Kendal, 21st October 2016: The dates for next year’s annual Lakes International Comic Art Festival have been announced after its 2016 event proved a massive success once again at the weekend, attracting both comic creators and fans from around the globe.
Visitor numbers were up again, with ticket sales higher than last year for the many ticketed events. The Festival’s exhibitions – most still currently on display – have seen increased numbers on last year, with some 10,000 expected to view the work by Ken Niimura and some of Japan’s “Rising Stars” in the world of manga, and free comics events for children at the Westmorland Shopping Centre boosted normal footfall by 2500 plus, compared to a normal Saturday and Sunday.
The free Comics Clock Tower – home to many comic creators such as Star Wars artist Gary Erskine, the Phoenix comic’s Etherington Brothers and veteran newspaper comics artist Syd Jordan – and the Shakespeare Centre – home to many European artists and those from further afield! – were busy throughout the weekend. In fact, demand was so high on Saturday that restrictions on entry had to be applied.
Festival director Julie Tait reports that visitor numbers for the Festival were again higher than previous years, and the event gained plenty of media coverage, including BBC Arts, Border TV and national newspapers such as The Guardian.
The weekend saw the launch of several new graphic novels from a variety of publishers, includingCoelifer Atlas, the Festival’s own project created by several artists in a marathon draw, with all proceeds raised going to Festival charity OCD Action; and Carrot to the Stars, an English language edition of Riff Reb‘s latest work.
Both titles are available from Page 45, a major supporter of the Festival’s work, who enjoyed two busy days of comic book sales in the Clock Tower.
The Festival’s plans for next year also include special tributes to Will Eisner, creator of “The Spirit” and Tove Jansson, creator of “The Moomins”.
“I’ve never tabled at any show with such a strong, steady stream of people interested in comics, who actually ask questions, want to be shown things of interest, and then even if they say they ‘have to get more money,’ they actually came back,” enthuses visiting Australian comic creatorBruce Mutard, one of the artists involved in the Coelifer Atlas book alongside Bryan Talbot,Craig Thompson, Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard and Emma Vieceli.
“It is easy for me to say that this has been the best show I’ve attended, for a lot of reasons, not least for its fabulous atmosphere and lovely people in Kendal, Cumbria and surrounding counties… you have to come here at some point in your life. Make it one of the stops on the comics pilgrimage like Angoulême, SPX and TCAF.”
“The Lakes Festival was cozy and warm,” says top Finnish artist Petteri Tikkanen. “I was treated like a pro even though I am not known in the UK at all. I felt that I was more part of something friendly, a family meeting rather than ordinary comic festival. Thank you!”
“Not only does the Festival celebrate so many nooks and crannies of this amazing art form, it also creates a welcoming and joyous atmosphere,” says Mike Medaglia, whose art features in the “Five Bridges” exhibition. “I make so many new professional connections each year but I also make just as many new friends and each is a valuable as the other! Already counting how many sleeps until LICAF 2017.”
“The fourth LICAF was bigger and better than ever, with some fantastic guests and a myriad of great events taking place all over the centre of Kendal,” says Festival patron Bryan Talbot. “This is the only UK comic event that is truly like a European festival such as Lucca or Angouleme: Kendal is a beautiful town and small enough for the festival to take over, with many events and locations offering free entry to the general public.
“Covering the entire range of the comic medium, LICAF brings both fans and the local community together into a true celebration of comics.”
“The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the best comics event in the UK, bar none. Nuff said!” sums up new Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard, who accepted the position during the Festival weekend at a handover ceremony attended by Dave Gibbons.
“We’d like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Festival,” commented Director Julie Tait. “I think this was our best yet. The mix of local and international creators and local and international visitors was fantastic and there was an amazing buzz around the venues and the town all weekend.
“One of the highlights for me was the Asterix vs Tintin debate, because it demonstrated how passionate people are about comics, how comics appeal to all ages and both the serious and fun sides of comic art. I also loved the Windows on Comic Art Trail – 50 businesses working with 50 artists and groups creating original work – totally inspiring
“None of this would have been possible without the support of the local community, local businesses and the global comics community who have supported our aim to deliver a truly unique Festival to Kendal,” she added. “I say it every year, but I can’t emphasise enough how much of a collaborative effort the Festival is – and we are all about collaboration. Thank you, all.”
• A massive line up of both British and globe-spanning international comics talent is being lined up for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival, taking place 13th – 15th October 2017. Visit the web site at www.comicartfestival.com
Professor Benoît Peeters, newly appointed Professor of Comic Art and Graphic Fiction at Lancaster University, took to the stage for a heated debate over two comic characters at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016. Film courtesy of Lancaster University/Lanor Productions. View it on YouTube here
BBC Arts: Great Lakes: Why Kendal’s comics festival is a big draw
The Lake District might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about the world of comics and cartoonists. But some of the biggest names in graphic fiction descended on Kendal at the weekend for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Now in its fourth year, the event takes over the Cumbrian town for three days of workshops, films, talks and masterclasses, as fans rub shoulders with some of most acclaimed artists and writers in the field. BBC Arts’ roving producers
Something for Everyone – Frank Santoro reporting from Kendal, England
“If you are only hearing about “The Lakes Festival” or “LICAF”, please read last year’s report. This is my second year of going to “The Lakes” and I hope to make it back every year. Why? Frankly, it’s because this show has Mr. Chris “TCAF” Butcher’s stamp of approval, and anything Mr. Butcher touches is gold, so I’m sold. Meaning LICAF and TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) have some cross-cultural curation going on with the great Julie Tait, who steers the fleet of LICAF activities and who was at TCAF’s 2016 show, helping with the expansion of that festival’s venues. So, I see the big picture. A comics festival that appeals to just about everyone – not just the “mainstream” or the “alternative” crowd. LICAF, like TCAF, has something for everyone. Read More…
About the Lakes International Comic Art Festival
A huge line up of both British and globe-spanning international comics talent is being lined up for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival, taking place 13th – 15th October 2017.
The Festival is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking place in one of the UK’s most beautiful areas – the English Lake District in the North West of the country, in the market town of Kendal. Modelled on European-style festivals, such as Angoulême in France, it takes over the whole town for a weekend of comic art. Its aim is to celebrate the whole spectrum of comic art, inspiring existing comic art fans and creators and, it hopes, generating new audiences and creators too. It invests in creators through a commissioning programme and has an emphasis on developing international collaborations.
The Festival’s dedicated organisers are determined to build on this year’s growing visitor numbers still further in 2017, reflecting their aim to deliver a truly European-style comics festival involving the whole of the local community and visitors in a truly unique comics experience.
Festival Sponsors and Benefactors
The Patrons of the Festival are comic creators Boulet, Sean Phillips, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot and Emma Vieceli, and Stephen L. Holland, owner of the award-winning independent comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is proud to be supporting the work of OCD Action. As the UK’s largest and most comprehensive OCD charity, OCD Action is able to provide accurate and up-to-date information on OCD and related conditions. The charity runs a helpline, advocacy service, support group network and forum to help people with the disorder, and also works to raise awareness in the media and campaigns to improve access to quality treatment for OCD.