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‘Festival of Ideas’ adds to Frome’s unique Festival recipe

FROME’S newest festival, the Generation Next festival, will host some of the world’s brightest thinkers during the week-long event this May. Coming hot on the heels of the acclaimed first Frome Folk Festival in February this year and just months before the highly renowned Frome Festival, in its 12th year in July, Frome has become a mecca for festivals of music, arts and other cultural events.“It’s quite amazing, the range of events and festivals organised in Frome,” mayor Nick White told Frome Times. “With the Frome Festival itself, the Folk Festival and now this new Generation Next Festival, it shows just what a great place Frome is.”By his own admission, Martin Bax had “no idea how to run a festival” when he launched the Frome Festival in 2001. Today, the ten-day festival continues to attract national and international stars, along with local talent at over 160 events in and around the town. It has been voted amongst the best five festivals in the country by The Times newspaper and Venue magazine voted it the best festival in the country after Glastonbury.Frome’s First Folk Festival, launched in February this year, included performances by many Radio Two Folk Award winners and nominees alongside local musicians, and has been highly acclaimed. The UK Festival Guide said, “considering this was the first Frome folk festival, the standard and variety of music and entertainment on offer was incredible.”Another new festival, the first Frome Blues Festival, will be held at the Cheese and Grain on 21st October with a day of music, food and bars. Other Frome festivals include the Discuss and Do Business Festival, which was held in February, the Frome Five Minute Film Festival, started in 1991, which is held in March, and the Frome Chocolate Festival, which will be held for the third year in November. 

Generation Next Festival

But next up in the Frome Festival calendar is the all-new week-long festival of ideas in the Generation Next Festival. The event will feature key-note speeches and discussions from some of the most in demand scientists, artists, philosophers, business people and media experts of our time. Highlights include appearances by the BBC’s ‘Human Planet’ producer Dale Templar; Cambridge scientist Professor John D Barrow, author of the bestselling ‘The Book of Universes and Theories of Everything’; inspirational speaker Tim Macartney, author of ‘Finding Earth, Finding Soul’; groundbreaking artist of Bjork-fame Ansuman Biswas and Professor Murray Shanahan, Professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College, London.Festival co-organiser Alistair Clay said Generation Next will light people’s imaginations and open their minds to new ways of seeing and thinking about the world in which they live.

Brightest and most exciting minds

Alistair said, “We wanted to create an event that would feature some of the most exciting and brightest minds of our time. “You only have to turn on the news these days to see that as a society we’re at a real crossroads. Our economic models don’t work any more and the environment is at a critical tipping point.“Now is the time to ask our best thinkers how they see the future and what they would do to put humanity on a better course. That’s why we’ve invited top scientists, artists, economists or philosophers to the event to share their wisdom.“Frome is the perfect town to host Generation Next as there’s such a spirit of independence and free thinking here. We’re also keen to attract a young crowd so tickets for the under 25s are half price – after all it is their generation which will feel the impact of the changes coming in the next five years.”The team behind Generation Next is made up of Luke Wilde, Richard Bright, Pippa Goldfinger, Luke Manning and Alistair Clay.The festival kicks off on Thursday 10th May with a talk by inspirational speaker Tim Macartney of the ‘Children’s Fire’- fame followed by different themed evenings.On 11th May the debate will focus on sustainable communities, 12th May will feature a day of discussions on consciousness, including a speech by world renowned mind expert Professor Max Velmans and 14th May will be an education-themed evening starring author William Bloom and groundbreaking headteacher Zoe Readhead.On 15th May the festival will ask the question, Capitalism, What Next? in a debate chaired by Guardian journalist John Harris and on 16th May esteemed scientist Professor John D Barrow will share his vision on the future of the cosmos.Then on 17th May a night of art will feature talks by former British Designer of the Year nominee Helen Storey and nature and technology fusion artist Simeon Nelson.Finally the festival will conclude on 18th May with a key note speech by BBC producer Dale Templar of ‘Human Planet’ fame and guest lecturer at the Royal Geographical Society.Alistair added, “The quality of the line up for this inaugural festival really has taken us all by surprise. There was such an appetite from the speakers to appear at Generation Next. All of them really loved the idea of creating a forum of ideas here in Frome. This should be a fantastic week and everyone is welcome!”Generation Next will be held at Rook Lane Arts, Rook Lane Chapel, Bath Street, Frome, (BA11 1DN) from 10th – 18th May. For more details and to book tickets go to Pictured: Generation Next team, left to right, Luke Wilde, Pippa Goldfinger, Richard Bright, Alistair Clay and Luke Manning.