A WOODLAND walk in a secret location is enchanting guests at Brighton Festival.

Artist Jony Easterby described his creation as a “magical mystery tour” and visitors have been responding with wonder to the experience.

Located in an undisclosed natural site somewhere on the edge of Brighton, For The Birds is a 2km wooded path that hosts various sound and light installations.

Bird noises can be heard along the trail, frequently merging together to form a melodic cacophony.

Guests can take a coach from Old Steine or Asda in Hollingbury to the rural spot, which overlooks the illuminated city below.

Tickets sold out for the first weekend of the festival.

As Easterby told The Argus before the walk opened to the public, his intention is to emphasise the beauty of nature and, more specifically, the avian world.

There was a palpable sense of excitement among festival goers who boarded the Big Lemon coach on a recent trip to the installation attended by The Argus.

Many of them remarked upon the novelty of being out in the countryside on a weekday night.

“It’s great to be away from the rat-race – it gets rid of the Sunday blues” was one comment from David Morris, 34. His words captured the mood.

Helen White, 25, said For The Birds “makes you want to get out and see the country much more”, joking that she “never wanted to return to normality”.

Brighton-based Easterby said the installation, which also hosts work by other artists, featured “light, birdsong, movement and other narratives based around extinction and migration.

He added: “It’s also a celebration of birds’ life and beauty.”

The idea, and specifically the sound element, stretches back 20 years to when Easterby was working in nightclubs.

“I enjoyed doing that kind of work but I didn’t enjoy being indoors.”

Having grown up in inner-city Birmingham, Easterby said he now seeks out green space whenever he can: “Even when I go to London, I immediately seek out a park.”

The artist said his creation aimed to bring people together, which, going on The Argus’s experience of the trail, has certainly been the case so far.

“Everyone is together and they have a sense of community. They have all experienced the same thing.”

  • For The Birds is running every night at Brighton Festival apart from Monday and Tuesdays. Tickets can be bought at brigthonfestival.org.


MORE than one thousand people have signed a petition calling for the postponement of For The Birds.

At the time of writing it has been signed by 1,372 people on the website change.org. The page’s creator wrote that the event comes at the worst possible time for birds – breeding season.

It reads: “The timing of this creative performance and its impact has been dangerously overlooked with potentially fatal consequences for our wildlife.”

The petition cites laws outlined on gov.uk stating that “You should avoid harming birds by timing your work to avoid the breeding season.”

Brighton Festival released a statement in response to the claims.

It reads: “We would like to offer our reassurance that we have undertaken an extensive consultation process over the past few months with experts and all the relevant authorities to ensure that For The Birds can be produced both safely and sensitively in its environment.

“Following the recent concerns raised, we are now involved in further consultation with specific groups to ensure that we can be fully responsive to any new information and we will be taking forward any additional recommendations.”