The UK’s notorious ‘Festival of Brexit’ has been rebranded as Unboxed and has subsequently revealed details on its 2022 event. The much-criticised festival – first proposed by then UK Prime Minister Theresa May – describes itself as a showcase for “the UK’s unique strengths in creativity and innovation” after leaving the European Union – with comparisons being made to the 1951 Festival of Britain.
While critics of the event have consistently noted the dizzying £120m cost of the festival, it was given the green light by Boris Johnson when he came to power. Subsequently, the organisers have taken numerous steps forward in the planning process, calling for “daring, new and popular” ideas to unite the fractured nation.
Unboxed, which will take place in March next year, will feature a range of attractions, including a sculpture trail of the solar system in Northern Ireland, an immersive 3D experience in South London, and a decommissioned offshore platform from the North Sea in Weston-super-Mare. I can’t say that last one sounds particularly thrilling – maybe it’s just me.
Martin Green, the festival’s Chief Creative Director said in a statement: “Unboxed represents an unprecedented and timely opportunity for people to come together across the UK and beyond and take part in awe-inspiring projects that speak to who we are and explore the ideas that will define our futures.”
A few months ago, the festival’s first attraction was revealed, promising what has been described as a “celebration of the British weather,” which I’m assuming will require attendees to pack an umbrella. Now, organisers have claimed that the event is no longer a celebration of Brexit, but, as former Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden put it, a collection of “ten showstopper projects that will wow audiences in towns and cities right across the country, and show off the UK and its creative genius to the world”.
News of the rebranded festival comes at a time when the impact of Brexit is being felt in a variety of sectors, including the music industry. It was recently revealed that new visa rules in Spain mean that many UK artists can no longer afford to play there. There has been a great deal of criticism from across the music industry after the government put the future of touring for UK artists in jeopardy following the Brexit deal. As of yet, there is still a big question mark over the feasibility of touring post-Brexit, especially for emerging artists.