Every Moonraking Festival has a theme… this helps inspire the lantern making

Every Moonraking Festival has a theme, this helps inspire the lantern making, costumes for the Moonrakers and other festival programming during the week and at the finale. 

In 1998 for example we chose the theme Out of the Woods and this inspired us to create Gnome costumes for the Moon carriers. These were so loved that we kept the Moon carriers as Gnomes ever since….adapting them to the themes where we could…Gastro-Gnomes, Astro-Gnomes, you get the picture. Part of the joy of being a Gnome was that you had a beard as a disguise, so you became part of a secret club and it allowed upstanding members of the community to ‘play their mas’ as they say in Trinidad and be a dancing prancing Gnome for the night!

Themes for the Moonshine Festival

We have chosen 6 of the 30 themes we have had over the years, to focus on for the Moonshine resources, but you can adapt your favourite theme to any of the techniques we have given. The Space theme was an early one in 1989 and will be memorable on 2 counts, firstly it was very rainy all afternoon, but stopped completely at 6.30pm for the procession and our guest was Floating Eagle Feather an extraordinary storyteller from the USA who happened to be touring the UK. If you remember him, please let us know on our social media platforms. This is the only festival that we have no copy Poster in the archives. You can see the design (by Kim Reuter) on the front of the leaflet, and we have a picture of it in the Moonraking book so if you have an original one in the attic we would love to take a copy.

The Space theme crops up again when we did Lunar Landings in 2009 (see Huddersfield Examiner coverage here and their gallery of pictures here) and there was also a good showing of space related lanterns when we did ‘Up in the Air’ as a theme in 1996.

The Circus theme in 1992 generated some superb lanterns and was the year that the Ellis family climbed on board the Lantern-making ship, with Karima steering our lantern workshops into aspiring hubs of accessible creativity and Rachel now continues at the helm, ensuring that Moonrakers are rightly proud of their lantern creations. Our guest artists that year were SWAMP circus who ran circus skills sessions throughout the week – do you remember making a human pyramid?

Fruity Veg in 2001 was the only Festival that Satellite Arts were not involved in and was memorable for some brilliant Aubergine costumes, and the nose on the Moon! And for the Polar themed Festival in 1994 Karima made a giant Polar Bear that went on to illuminate the Christmas Ice Skating Rink in the Piazza later in the year.

To jog your memory, here are some other festival themes:

1990 – Mythical Beasts; 1991 – Music; 1997- Eastern Lights;

1997 – Island Worlds; 2000- Our Place (celebrating the Colne Valley);

2003 – Animal Magic; 2004 – Pantomime;                 

2006 – Maritime; 2013 – Time; 2015 – Landmarks; 2017 – Moonmentum Machines