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Immersive woodland folk music

Catch this folk gig with a difference both about and set in woodland

Dark nights getting you down? Embrace them with Tree and Wood, a beautifully atmospheric immersion in woodland and music at Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens that is on as part of Horsham District Year of Culture.

It’s an unusual event, part folk gig, part Fringe-style show combining image, sound, light and song and it makes full use of the short evenings.

Tree and Wood before the dark evenings set in

I joined the audience for a performance, weaving down through the woods (wellies advised after the recent deluge) and gathering round a fire pit nursing hot chocolate and mulled wine from the cafe. From here we were led onto to a natural clearing where we sat on log benches topped with spongy mats we’d be handed.

The natural stage was so dark that the different elements of the action were able to unfold without forewarning. A woman singing from the top a ladder, a projection on a hedge, a singer in front of a previously unseen cabin and a whole tented woodworking workshop sprang up before our eyes.

For the most part the show is folk singing – think a kind of tree-hugging Mumford and Sons – with a particularly strong female singer. Though it wasn’t possible to catch all the words most songs were about trees – with a bit of history about war and ship building thrown in. There’s a clever, quite comic sequence where saws are used as musical instruments, cutting rhythmically through logs or being hit like a hanging xylophone.

The lighting was slick – I particularly loved a projection effect of trees growing at the end. The background sound was also  beautiful and melded with the genuine night sounds of Leonardslee – ducks quacking were local, cicadas were an effect. The smell of the woods too added to the sense of place.

Tree and Wood runs at Leonardslee Gardens daily until Sat 2 Nov. Tickets are £15 (concessions £12.50).

Do wrap up warm and bear in mind that layers fine for walking around in may not be adequate for sitting still in for an hour. You might also want to bring a torch or have your phone light to hand for negotiating the paths to and from the performance area. There is tree cover over the seating but if rain is forecast you’ll need to bring a waterproof.


Find more ideas here


2 comments on “Immersive woodland folk music”

  • Alexis Harrison November 6, 2019

    We took our ten year old son to this event on Halloween, and it was absolutely magical! The review above describes the performance perfectly, but for us it was the (these days rare) sense of being taken from this world and transported into a completely different time. (And there was very little alcohol in the expensive mulled wine on the way in!) The whole experience felt like a brief escape from the mad times we live in and a reminder of a simpler life more connected to nature. I found myself hypnotised by the percussive almost tribal beats of the woodworking tools and saws. Afterwards my son asked me what I thought it was all about, but summed it himself much more eloquently: “Trees have always looked after us, but now it is our time to look after them”.

    • debbieward November 7, 2019

      So glad to hear you had a good time. There really was something other-wordly about it. Lovely sentiment about our turn to look after the trees.


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