Kent’s LeeFest, which literally began in organiser Lee Denny’s back garden, is evolving and rebranding into a new, immersive event entitled Neverworld for 2018.
The 5,000-capacity Neverworld will host three realms and 11 stages, and will showcase 250 artists. Festival-goers will be encouraged to join one of three tribes - The Pirates, The Mermaids or The Lost Boys - before embarking on an adventure “designed to encourage a childlike sense of exploration and discovery”.
The event will take place at John Darlings Farm in Wilderness Lane from August 2-5.
“The story of LeeFest and its origins in my back garden all those years ago was the seed for something incredible, but it’s time for the next chapter,” said Denny. “When we started this crazy adventure we did so by pushing personal boundaries and creating something awesome for our friends. However, now the story is much bigger than us.
“As the LeeFest community has snowballed, so have our ambitions. Instead of just a festival, we want to build a whole new world for our community to thrive in - a world that encourages growth and creativity. Discover your inner Pirate, Mermaid or Lost Boy. Welcome to Neverworld; a place you never have to grow old!”??
The Neverwoods will host fresh music talent in The Fortress and The Circus, alongside a workshop and family programme in The Native Encampment. Mermaids Lagoon will deliver garage, house and disco in a sun drenched 1980's Miami Setting featuring 100 tons of sand on The Beach and a 24-hour bar The Rainbow Rooms.
Speaking to Music Week last year, Denny explained the genesis of the event in 2006. “My parents went on holiday and banned me from having a house party. Of course, being 16 years old at the time, I thought it would be genius - and we would get away with it - if we were to have a festival in the garden. But it wasn’t genius, we didn’t get away with it and we did get grounded.”
His efforts were not in vain however. “We put on loads of cool local bands along with local comedians and poets, and had a brilliant time,” he said. “We had 150 people there and though before the event, in my mind, it was just a one-off, as soon had as people had gone home, the overwhelming feeling was, We should do that again - and we should do it bigger and better.”