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Pestival - South Bank Centre

Event preview

Pestival is a rare creature: an international, inter-disciplinary, community-led festival celebrating insects in art, and the art of being an insect. It takes place at the South Bank Centre from September 4 to September 6, 2009.

Events include insect-inspired comedy, music, ID walks, talks, workshops, experiments, fashion and a termite inspired architectural structure at the centre of Pestival 2009.

Eighty percent of creatures on earth are insects, the ‘pests’ without whom humans wouldn’t survive. Pestival not only celebrates the 100s of millions of years of evolution, which places insects at the heart of human existence, it also celebrates how insects shape our world, and how humans shape the world of insects, in both science and the arts.


Live From the Hive – Robyn Hitchcock and his Enlarged Friends: Diaphanously Yours – Friday, September 4.

Some very special friends join Robyn Hitchcock for this one-off gig. He performs a selection of insect-related songs with guests Graham Coxon (Blur), Green Gartside (Scritti Politti), Mike Heron (The Incredible String Band), performance poet and musician John Hegley, sound sculptor Max Eastley and, fresh from her recent performance at Royal Festival Hall with Laura Marling, Alessi’s Ark.

Followed by a post-show Bee Hive Ball in The Front Room.

Robin Ince and Guests: The Von Frisch Cabinet of Peculiarities – Saturday, September 5.

An evening of insect-inspired cabaret presented by Robin Ince, featuring Garth Marenghi, Gary Le Strange, Gawkagogo and Martin White and the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra.

Thomas Truax – Friday, September 4.

A nominee for Britain’s 2008 Indy Music Award for best live act, Truax sings about ants, the ozone layer and dogs howling at the moon. Admission free.

Cross Pollination – An Evening of Experimental Insect Music with Chris Watson – Sunday, September 6.

A performance of experimental insect music featuring a unique collaboration of voices and vibrations, curated by internationally acclaimed sound recordist Chris Watson.

One of the most highly regarded wildlife recording artists specialising in animals, habitats and atmospheres, Chris Watson is also a BAFTA award-winning force behind David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds, The Blue Planet and The Life of Mammals. His album Weather Report is named in The Guardian’s 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die list.


Vanishing of the Bees – Exclusive Preview – Saturday, September 5.

Filmed over two years in the US, UK, France and Australia, Vanishing of the Bees explores the collapse of the honey bee population and its greater meaning to humankind.

The Hellstrom Chronicle – Sunday, September 6.

A scientist explains how the savagery and efficiency of the insect world could result in their taking over of the earth in this scarily convincing 1971 Oscar-winning cult classic.


See and Bee-lieve

Explore insect-inspired art and installations by international artists.

Highlights include The Termite Pavilion, a walk-in structure inspired by a Namibian termite mound, human-sized chrysalises and The Horned Skullship, a hanging installation created from insect carcasses, plant roots and other natural materials.

Bug Lab

Take part in these workshops and create your own insect super power mask, learn The Art of Being a Maggot and discover Praying Mantis Kung Fu.

Meet the Creepy Crawlies

Visit the Urban Insect Garden to encourage nature back into the city, find out how we learn from insects in the Bio-Design Talk, and explore BeeCab, a working beehive housed inside a London taxi.

Bee Social

Pestival transforms The Front Room at Queen ‘Bee’ Hall into a giant bee hive, a place for all to learn through talks, discussions, advice from beekeepers, bee-inspired art and performances and interviews on the Larvae Stage.

For more information visit the Southbank Centre Website