What’s On

Theme | Lectures | Workshops and Discussion Labs | Music | Arts


‘Does the UK’s vote to withdraw from the EU tell us that human scale change must be achieved at the local level or should we redouble our efforts to form new international partnerships?’


Our lectures host leading minds exploring thought provoking topics. We may be a small festival, but we think big.

Natalie Bennett

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Natalie has been the elected leader of the Green Party since September 2012. She was previously the Co-ordinator of Camden Greens and founding chair of the Green Party Women’s Group. In the 2015 General Election, she stood in Holborn and St Pancras, winning 13% of the vote.

Paul Smith Lomas

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Paul is Practical Action’s International Director, and is responsible for the overall operation of its programmes and consulting service which it runs around the world.

Previous speakers include

Andrew Simms, Sir Trevor Bayliss, Aubrey Meyer, Feimatta Conteh, Jane Davidson, Adam Hart-Davis, Polly Higgins, George Ferguson, Karambu Ringera, Tony Juniper



The practical, hands-on chunk of the festival! Have fun learning new skills and take your new knowledge home with you.


Zero Carbon Britain In Action

The workshop with Paul Allen from the Centre For Alternative Technology covers how Zero Carbon Britain and the ‘Who’s getting ready for Zero’ report can be effectively used as a powerful tool for groups and individuals to inspire positive action, stimulate debate and build consensus in their communities and places of work. The course will also introduce our new research phase ‘Zero Carbon; Making it Happen’, exploring barriers to change and how we can overcome them.
Workshop includes:

Training on how to communicate/present ZCB

How we have been using ZCB including the UN COP process

Interdisciplinary perspectives on the barriers to change & how to overcome them

How ZCB can link to campaigning and well-being practice to enable groups to make change happen

Small group discussions

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DIY Wind Turbine Workshop

A practical session talking about how to build a Hugh Piggott turbine, as well as having a go at taking one apart and carving some wooden wind turbine blades.


Wind Empowerment

Aran Eales from Wind Empowerment (an association for the development of locally manufactured small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification) will talk about the history of the Hugh Piggott wind turbine design and how it’s used to provide electricity for rural communities in developing countries across the world.


Build Your Own Aquaponics System

Most people have never heard of aquaponics, but it’s a rapidly growing field that has the potential to transform the way we grow food.

Aquaponics is a mini-ecosystem inspired by nature, where fish and plants are kept together. With aquaponics, food can be grown sustainably anywhere; in homes, on rooftops or in basements. Climate change and a growing population mean we need to change how we grow food, and aquaponics is a highly efficient system that allows us to grow food in cities, right where it’s needed.

In this workshop participants will build their own aquaponics system, in the process learning all the principles they need to run their own system at home. There is a competitive element so come fired up, with your thinking caps on, and learn about a whole new way to grow your own food.


The Problem Of Poo

What gets in the way of us embracing changing our destructive lifestyles? We will use the metaphor of poo to start off discussion. Our learnt disgust of this basic bodily function means we see something that nature intended as a resource as a waste and thereby cause even more environmental problems trying to get rid of it. This is a fun, playful, positive session, an invitation only to make small changes in how we choose to be a human being on our wonderful planet.

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Prefabricated Thatching

CAT professional diploma student Eve Williams introduces to an alternative thatching method for prefabricated panels for a new building on the CAT visitors circuit.

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Building A Tiny Home

Help to assemble a tiny timber frame house with Carwyn Lloyd Jones from Timber Design Wales

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Mindful Green Woodworking

Gareth Fysh-Foskett from Mindful Woodlands presents a workshop introducing green woodworking techniques in a meditative setting.

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Climate Change: The Meat Of The Matter

Flexitarian Bristol is working to shape the city for tomorrow. Dan Milner and Rosa van Kesteren explore how reducing the amount of meat we eat makes for a greener city and a healthier population. Changing diets is at the heart of our movement and we want citizens to love life and thrive on sustainable and healthy food.


Frack Free with Friends of the Earth

Naomi Luhde-Thompson will speak about fracking, our rights and the land use planning system as well as the current situation of fracking and energy decisions. She will also speak about people fighting fracking for 5 years in the UK.

An Organising Approach – How to build successful campaigns and projects

The future of campaigning lies in ‘organising’ and moving beyond the traditional ‘mobilising’ approach.  This session with Philip Burroughs will introduce the principles at the heart of organising, and if we have time we will begin to explore some practical tools to help you with your own campaigns.  This is also relevant to running successful projects.

 BioEnergyLogoFinal®Electrifying Bacteria and Pee Powered Toilets

Jon Winfield from Bristol BioEnergy Centre, University of the West of England discusses the work of the centre on microbial fuel cells (MFCs). MFCs use bacteria to produce electricity from waste liquids such as urine. After many years of laboratory studies we are beginning to demonstrate the technology in real life scenarios…an example being the pee-powered toilets that have successful run at Glastonbury festival over the last 2 years. I’ll discuss the next steps which include other field trial plans and operation in developing countries.

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Reclaiming Brexit: could it lead to the rediscovery of culture grounded in place?

Brexit was in part a fierce rejection of the status quo by those who feel they have little left to lose. And as the failing monetary economy ceases to sustain people, they look in desperation for help from their communities, only to discover that the ‘informal economy’ of supportive networks that protected past generations has atrophied while everyone looked the other way. Can it be rebuilt?

Shaun Chamberlin is the editor of the late David Fleming’s posthumous ‘Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It’, which is being launched at our festival. Come to explore Fleming’s wide-ranging vision – a key inspiration for the Transition Towns movement, New Economics Foundation, Green Party, Soil Association and others – of rediscovering place, play and common purpose, and re-establishing the culture eviscerated during the short life of the neoliberal market economy.

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Learn to build tidy fires with wood fire guru Finn from Dyfi Fire.

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A liberating vocal (non-conventional singing) workshop with local, Ailsa Mair Hughes.

Have fun exploring the voice in a mutually supportive space co-create spontaneous soundscapes self-enquiry through sound and movement connect with nature through music sing the elements and whatever wants to unfold… It’s not always about sounding pretty, it’s about harnessing our unique creativity. We all have it! Bringing water to drink is recommended. No singing experience necessary!

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Art: Informing a Future Vision for Small Is Beautiful

Artists Scott Farlow and Mike Powell share the context, inspirations and the manifesto for the imagination exploring how the festival can be a creative agent of change and how Art, as well as being an enriching and inspiring experience in itself, can also imaginatively convey the message of Small is Beautiful to a wider audience.

Together we will explore how the festival can be a creative agent of change and how Art, as well as being an enriching and inspiring experience in itself, can also imaginatively convey the message of Small is Beautiful to a wider audience.


We have the perfect soundtrack to your festival. By day, artists set the scene through beautiful acoustic sets. By night, we get the party started with our main headline acts.

Count Drachma

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Count Drachma play Zulu & Xhosa, Maskandi style interpretations of folk songs from many traditions, including Bantu, Ndebele, Gaelic & Appalachian – the only band in Britain doing so right now. The group is lyrically influenced by South African artists (especially Mahlathini, Thandiswa, Ntombethongo), musically by Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab and Connecticut’s tUnEyArDs. Playing traditional Zulu & Xhosa folk songs over psychedelic pop beats, as well as their own translated & original material, they offer a truly unique glimpse into the musical melting pot of cosmopolitan South Africa, where half the band grew up learning the language. After a busy 2013 playing 6 Sofar Sounds sessions, 3 BBC radio plays, a main stage slot at Wilderness plus appearances at several other UK festivals, an 18-date summer 2014 and some new recordings in October… They call themselves post-folk.

The Saltcutters

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Scouse Irish dance band based in Liverpool, facing West. Known for energy and humour. Their fast-growing reputation bolstered by appearances on BBC Radio Merseyside and regular residencies across Liverpool, and recent additions make for arrangements that are sounding huge and complex, with rhythms pounding harder than ever. Not easily forgotten.

The Small is Beautiful all-star ceilidh band

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As in previous years, the Small is beautiful all-star ceilidh band returns to CAT to bring you a ceilidh of epic proportions. Partners will be swung, rafters will be shaken, and the slate will reverberate to the sound of a multitude of feet pounding the ground in wild synchronicity.

Lola Perrin

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Concert pianist Lola will be premiering her new work Significantus at our September event. This interactive piano suite, inspired by the words of Mark Maslin and Paul Allen, incorporates Lola’s virtuosic playing, a special guest speaker, and participatory elements from the audience.

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The late night straw bale sessions with The Hi-Five Hi-Fi

Join the Hi-Five Hi-Fi alongside Dj’s Guava. Beats to take you late into the soiree in the strawbale theatre, accompanied by the psychedelic luminescence of Paul Allen’s Giascope.


Over just a few decades, creativity has radically transformed entrenched attitudes to gender, race, religion, class, smoking, health and safety, exploitation and equity. The arts are a key part of the festival, offering an urgently needed mirror that can shine a light on that 1950’s fossil-fuelled dream which still quietly seeps out into the global subconscious. Through the arts, positive change can be nurtured and explored.