Tour de Moon is a new creative festival celebrating nightlife and radical imagination

Created by Nelly Ben Hayoun, the event is coming soon to Southampton and London, aiming to empower nightlife amongst youth countercultures via workshops, live music, cinema, games and a parade of out-of-this-world floats.

10 June 2022


With its retina-boggling installations and parade floats, and mind-broadening workshops and events, Tour de Moon festival could only come from the brain of Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun, founder of charity and postgraduate University of the Underground, as well as NASA’s International Space Orchestra. Arriving today in Southampton (10-13 June) and next week in Hackney (16 June), the touring event has a little something for everyone to enjoy, all under the umbrella intention of prompting “radical imagination” and supporting youth creatives and nightlife workers, “demographics which have been hit especially hard by the impacts of Covid and funding cuts over the last few years,” Nelly says. To that end, Nelly and her team have allocated more than £1 million of its budget to bursaries for young creatives to produce contributions to the festival.

The festival is split into eight strands. Moon Games is billed as a “psychedelic inflatable playground” inspired by the lunar landscape, created by astrophysicists, sports groups and youth organisations. Moon Cinema will show a collection of original short films by emerging filmmakers, selected through an international competition. The ribbon throughout the programme is the topic of youth counterculture and nightlife.

The festival includes a variety of visual feasts, from Moon Experiences to Moon Games, as well as The Moon Convoy, comprising a fully sustainable armada of floats including a giant, rotating moon and a full-size replica of The Natural History Museum’s nine-metre-long Archie the Squid. There’s also a giant red phone through which visitors can rather mysteriously “talk to the moon” – another of the festival’s strands entitled the Moon Hotline – via AI-powered conversations.


Copyright © Tour de Moon; Photography by Nick Ballon

There’s a busy programme of Moon Experiences and Moon Music too: the former taking over disused buildings in city centres with surreal and unusual theatrical productions, such as a sound bath by Loss><Gain featuring recorded music by Anna Meredith, Kae Tempest, Jarvis Cocker, and more. The latter brings together a selection of new musical talent, merging popular music with recordings of the galaxy, for example Moon Recordings – a series of newly commissioned “alien musical genres”.

Lastly, there’s a series of Moon Live to take in. An immersive TV show experience, the series will invite audiences to take part and host a mix of speakers sharing their experiences of nightlife and passion for science, dancing and debate. And Moon Press, a zine launched during the festival tackling themes of the environment, space and the human experience. It will be curated by monthly appointed guest editors, designers and artists.

If you’re in Southampton don’t miss the parade through the city today (10 June), starting at Bargate at 6.30pm, led by Pantasy Steel Band from 6:30pm. See the full programme and book free tickets for Southampton’s events here.

If you’re in London, be sure not to miss the final stop of the tour at Pedro Youth Club in Hackney. A community-led street party, free and open to all, it will feature carnival mask making; zine-making with Artizine; ceramics and customisation sessions hosted by Guap magazine; sessions hosted by mental health collective Misery Party and much more.

GalleryCopyright © Tour de Moon; Photography by Nick Ballon

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Tour De Moon

Tour de Moon is a direct response to the current world we live in – where history is unfortunately repeating itself. Tour De Moon invites you to ask: why can’t we imagine a new way of thinking/dreaming/doing? We need to use radical imagination to create alternative futures.

Tour De Moon provides a platform for plurality, fresh thinking and new ideas. A unique, immersive three city, four day festival of free public events all linked by a touring sustainable Convoy and celebrating nightlife and youth countercultures from across the UK and beyond. Tour de Moon is composed of more than 90 individuals as a part of its team, as well as the Youth Reporter Board and Advisory Board and further collaborative organisations, all working together to build a festival committed to plurality, decolonial practices, social and racial justice, solidarity and equity.

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Copyright © Tour de Moon; Photography by Nick Ballon

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