Pestival the Festival

One huge insect celebration

Curator: Bridget Nicholls | Partner: Robin Ince, Graham Coxon, Bob and Roberta Smith, Chris Watson, Softroom Architects, Insect Circus Museum | Sponsor: Wellcome Collection

Pestival at The Southbank

September 4-6, 2009

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 Ince and the Softroom Architect’s iconic Termite Pavilion.

The Pestival 2009 map.

Insect as muse

The four day festival of events was a collaboration between scientists, thinkers, artists, performers and musicians in a thorough exploration of the insect world.

From swarm theory, architecture and extending life to political thinking and the insect as muse, great minds got to grips with the insect contributions to everything from social insects to solitary wasps.
“Insects are critical to human life on Earth” Pestival Founder and Director, Bridget Nicholls.

Royal Pestival Hall

“With over a million insect species, they are the most diverse group of animals on Earth. And yet insects are frequently misunderstood, reviled or ignored by the majority of the human population. Pestival will challenge stereotypes about insects and give them their rightful place, for good and
bad, in our collective cultural consciousness.”

Throughout the festivities, the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall were renamed the Royal Pestival Hall and the Queen Bee Hall. Further highlights included a large termite-inspired structure (a six meter cube in Southbank Square), a Beecab – a London Taxi in the form of a furry bumblebee with working beehive in the front seat, an insect Zoo and the Insect Circus Museum.

The ancient art of Mantis T’ai Chi, Workshop at Pestival 2009

Bee chorus

The insect theme stretched across the arts with a night of comedy with Robyn Ince and The Von Frisch Cabinet of Peculiarities and Cross Pollination – an evening of experimental insect music with Chris Watson and a Bee Symphony with the Southbank Centre’s very own bees. Watch Wellcome Trust’s video for Pestival 2009 and find out more about the spectacular event.


"A rare and wonderful celebration of the creepy crawly"

Pestival 2009 | The Independent