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Kite: In pictures

Kite: In pictures

Over the weekend we held Kite – our first festival of ideas and music – at Kirtlington Park in Oxfordshire. And, if we do say so ourselves, it was a glorious gathering

Super early bird tickets for Kite 2023 are on sale now – you only have until midnight July 3rd to bag tickets at 25% off.

Though Tortoise is a relatively small newsroom, nobody could ever accuse us of not thinking big. When we first announced Kite back in February 2020 we felt like climbers in the foothills of a colossal mountain. Not only were we trying to create an entirely new festival, but an entirely new format. Framed by Ciro Romano, the mastermind behind Love Supreme, as “the lovechild of Hay and Latitude”, Kite would offer festival-goers the chance to attend ThinkIns, discussions and workshops during the day – and then in the evening enjoy live music from some of the best artists in the world.

Two years, two postponements and one pandemic later, we’re pleased to say that Kite finally took off this weekend – and what a weekend. From ThinkIns on the crisis of democracy and the battle for truth to interviews with Tina Brown, Jarvis Cocker and David Olusoga, Saturday and Sunday were filled with plenty of lively conversations. For those looking for laughter there was comedy from the likes of Michelle de Swarte and Reginald D. Hunter – and we even had a go at writing our very own festival anthem with veteran songwriter Eg White. Then, as the sun began to set, we meandered from ideas-mode into music-mode, and were treated to sets from exciting newer acts like Self Esteem and Tom Misch and bonafide legends such as Mavis Staples and Grace Jones.

Here you’ll find a collection of photography taken over the course of the festival – if you were at Kite it will, we hope, serve as a reminder to cherish of the weekend, and give you a chance to spot yourself in the crowd. And if you weren’t there, it should give you a flavour of what we got up to – and a reason to block out 9-11 June 2023 in your diaries, when we’ll be ready to do it all over again. Super early bird tickets go on sale Thursday. The Kite will fly again.

See you next year.

Festival-goers were treated to glorious weather over the weekend

Michelle de Swarte performs her stand-up set at Kite

Artist and documentary-maker Ai Weiwei heads through the Kite arena towards his talk

We do have a laugh: festival-goers enjoy a giggle in the Pod watching stand-up comedy

Is rural life a relic worth saving? The answer, as Giles Whittell found out at this ThinkIn he chaired on Saturday morning, seems to be yes

Two world-renowned historians – William Dalrymple and David Olusoga – discuss why we fail to learn the lessons of history

Jarvis Cocker shows off his black bin bag filled with hoarded objects he found in his loft

Into the lion’s den: Andrew Neil and Rory Stewart head towards their interview

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 perform on Sunday evening

Zakia Sewell takes a break from hosting musical discussions on the Heavenly Stage

Alexi Mostrous, who reported Tortoise’s Sweet Bobby, and Jamie Bartlett, host of The Missing Cryptoqueen, teach festival-goers how to make a hit podcast

Mark St Andrew, Head of ThinkIns at Tortoise, MC-ing the main stage at Kite

Journalist and environmental activist George Monbiot took to the stage on Sunday for a discussion about what the climate crisis means for food production

Kite’s campers in their allocated living quarters for the weekend – in front of Kirtlington Park’s Palladian mansion
Podcaster and editor of The Queer Bible Jack Guinness interviews drag queen, author and model Bimini

Matt d’Ancona in conversation with satirist, writer and director Armando Iannucci

Festival-goers flock to the Town Hall venue for a particularly popular act
Sarah Cracknell, lead singer of Saint Etienne, performs on the Saturday at Kite

Armando Iannucci muses about the state of British politics with his signature wit

A tale of two writers: Elizabeth Day in conversation with Sathnam Sanghera

Rhythm and blues legend Mavis Staples wowed crowds on Saturday evening at Kite

James Harding in conversation with former Tatler, Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown on the royal family. She mentioned that, when he’s eventually crowned king, Charles would need Harry on his side

Grace Jones closes Saturday at Kite with a blistering set, culminating in her 1985 hit ‘Slave to the Rhythm’

Photographs by Tom Pilston, Dave Bebber, Joe Mee and Jon Jones for Tortoise