About

Pestival are creators of insect eco-entertainment, showcasing the ingenuity of insects through arts and culture.

‘The Glastonbury of the natural world’

Lucy Siegle, Guardian.

Who are we?

Pestival are creators of insect eco-entertainment, showcasing the ingenuity of insects through arts and culture. Winners of The Observer Ethical Awards 2010: Conservation.

Our mission is to highlight the vital symbiotic relationship between human and insect by placing the ‘little guys’ at the heart of our lives and culture. In so doing, Pestival aims to inspire a new generation of ambassadors to a new way of thinking – and acting – in the greater interest of our shared environment.

Mission

Pestival believes insects are critical to human life on Earth. With over a million insect species, they are the most diverse group of animals on Earth. And yet insects are frequently misunderstood, reviled or, at best, ignored by the majority of the human population. Pestival has set out to challenge existing stereotypes about insects and to give them their rightful place, for good and bad (vectors and pollinators), in our collective cultural consciousness.

Overview

Pestival celebrates the art of being an insect through multi-platform events and ideas which examine insect-human interactivity in bioscience via contemporary art, cinema, music and comedy as well as direct scientific demonstration and educational projects.

Pestival says “Insectes sans frontières”.

History

Conceived in 2004, Pestival began when inspiration struck founder Bridget Nicholls during a scientific insect film competition in the French Pyrenees. She found herself surrounded by villagers dressed up as insects, ‘grandmothers with wings, kids wearing praying mantis masks, and a few exuberant youths on grasshopper stilts .. swarming around the plaza’. With that, Pestival was born.

“I knew I had to put on an insect arts festival – a festival that celebrates the importance of insects. Without insects, we wouldn’t be here.” Bridget Nicholls

Pestival 2006 was held at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, London. Over 10,000 people attended. It was co-produced along with Mark Pilkington.

Observer Ethical Awards Ceremony at the V&A Victoria and Albert Museum Thursday 10th June 2010

Pestival 2009 was held at the Southbank Centre in London. With 200,000 people attending over three days, it had over 50 free interactive events and numerous experts at the cutting edge of art and science, featuring Blur’s Graham Coxon, Robyn Hitchcock and the Softroom Architect’s iconic Termite Pavillion.

Over 10 million people were reached in media coverage in 23 countries and Pestival went on to win the Observer Ethical Award for Conservation and raised just under £2, 000 000 in funding from the Wellcome Trust. 

Since then Pestival held a three year residency at ZSL London Zoo, created and launched a musical event for the Cultural Olympiad, created a season of events called ‘Who’s The Pest’ across the Wellcome Collection and are now working with partners and collaborators on our next big Pestival 2020.

Find out more

Discover more about the Pestival movement in Bridget Nicholls’ interview, ‘Five Minutes With Our Founder’.

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