Mission & Story
"Insectes Sans Frontières"
Pestival aims to initiate a cultural shift in the way people think, moving them towards a more integrated way of looking at the natural world. Pestival's lasting legacy is to forge new working relationships between disciplines, communities and species. Pestival says "Insectes Sans Frontières".
Pestival believes insects are critical to human life on Earth. They are by far the most diverse group of animals on Earth, with over a million species documented. 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.
- To offer a new working model that functions on a variety of social, civic and ethical levels, moving freely between local, national and international contexts, in a populist and educational way.
- To fuse the disciplines of science and art through the understanding of insects.
- To unite people in action and thought, enabling individuals and communities to come together on culturally relevant issues across international boundaries.
The story so far...
Pestival is a movement
It hatched back in 2004 after visiting an insect film festival called FIFI in the Pyrenees. Pestival is a celebration of life in all its forms.
Pestival reconnects us with our most important social network, our planet, and does it in a simple, effective and entertaining fashion. No preaching, no lecturing, just serious science and culture delivered in a fun way. Pestival uses art, entertainment and science to encourage a greater understanding of the natural world.
Pestival 2006 - The first!
Pestival 2006, held at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, south London, was a great success. Over 10,000 people came from all walks of life to celebrate these little guys who run the earth. Something had been hatched.
Pestival at London's Southbank Centre in 2009
Pestival 2009 at the Southbank Centre was a tremendous success. Visitor numbers reached 200,000 - a 20-fold increase on Pestival 2006. It featured 50 free interactive events and numerous experts at the cutting edge of art and science, and was supported by over 260 volunteers. Over 10 million people worldwide were reached by Pestival’s press campaign. Media coverage included all broadsheet newspapers, high art and serious science journals, music and culture magazines, Time Out, ITV News and BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme.
In addition there was international press coverage including The New York Times and Nippon TV. BBC London Weather even broadcast their TV report live from inside the Termite Pavilion.
Of the 10% of visitors surveyed, 98% had changed their view of insects and their importance to the health of the planet and our daily lives. Insects had gone high profile! It became known as the "Glastonbury of the natural world".
Insects and the global human community
The great thing about insects is they are universal, you find them nearly everywhere around the world. So they are a cool way to connect to local communities. We at Pestival say "Insectes Sans Frontières". Thus the next logical step was to take Pestival to Brazil - the home of the Amazon, the pulsing heart of insect life.
Pestival goes global
From your first gnat bite to the fact they eat you when you die, insects are a fascinating inspiration. We realise now that George Orwell nearly got it right, but in fact it should be 'Four legs good. Six legs... better.'