Jupiter Rising 2022: Meet the festival's curators

We talk to four of the curators behind this year's Jupiter Rising, a festival that leads the way in showcasing new talent and inclusivity

Feature by Maeve Hannigan | 16 Aug 2022
  • Malka

There are plenty of small festivals across Scotland that gather the magic of wandering Scots, woodland trips, and singing rain. Yet, not all are set against art installations that emerge from the land and lean onto the clouds. With an audience capacity of just 1000 people, Jupiter Rising offers itself as a moment waiting in the midst for all ages. 

It separates itself from the bigguns, by leading in the healthiest way yet. The lineup doesn’t feel top-heavy for a start. It isn’t there to ensure you buy tickets because of one act, but Head of Exhibitions Claire Feeley-Owen has curated a balanced offering, bringing in four guest curators to assemble the the programme. You may know all of the artists, you may know none, but the beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter. There is fun to be had for those who wish to find it.

With Tracey Emin’s latest installation, I Lay Here For You, nestled in the woodland, and a lake stretching its body over the delicate hills, Jupiter Rising brings forth the artistic programming that Jupiter Artland has installed throughout the year. Artists from the festival have been asked to submit their own artistic contributions – amongst those are the Arts Foundation award-winner Tanoa Sasraku, interdisciplinary artist Rosa-Johan Uddoh and a new commission from Young Fathers' Alloysious Massaquoi.

Curation is the key word here – every detail has been carefully thought through, and every artist chosen for a reason, all to create a refreshing and welcoming atmosphere with Scotland’s finest musicians. So who are the guest curators?

Alloysious Massaquoi

Photo of Alloysious Massaquoi.
Alloysious Massaquoi. Photo: Rianne White

Meet Guest curator and one third of Young Fathers, Alloysious Massaquoi. Massaquoi's Saturday lineup blurs the often restrictive and exclusive lines of genre and spins artists from threads of dance, spoken word, performance, soul and house music. “I’m excited for the crowd to experience the creative work of the artists I’ve chosen," he says. "My advice to them is: come ready, be open and take a chance.”

From the Glasgow African Balafon Orchestra, Mychelle and Chizu Nnamdi, to Distruction Boyz and The Dylema Collective, this space is taken up by those not necessarily similar but united in spirit. “I think it’s evident that the acts that I’ve picked are quite varied. There’s a reason for that – it’s unexpected but it also makes things more exciting.

“I wanted to set the tone and keep within the spirit of the festival, whose uniqueness lies on its boutique scale against the backdrop of an incredibly unique landscape. For me, the acts I curated accentuate the singularity of that space."

Auntie Flo

Photo by Auntie Flo.
Photo: Andrew Cawley

Alongside Shoot Your Shot, producer, DJ and sound designer Brian d'Souza, aka Auntie Flo, will be curating the late-night stage, where ravers will breathe life into the sculpture park and dance across conceptual lines. Festivals are what d'Souza describes as the making of his DJing career. “I’ve been going to festivals since I was 15," he says. "T in the Park was my baptism of fire, three years in a row in the late 90s and as a 15-year-old the first time I heard techno on a proper [sound] system."

Huntleys & Palmers’ Andrew Thomson and Chilean-German techno producer Matias Aguayo are joining Auntie Flo on the Friday night. But the party is what d'Souza insists is first and foremost: “The parties I enjoy most are all about unpredictability, whether that’s in the music or performances or stage design. That’s why Matias Aguayo was the perfect choice for me – he’s an entertainer, who’s always done things his way. He pushes the boundaries of what an electronic live show can be, often jumping off the stage and performing/dancing his way around the crowd. He’s a true original.

“The only way a party works is with the crowd and artists becoming in sync with each other – one doesn’t work without the other. Too often the DJs are on a big stage and totally disconnected from the crowd. So, I’m expecting a really friendly, communal atmosphere with no barriers and a load of fun.”

Hen Hoose

Photo of Malka (her face is obscured by an eye-shaped piece of artwork with a cloud scene in the centre)
Photo: Curse These Eyes

All female and non-binary songwriting collective Hen Hoose was founded by Tamara Schlesinger (who also performs under the moniker MALKA), the guest curator of music on Friday. The Hen Hoose's lineup consists of female and non-binary artists, headlined by Kathryn Joseph and featuring Poster Paints, Kaputt and AMUNDA. “For me, festivals as an artist are all about finding new fans and having the opportunity to play to people that wouldn't have heard your music before,” Schlesinger says.

Hen Hoose’s growth as a gender non-conforming collective, inspiring talent and community, has translated into Schlesinger’s carefully selected curation – a platform for lesser known artists to feel welcomed and appreciated. “As a punter, festivals are about escapism and sheer enjoyment and to kind of be in the moment," she says. "We know the issue of gender inequality with festival lineups, and it's been really amazing for me to have the opportunity to try and get a balanced lineup. In fact, this is more than balanced I think in terms of the lineup and curation.

“I suppose what I want to achieve in my programme is visibility for the talent we have. This is kind of a platform for these artists who are just incredible. I think I really wanted to be able to offer them an opportunity to be seen." She continues: "Something like Jupiter Rising where [they] already stand for diversity and equality means that programming a lineup such as this has been easy and accepted. And I wonder how accepted it would have been with other festivals, to be honest.”

Shoot Your Shot

Photo: Tiu Makkonen

Renowned Glasgow night Shoot Your Shot take over the stage for Saturday’s late-night dwellers. The lineup is not to be missed with intoxicating energy from gender non-conforming artists including FRAN.K, ISO YSO, Mi$$ Co$mix, Purina Alpha, Spent, SHREK 666 and Shoot Your Shot founder Bonzai Bonner. But what makes a night one to remember for Glasgow’s favourite party host? “My favourite festivals are ones that can connect with local communities and crews," Bonner says. "Grassroots festivals have so much more heart, depth and meaning than commercially-clad dross.”

What is it that these experienced party throwers hope to achieve with their lineup? “Showcasing world-class players we have right here on our doorstep.” Why Jupiter Rising? “The festival is a perfect size along with being placed in one of the most unique settings for a weekend party. We are really excited to be part of it and connect with the other crews and artists who are involved.”

What makes Shoot Your Shot's programme special? “Everyone involved resides here in Scotland and it's a true testament to the brilliant queer and local grassroots scene that is thriving and continuously growing despite the difficult political climate our community is experiencing in this country.”

As a connection that is key for every curator here, what is it that Shoot Your Shot want to capture in the relationship between the artists and the crowd? "We're here, we're queer and we're gonna bring ye a beltin' party!"

Jupiter Rising takes place at Jupiter Artland, nr. Edinburgh, 26-28 Aug