highly polarised world. What binds us together? What drives us apart? World-class public figures, cultural icons, artists, and thinkers will delve into societal issues and concepts — both big and small — and explore them.

From Jarvis Cocker to William DalrympleTina Brown to Elizabeth Day, George Monbiot to David Olusoga, Rory Stewart to Sathnam Sanghera, an eclectic range of speakers will debate, teach, and converse with a diverse and highly engaged audience. Topics will range from the environment, society, technology, sport and political systems to identity, wealth, the arts, history, globalisation, and sexuality. For example, Ari Shapiro, award-winning journalist, and host of NPR’s All Things Considered – which is the most listened to radio news programme in the US – will interrogate the implications of Afghanistan and Ukraine on the future of foreign policy with Rory Stewart and Yalda Hakim. No stone will go unturned, and no format will be left unexplored as long-form interviews and keynotes will sit side by side with workshops and smaller group discussions, panels, debates, and KITE lessons. 

The Kite line up includesone of the world’s most famous artists and activists and one of the architects of Chinese modernism Ai Weiwei. The visual artist is sure to be a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression in what promises to be a fascinating discussion accompanied with actor and art enthusiast Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament for their wonderfully unpretentious hit podcast Talk Art.

The festival of the curious and artistic minds will also be joined by globally renowned drag performer, model, and writer Bimini. After a trailblazing run on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Bimini has authored ‘Release the Beast’, an instruction manual for self-love taking note and reference from queer history to offer a moving template for community, growth, and authenticity. Bimini will be joined in conversation with British writer and model Jack Guinness who is noted for founding the Queer Bible, a site promoting LGBTQ+ history.

Amid the multiple stages, KITE will host an electric array of activity on The Skylark Social Stage. Watch the anarchic comedy cabaret act Blow My Wig, meet the poet Gboyega Odbunjo, listen to acclaimed singer songwriter Bianca Rose and the KITE Choir and dance to all types of feel-good music from every corner of the world with Everybody Loves to Boogie and Shakara Soul. This will be a space where one can meet the authors, get a book signed, search for that elusive record or just enjoy a coffee.

Tortoise Media will be featuring their award-winning, unique ThinkIn format to KITE. These informal, unscripted conversations will give festivalgoers the opportunity to debate with invited speakers and journalists, live. ThinkIns announced so far include: 

  • Tortoise editor and author Matt d’Ancona, Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran, Jon Alexander author of Citizens on Can democracy save itself? They will reflect on just how precious democracy is, especially in the light of the recent tragic war in Ukraine. 
  • Sure to be popular with the Cotswold locals will be Tortoise editor Giles Whittell’s conversation with chef Mark Hix, organic food grower and writer Claire Ratinon and Rebecca Wrigley of Rewilding Britain debating Is rural life a relic worth saving?
  • Emily Benn, leader of the Women’s Equality Party Mandu Reid and former MP Luciana Berger debate Are female politicians an endangered species? 
  • British entrepreneur and writer Julia Hobsbawm, and Tortoise journalist Liz Moseley will take a closer look at office culture and its future post-pandemic in The staff are revolting: is the office really dead? 
  • Thomas Harding, author of White Debt and Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland, will tackle the big reparations question, asking Can white debt can ever be repaid?
Eg White

Festivalgoers at KITE 2022 will get the opportunity to learn new skills from some of the country’s brightest creative talent in a series of highly engaging and accessible KITE Lessons

  • How to write a song with Ivor Novello winning songwriter Eg White
  • How to be a poet withmulti-award winning British-born Cypriot poet Anthony Anaxagorou 
  • How to tell a joke with award-winning comedy writer Grainne Maguire 
  • How to draw with artist Ali Foxon
  • Andfor those who are still baffled by “non-fungible tokens” and cryptocurrency will enjoy Tortoise’s tech reporter Luke Gbedemah on NFTs WTF? and comedian and cryptocurrency expert Sunil Patel in Crypto for Idiots.

There will be a wonderful range of street food with all tastes catered for from meat, vegan, gluten and dairy free and from the four corners of the globe; there will be homemade paella at Paelleria, delicious free-range duck from The Duck Shed, delightful Cornish fish options from Thyme and Tide, and vegetarian whole food from Wholefood Heaven, while Kolkati will provide flavour sensations discovered on the streets of India. Tasty Italian food will be on offer with pizzas and Sicilan delights from Arancina, and fresh pasta options from The Cooking Cooks. There will be Vietnamese street food by Hanoi Kitchen, and Sushi from Happy Maki. Club Mexicana will offer inauthentic vegan Mexican food and Get Loaded Burgers and Fries will be serving up lean beef gluten free patties on artisan brioche buns from the famous West Hobb House Bakery which is just down the road from KITE.

KITE offers Weekend, Day, Glamping, and Premium tickets in an experience that is accessible to all ages. Whilst camping is not for everyone, KITE’s partners FESTICKET will provide cosy B&B or nearby hotels. Also providing delicious street food from sweet to savoury, suitable for all dietary needs. For those that want a VIP luxury experience, KITE offer the Palladian VIP option that helps you escape from the excitement and relax in the stunning setting of the Grade I listed Palladian house and gardens of Kirtlington Park. 

KITE presents the ideal festival for deliberations that look to the future while acknowledging the past.

Find out more via the festival’s Website or Facebook

Weekend / Day / Camping / Glamping & Palladian VIP Tickets available here

Full list of artists 


Grace Jones / TLC / Tom Misch / Mavis Staples / Self Esteem / Saint Etienne / This Is the Kit / Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 / Nubiyan Twist / Flamingods / Mermaid Chunky / Jelly Cleaver / Plumm / Lunch Special / Amy Gadiaga 

Plus Heavenly Presents:

Black Country, New Road / Confidence Man / The Orielles / Gwenno / Katy J Pearson / Mattiel / Fran Lobo / OneDa / Shirley Collins + Matthew Shaw + Broadside Hacks: America Over the Water / Jude Rogers: The Sound Of Being Human: How Music Shapes Our Lives- in conversation with Zakia Sewell / Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton in conversation with Zakia Sewell  / Paper Cuts meets Believe in Magic: Ted Kessler in conversation with Robin Turner / Jonny Trunk Pop Quiz

Ideas presented by Tortoise Media:

Ai Weiwei talks to Russell Tovey and Robert Diament / Azeem Azhar on keeping up with technology / Minnie Driver on her life and career / Andrew Neil’s new podcast The Backstory / Richard Dawkins on defying gravity / Delia Smith / William Dalrymple and David Olusoga on the end of history / Bimini in conversation with Jack Guinness / Jarvis Cocker / David Miliband on crisis leadership / Rory Stewart on war and justice / Elizabeth Day with Sathnam Sanghera / Tina Brown on the Royal family / Armando Iannucci lets rip on Brexit and Covid / George Monbiot kicks up a stink / Devi Sridhar on pandemic prevention / Mandu Reid on optimism and feminist resistance / Julia Hobsbawm on the future of work / Sweet Bobby Live / Plus Matt d’Ancona / Yalda Hakim / Jon Alexander & Ece Temelkuran on the future of democracy | Ari Shapiro and more to be announced 


Can democracy save itself? with Tortoise editor and author Matt d’Ancona, Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran, Jon Alexander, Laura Osborne / Is rural life a relic worth saving? with chef Mark Hix, organic food grower and writer Claire Ratinon and Rebecca Wrigley of Rewilding Britain / Are female politicians an endangered species? with Emily Benn, Mandu Reid and Luciana Berger / The staff are revolting: is the office really dead? with Julia Hobsbawn, and Tortoise editor Liz Moseley 


How to be a poet with Anthony Anaxagorou / How to write a song with Eg White / How to write a joke with Grainne Maguire / How to draw with Ali Foxon / NFTs WTF? with Luke Gbedemah / Crypto for Idiots with Sunil Patel


Reginald D Hunter / David O’Doherty / Jen Brister / Janine Harouni / Christopher Bliss / Sara Barron / Michelle de Swarte 

Skylark Social and Bookshop:

Blow My Wig Comedy Cabaret / Gboyega Odbunajo / Lewis Blomfield / Rhys Slade Jones / Project Dreaming / Bianca Rose / Kite Choir / Everybody Loves to Boogie / None More Records / Shakara Soul

Weekend / Day / Camping / Glamping & Palladian VIP Tickets available here

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