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Free, radically inclusive festival Tour de Moon is your new summer obsession

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Tour de Moon arrives on a specially-designed moon convoy. (Tour de Moon)

A new LGBTQ-inclusive festival that focuses on otherworldly experiences is popping up across England this summer.

Tour de Moon has launched as a free immersive festival celebrating the relationship between the Earth and moon while encouraging radical thought and imagination. Curious and original experiences focus on creativity, culture and nightlife. 

It’s in the midst of touring 13 different cities and towns throughout the UK, making a real statement as it arrives on a ‘moon convoy’ (including a full rotating moon and nine-metre replica of the National History Museum’s Archie the squid) for a mix of one-day events and four-day festivals. 

The brainchild of Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun, who’s also worked on the first International Space Opera with NASA as well as projects with Massive Attack and Pussy Riot, Tour de Moon aims to challenge our current state of living. With history repeating itself, the festival asks if we can find new ways of thinking and living to create alternative futures.

One of the ways in which it’s doing just that is through its ethos of supporting youths and nightlife workers. This includes a creative bursary scheme which is granting £1 million of bursaries to create the content of the festival. As well as this, Tour de Moon’s legacy plan aims to build federations and a cooperative of care to support communities who historically have been marginalised.

Tour De Moon
(Tour De Moon)
Tour De Moon
(Tour de Moon)

Tour de Moon intends to centre work from less heard and marginalised voices, with strong representation and participation from LGBTQ+ artists. Ninety individuals have come together to put the festival on with a commitment for decolonial practices, social and racial justice, and equity. Among those involved in organising is writer and LGBTQ+ activist Tea Uglow and Amy Redmond, co-founder of queer club night Sink the Pink. 

Parades, giant floats and interactive elements are part of the ongoing (and trippy) parades. Inside the festival, there’s a psychedelic inflatable playground as part of the Moon Games section created by astrophysicists and designed by NASA, plus live talks, performances, music and DJ sets in moon-themed disused buildings across the country.  

Moon Experiences is the part of the festival that centres on young talent, immersive performances, plays and unusual theatre. There’s also a series of 360 audio-visual sound baths with collaborations from music, dance and visual artists. Some of the experimentalists and composers featuring in the compositions include the likes of Kae Tempest, Jarvis Cocker and Yelfris Valdès.

Tour De Moon
(Tour de Moon)
(Tour de Moon)
(Tour de Moon)

For the Moon Cinema section, a collection of short films are played, toying with new concepts, aesthetics and messages about nightlife and youth countercultures. 

Meanwhile, Moon Live is the making of a brand new TV show which is filmed live at the festival — guests can take part by visiting the inflatable green screen stage as live sessions happen. 

Moon Music brings an otherworldly afterparty to the festival, with musical talents pitching in alien musical genres with Earth-Moon-Earth transmission technology and recordings of the galaxy for an ethereal intergenerational music project and club night.  

The first Tour de Moon festivals have already taken place in Leicester and Newcastle, but there’s still Southampton (10-13 June) to go, as well as a closing street party at Hackney’s Pedro Youth Club in London (16 June). 

Beyond its LGBTQ+ representation and practices, Tour de Moon is a wholly unique and spacey festival. We’re hooked. Click here to book your tickets for Southampton Tour de Moon, or head down to Pedro Youth Club in Hackney London on 16 June for a closing street party from 2-7pm.

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