We were so sad to miss the Festival’s Opening Weekend (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June} which was an in-depth look at the seven types of love with talks, debates, workshops, readings and performances. Highlights included writer and founding faculty member of The School of Life, Roman Krznaric, talking about the Different Varieties of Love; Dr Bettany Hughes and Professor Angie Hobbs discussing the nature and power of erotic love; and a Flirtology workshop with social social anthropologist Jean Smith.
Dr Bettany Hughes, said: “I’m fascinated by the millennia-long history of the power of love from the Bronze Age to the present day. We can learn a huge amount from the Ancient Greeks and in particular, Socrates. For him, Love has a purpose. It is the life force, the desire to do, to be, to think. It is the thing that makes us feel great about the world, and therefore makes us be great in it.”
The whole site has been transformed with love-themed exhibitions and installations including Sliding Gate, a series of play slides by Sean Griffiths of Modern Architect (previously of architecture firm FAT), which symbolise the ups and downs of family life and the strong bonds between families; Love Flags by Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner using the seven colours of the rainbow, signifying the peace and gay pride movements, which fly from the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall roofs, and the Jubilee Gardens flagpole; the Tunnel of Love by disability arts organisation Heart n Soul, a multi-media and sensory installation with vibrating floors, mirrors, love-songs soundtrack, which pays homage to the cheeky, flirty Tunnels of Love of yesteryear; Siege Weapons Of Love by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich, giant bright pink inflatable cannons and a tank inviting visitors to make love not war, which is part of their Friendly Frontier Peace Campaign; and Pragma Tree: Growing Together, a playful installation by The Edible Bus Stop including a large tree, symbolising Pragma, a love that is enduring, patient and strong, and seating.
Due to recent cancellations the glorious Spains Hall in Fitchingfield, Essex currently has two available Saturdays in August. If you are planning a wedding in that area, this stunning Elizabethan Hall set in the most beautiful grounds, must be seen!