Programming 101

Gather at Timber Festival
Celebrate, collaborate, collude and carouse in a world of arts, crafts and enterprise rooted in the forest

The exciting bit – the festival programme! Here we’re looking at how to present a stimulating programme that delivers on the vision of your event.

Wild Rumpus programmes outdoor family arts events, but we think that it’s probably fairly universal to any event programme that it’s approached with a few key things in mind:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the event trying to achieve?
  • How will the programme sit within the landscape/venue?
  • Where can we find the performers/artists/practitioners that can help deliver a high quality programme?

Our programme for Timber has been drawn together from a number of places and with contributions from lots of people, all of whom have responded to the question ‘how can we use the arts to celebrate the transformational impact of trees and forests broadly and more specifically to tell the story of the National Forest’.

We want our programming to achieve a number of different things:

  • To celebrate local arts and culture
  • To draw in the best of arts and culture taking place nationally and internationally
  • To create the space where different thinkers, artists, scientists, academics and performers could come together to share their ideas, encourage new collaborations, risk taking and innovation
  • To draw on different art forms
  • To offer opportunities for audiences to participate and collaborate and to be able to contribute to the programme
  • To offer the opportunity to learn something new about forests, to take away new skills and new ideas
  • To show the forest and woods in a new light, transforming the way we look at the world around us
  • To represent the diversity of artists, performers and writers who are exploring this landscape
  • To tell the story of the economic, social, cultural and health and well-being benefits of trees and forests
  • To encourage us to live, work and play differently.

Oh and given that we’re talking about outdoor events we endlessly think about the weather implications on our programming. Do we have enough covered space? Can we relocate programming indoors or out depending on the conditions?

Our programme has been developed with the support of the following people/organisations:

National Forest Company

David Agnew from So It Is

Radio Producer Geoff Bird

Making Local Woods Work

Peter Wood Greenwood Days

Various other partners, sponsors and collaborators.

And we’ve also relied heavily on our knowledge of the outdoor arts sector. We try to get out and about to as many events as we can to see other people’s work. Here are some links for a few of the places we find inspiration:

Xtrax worth checking out for a brilliant directory of artists and performers working outdoors

Without Walls


A key thing that we keep coming back to is that we have to start somewhere. We can’t achieve everything in one event. By putting on events and evaluating them thoroughly, listening to audiences and stakeholder feedback we hope to continuously improve… this goes for programming as well as logistics and marketing.

By Cathryn Peach, Wild Rumpus

Our Woodland Culture blog is supported by Making Local Woods Work, an exciting pilot project working to help support and grow woodland social enterprises across the UK.