ARTIST Andy Goldsworthy says to be disconnected from nature is to be disconnected from ourselves; these days, most of us are.
The gulf between most people and the natural world has never been so great.
We lead fast-paced, urban lives and few of us can remember the last time we stood barefoot in the grass or walked through a forest.
That’s not good for our mental health and spiritual well being; and it’s not good for the natural resources we’re busy wasting, either.
Which is why an intriguing new Andalusian music festival is inviting you to pause.
The idea of Pause is to focus on the big things that really matter while enjoying some deep natural immersion.
Over the course of five days from this Friday (Aug 18), one of the most exciting, exclusive mountain retreats is hosting a series of concerts and improvised sessions featuring musicians from around the world.
The venue, La Donaira, is mixing up ancient-old traditions with new technology and ideas in a quest to find the best, most sustainable way, of doing things.
This includes everything from traditional farming methods to rewilding bees, and from smart innovative design to luxury tourism – eight suites and a yurt – and is a true, inspirational eye-opener.
On this amazing 250-hectare Andalucian estate, close to the Cadiz/Malaga border, you will find breeding Lusitano horses and rare cattle, organic wine-making and field-to-fork organic gastronomy and simple living in general.
The finca is run by a collaborative team and is a hub of activity with a constant flow of guests, including WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), visiting enthusiasts, neighbouring farmers and experts from all walks of life, all sharing ideas.
La Donaira has hosted workshops, equestrian events, summer camps and concerts, but Pause is the very first festival.
The open-air stage with its cool breeze and spectacular views of the surrounding fields and mountains is the perfect place for pausing from busy lives.
It will be a delight to simply sit (or recline on cushions) and listen to some of the world’s most beautiful music as the sun sets and sheep and horses graze in the surrounding fields.
A host of international artists, including the classical musicians who make up the Partitura Movement, have agreed to grace the stage. Founded by the Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires, Partitura’s mission is to share music with new audiences outside the concert halls, and all take time from their own tours to perform together in unusual places: prisons, hospitals, schools… and now an Andalucian mountain farm.
The theme for this year’s Pause festival is ‘reflections on man and nature’, and to keep things peaceful and dreamy.
Tickets are limited to just 100 each night. Small is beautiful. So don’t miss out!
Plans for Pause 2018 are already underway, but in the meantime, watch this space and follow La Donaira for news of arts, food and equestrian events and workshops throughout the year.
Pause festival information
Date: Aug 18-22: Events start 19:00, and include a tapas dinner and drinks, followed by the main concert performance (21:30), and then performances from featured artists and informal improvisation sessions until the early hours, all on the open-air stage.
Shuttle transport provided all night between El Gastor and La Donaira (10 mins away).
For programme details, 1-day tickets (€65) and 5-day passes (€275) plus help booking local accommodation, visit www.pausefestival.com; email: email@example.com
Venue: Finca La Donaira: The festival is taking place at this 250-hectare sustainable farm, equestrian centre and smart design retreat in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda.
A breathtaking location in idyllic mountain scenery, it sits on the border between Malaga and Cadiz provinces, near the white village of El Gastor.
Participating artists: Members of the Partitura Movement, an international collective of young, exciting musicians founded by the world-renowned Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires (who performs on Aug 22): Miloš Popovi?, piano; Lilit Grigoryan, piano; Julien Brocal, composer & piano; Julien Libeer, piano; Talar Dekirmenjian, soprano, as well as cellist Camille Thomas; renowned flamenco cantaora Mayte Martín; composer & pianist Rupert Huber; composer & jazz pianist Juan Ramón Veredas Navarro. See www.pausefestival.com/programme/ for full details.