Ai Weiwei, Russell Tovey, Andrew Neil, Minnie Driver and more announced

One of the world’s most famous artists and activists Ai Weiwei, an architect of Chinese modernism, is sure to be a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression in what promises to be a fascinating discussion with actor and passionate art enthusiast Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament for their wonderfully unpretentious hit podcast Talk Art.

On the Heavenly Presents music stage, there is a truly magnificent addition to the music line up with acclaimed experimental six-piece rock band Black Country, New Road, who not long ago released their highly praised second studio album ‘Ants From Up There’.                               

Investor, entrepreneur, prolific author, and podcaster Azeem Azhar will explore the widening gap between the rate of development of new technology and society’s ability to deal with its impact.

Actor, musician, and author Minnie Driver – known for her roles in Circle of Friends and Good Will Hunting amongst many more – will share intimate experiences and stories from her critically acclaimed, deeply funny, and very personal “tell-most” memoir, Managing Expectations.

Publisher, broadcaster and one of Britain’s most forensic interviewers and commentators, Andrew Neil will record a live edition of his new podcast The Backstory (for Tortoise Media).

Ari Shapiro, award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s All Things Considered – which is the most listened to radio news programme in the US – will interrogate the implications of  Afghanistan and Ukraine on the future of foreign policy with Rory Stewart and Yalda Hakim.

Tortoise Media will be featuring their award-winning, unique ThinkIn format to KITE. These informal, totally unscripted conversations will give festivalgoers the opportunity to debate with invited speakers and journalists, live. ThinkIns announced so far include:

  • Tortoise editor and author Matt d’Ancona, Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran, Jon Alexander author of Citizens on Can democracy save itself? They will reflect on just how precious democracy is, especially in the light of the recent tragic war in Ukraine.
  • Sure to be popular with the Cotswold locals will be Tortoise editor Giles Whittell’s conversation with chef Mark Hix, organic food grower and writer Claire Ratinon and Rebecca Wrigley of Rewilding Britain debating Is rural life a relic worth saving?
  • Emily Benn, leader of the Women’s Equality Party Mandu Reid and former MP Luciana Berger debate Are female politicians an endangered species?
  • British entrepreneur and writer Julia Hobsbawm, and Tortoise journalist Liz Moseley will take a closer look at office culture and its future post-pandemic in The staff are revolting: is the office really dead?
  • Thomas Harding, author of White Debt and Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland, will tackle the big reparations question, asking Can white debt can ever be repaid?

Festivalgoers at KITE 2022 will get the opportunity to learn new skills from some of the country’s brightest creative talent in a series of highly engaging and accessible KITE Lessons.

  • How to write a song with Ivor Novello winning songwriter Eg White
  • How to be a poet with multi-award winning British-born Cypriot poet Anthony Anaxagorou
  • How to tell a joke with award-winning comedy writer Grainne Maguire
  • How to draw with artist Ali Foxon
  • And for those who are still baffled by “non-fungible tokens” and cryptocurrency will enjoy Tortoise’s tech reporter Luke Gbedemah on NFTs WTF? and comedian and cryptocurrency expert Sunil Patel in Crypto for Idiots.