Caught by the River

The International Festival of Apathy, Bristol 2016

Richard King | 10th May 2016


Words: Richard King

Every year our friend and Caught by the River collaborator Nick Hand holds a Festival of Print next to his wonderful Letter Press in Bristol. A conversation between Nick, Stanley Donwood and myself led to the idea of a Festival of Apathy; we realised we were fairly indifferent about feeling ‘passionate’ about things such as coffee, bread and cycling clothes. We also sensed the creative process, often a frustrating, draining but rewarding experience had been hijacked by some as a force for dubious forms of boosterism, in order to make fairly uninteresting things like property speculation and fruit appear exciting.

Despite all this, we grew animated at the thought of a celebration of feeling non-plussed, of categorically not being down with the programme. (We were holding this conversation in a pub).

Hence this week we launch the International Festival of Apathy, Bristol 2016, a gathering of and for the indolent, an opportunity to get together, sit down and wonder what it’s all about.

Highlights include a debate about the housing crisis with Dawn Foster, Owen Hatherley and Emma Jackson; a debate about the EU referendum with Gruff Rhys and John Harris conducted through the prism of, and including commentary on, the 2004 Portugal v Greece Euro final; the premier of Broadmead the Movie a new film by Stanley Donwood and Mat Consume; Beak> deciding on the night whether they might or might not improvise a live soundtrack to a motivational film; a literary salon with Jason Hazeley discussing his bestselling Ladybird Book of the Hangover and a great deal more.

We have brewed our own signature cider for the festival – The Bristol Free Press – and will be serving beer from the excellent Moor Beer Company of Bristol on draft.

And we have a great sound system.

The festival runs for twelve days from Fri 13th (naturally) May until Wed 25th May at Centrespace, 6 Leonard Lane, Bristol BS1

The full programme is here, there is also an accompanying exhibition running throughout the festival.

Tickets are available from The Bristol Ticket Shop and from Centrespace.