Two street artists gave the UK’s highest outdoor show on a Lakeland mountain where a traditional summer fair took place in the 18th
centuries. The one-off performance for passing fell walkers launched Lakes Alive's
summer season of outdoor shows and celebrated the 60th
anniversary of the Lake District National Park.
An annual shepherds’ meet was held each year on High Street on the 12th
of July up until 1835. People from the surrounding valleys would gather on the mountain, then known as Racecourse Hill, to take part in games and wrestling and return stray sheep to their owners; High Street, which is 2,700 feet high, was also a Roman road between Ambleside and Penrith.
Jem Famous who lives in Ambleside and is a regular at Lakes Alive
events staged the show with fellow performer Campbell Innes. Jem is also a keen fell runner and when Campbell isn’t performing he can often be found shepherding in the fells. The pair performed a show called 'Grow Your Own' which features juggling with a sickle and Peter Rabbit’s daring escape from Mr McGregor’s sack.
Jem Famous said, “It was an extraordinary day of performing, even by our standards. Everyone up on High Street had a big surprise and a lot of fun. In fact, it was the first show we’ve done where not one person walked past without stopping to watch. And the wind on top of the mountain certainly made juggling with the sickle more challenging than usual!”
(a programme created and directed by Kendal Arts International with Manchester International Arts) is all about bringing people together to enjoy great entertainment, as the annual summer fair on High Street once did. There's a great line up of events coming up in the summer starting this month with Zircus Plus in Barrow, a spectacular aerial show in Whitehaven and then the touring show, the Banquet. In August, there is a special show at Brockhole to celebrate the National Park’s anniversary as well as another aerial show in Maryport and the flagship event, the Mintfest International Street Arts Festival in Kendal.
Jem Famous can also be seen on 13 August when Lakes Alive
goes to the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole to take part in a garden party full of surprises to celebrate the Lake District National Park’s 60th
birthday; the Lake District National Park was established on 13th
August 1951 and is England's largest National Park, covering 2,292 square kilometres.
From 2-4 September, Mintfest, Kendal’s International Festival of Street Arts, returns for its fifth year when a kaleidoscope of international performers will take over the town. Shows include a deep sea adventure, a giant peacock that goes in search of a mate, dance, aerial acrobatics, the museum of ice cream, a story telling lighthouse keeper and an interactive fire and water show.