Emily Stevens StudioWelcome to Nowhere – Festival Identity
Submission # 71
Identity – Tuakiri
Identity – People & Culture
Wildcard – Unique Projects
Wellington, Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara
Welcome to Nowhere is an independent not-for-profit music and arts festival, held on a remote piece of farmland outside of Whanganui. Attendees pitch their tents and settle in for two and a half days of entertainment and connection.
The idyllic site is along an unassuming gravel road, 45 minutes outside of mobile phone service. It has a swimming hole, regenerating bush, and sprawling hills.
Welcome to Nowhere 2021 was over Waitangi Weekend, and was the festival’s fifth year. It featured a lineup across two stages, showcasing some of the country’s leading indie musicians, including Mermaidens, Marlin’s Dreaming, Hans Pucket, and Vanessa Worm. It also featured daytime poetry at the swimming hole and curated art displays.
I was approached by Eyegum Music Collective to design the festival identity, poster, merchandise, and social media assets. It was the first year that they sought professional design services – they were ramping up the size to 900 attendees, and hoped to reach new audiences outside of their usual communities.
My ideas were inevitably shaped by my personal experiences attending two previous iterations of the festival. Luckily, it’s an event where its values echo throughout its execution.
Welcome to Nowhere is an event that embraces community and all kinds of creativity. It uplifts emerging artists from all over the country, welcomes new voices, and showcases diversity to bring a unique experience to its attendees.
It aims to be Aotearoa’s coolest little festival – a “cool” without affectation, that doesn’t prioritise fashionability. It is inclusive: attendees aren’t pressured to look or act any certain way, as long as they respect each other and the land.
The event also showcases an incredible part of the country that many won’t have experienced before.
As with all Eyegum events, Welcome to Nowhere is cost-neutral, with all profits being shared between the artists.
I used a traditional design process, beginning with interviews of the organisers about values and purpose. Then I created moodboards of broad visual directions, to get a feel for what Eyegum were comfortable with. I discovered they liked graphic, solid shapes, and were averse to gradients.
I considered the title of the festival, its location, and its values to come up with my concept, The Map of Nowhere. It illustrates a land of sunshine, creativity, and togetherness.
Tickets sold out in October, just 2 months after the poster was released and marketing began. This is the quickest Eyegum has sold out the festival, despite the increase in numbers.
But a more important measure of success is the success of the festival itself. There was the sense that all of us – attendees, organisers, artists – were a part of something special and rare. Attendees were enthusiastic about the performances, respectful of the land, and kind to each other. “There was a comfort rarely experienced at festivals,” said one attendee, Natalie. Another attendee, Logan, said, “The word oasis comes to mind. It’s a caring environment, so remote, so removed from daily life, and so temporary.”
The organisers set clear expectations for behaviour at the festival and communicated this at camp meetings. This, along with an inclusive lineup, created an environment of safety and respect.
"Delicate response and appropriate to its context."
Credits & Collaborators: Blank - Abe Hollingsworth, stage decoration Blank - Sophie Scott-Maunder, stage decoration, social media Blank - Bianca Bailey, social media Blank - Jack Ewing, website Blank - Mineral Press, festival booklet
More by Emily Stevens Studio