Astronomer Royal to join Environmental Festival in forest

Scotland’s Astronomer Royal, Professor John Brown, will join chilled out listeners in The Dark Skies Lounge – a special spot deep in the forest where people can hear 24 hours of previously unreleased music by hundreds of musicians from all round the world.

The music will be broadcast by a temporary radio station curated by local music producer, Frenchbloke, called Dark Outside FM and can only be received within the Galloway Forest around the Murray’s Monument obelisk.

Robbie Coleman, one of the artists behind the project, said: “One of the fantastic features of the forest is that there is almost no light pollution so, on a clear night there are amazing views of the stars.

“So it’s great to have Scotland’s Astronomer Royal along to tell people about the night sky above them. He’s also an excellent magician and will be performing tricks while he talks about time and the universe – so it should be a very unusual way to spend a Saturday night.”

Elsewhere a banner created by Dutch environmental artists Pat Van Boeckel and Karin Van Der Molen will appear which teasingly talks of the “total restoration” of Anwoth Kirk – a long-roofless ruin made famous by the Wicker Man film.

Pat and Karin are creating a work called Gimme Shelter, which will involve an audio-visual display projected on large screens where the kirk roof once was. It explores sustainability and how each generation must make preparations for the next.

It uses the example of a restoration of Anwoth Kirk, and what this would demand from the environment – including hundreds of years of growing time for trees to make the beams.

Pat said: “We want to look at the resources that society needs. The project will invite visitors to take part in the virtual restoration of this church, even if it takes centuries to grow the oaks that were needed for a new roof.”

Visitors will each be given an acorn which they will be asked to plant and register its location on a website.

EAFS is a partnership between Spring Fling, Wide Open and The Stove and is supported by organisations such as Creative Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Fresh Start, LEADER, Year of Natural Scotland.

For a copy of the brochure go to