Neverworld To Replace LeeFest

The UK’s LeeFest is no more, but its former site will instead host a revamped event called Neverworld, the concept for which has been tested over the past two LeeFest editions. 

– Neverworld

After taking a break in 2015, LeeFest returned to a new site, John Darlings Farm in Kent, England, and with a new concept, which included a new name: LeeFest – The Neverland.

As festival founder Lee Denny revealed on Dec. 13, The Neverland was simply testing the waters for what will be known as Neverwold going forward. The first edition is set to take place at John Darlings Farm Aug. 2-5.

It will keep the new additions that came with the introduction of The Neverland in 2016: three distinct festival areas, vastly differing in décor, character and the music performed, and inhabited by different “tribes” – Pirates, Mermaids and Lost Boys.

The team behind the event remains the same. It includes the festival’s founder Lee Denny, LeeFest’s creative director Julia Lowe and Chris Carr from Lucid Illusions at its core.

The most successful events these days sell out before announcing even one act; people come for the sake of the event and its atmosphere. “It’s certainly something we have been trying to work towards across the past few years,” Denny told Pollstar, adding that rebranding LeeFest to Neverworld was part of that journey.

Speaking about the upcoming premiere, he said: “It’s really exciting to have a team that are willing to take risks like this with me; we’ve always been good at innovating and mixing things up. I know that that can make it tricky sometimes for the team and suppliers, but I think it’s really important to keep doing it if we’re going to keep progressing. I feel very grateful to have people around Neverworld that are up for taking the more interesting path instead of just the easiest one.”

Asked whether the event would remain independent, he replied: “Absolutely!”

LeeFest started in Denny’s family home garden in 2006 as a private party. The 10th edition in 2016 welcomed 5,000 revelers. “For the past few years I have marveled as this wonderful community of like-minded souls grown around me,” Denny wrote in a statement announcing the transformation of the event.

Speaking about the new name, he said: “As our community has snowballed, it has felt increasingly wrong that something created by so many should be named after just one! We are therefore going to be starting a new story, with the focus on the whole community.

“As our community grows internationally, and at our current political junctures, we felt that the name for this new story should reflect the inclusive, safe retreat that it can provide, even if just for one weekend, for those from all persuasions and all walks of life.”

Denny added that he intended to “no longer build festivals,” but “fully fledged, immersive, magical worlds.” The reaction of British media to past editions of LeeFest suggest he’s on a good path. SupaJam described the event as “a genuine mini version of Glastonbury,” while BBC Radio 1 called Denny “the next Michael Eavis.”

The promoter recently made the news for offering free LeeFest tickets to festivalgoers that were left disappointed by some of the recent festivals. “We don’t want people to lose faith in festivals because a major company failed to deliver,” Denny said back then.

Organizers have yet to announce next year’s lineup. Past acts include London Grammar, Bastille, Years & Years, Lianne La Havas, MØ, Kate Tempest, Little Simz, Annie Mac and many more.