This weekend, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF) returns to the Cumbrian town of Kendal. And this year’s programme will be full of kick-ass exhibitions, special guest appearances and energetic live drawing. There’ll be both family-friendly and adult-orientated events for comic fans and art lovers alike.
Quirky events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival
So, what quirky events can you enjoy at this year’s festival? Well, there’s a good selection of stuff to do, beginning on the Friday with The Battle of the Toons at the Opening Gala. Contestants will be live in Kendal and in LA, and you could decide which character wins this unusual debate.
Then, over the rest of the weekend, you can see Viz editors performing daredevil stunts, discover the power of political cartoons and uncover the secret formula to comedy timing. There’s also a presentation on the craziest comic books ever and an after-hours party with comics, a Cyber Skiffle and music. And after the after-party, you can carry on the fun at Kendal’s own speakeasy.
Little LICAF activities to enjoy
Taking your family along? Then this year’s Little LICAF workshops may be of interest. Kids can learn how to draw characters, come up with ideas for their own comics or create imaginative monsters. Workshops will have limited places available, so you’ll need to book in advance but they’re free to attend. There’ll also be a reading corner and badge making to enjoy.
These events and activities will all be centred around the family zone at The Shakespeare Centre. Away from the family zone, you can peruse the Comics Clock Tower for new reads. Or take a stroll around town to discover the window art trail.
Elsewhere at the festival
Other events at this year’s festival include exhibitions of Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson’s work and contemporary Czech comic artworks. And perhaps most importantly, this year’s festival is looking at how comics can change the world and tackle the biggest issue of our time, climate change. The project, Ten Years to Save the World, will feature an exhibition at Kendal’s Wildman Street Gallery and the launch of an anthology of comic art.
Comics Up Close will offer you new perspectives on subjects such as mental health and breaking boundaries with in-conversation sessions from a variety of interesting speakers. There’ll also be artist signings, live drawing from world-renowned comic artists and a showcase of work by Myriad Editions on culture, class and belonging.
Why Contrary Life loves the festival
Having been to quite a few of the past festivals, we can recommend a trip to this quirky event if you’re in the area. It’s not just for comic book or graphic novel fans. There’s a huge variety of genres and styles to discover, from anime and horror to classic cartoons and futuristic artworks. You can find books offering a different perspective on history and politics as well as find arty exhibitions and fun activities to join in with.
Plus, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to the world of comic art. Authors and artists are often selling their own books and artworks, and are happy to stop and chat to you. They may even draw a little something for you.
Can’t make it to Kendal for the festival? There’ll be a live drink and draw event in London this week and the Ten Years to Save the World exhibition will head to Manchester next month. And the festival has its own podcast too. For more quirky festivals this autumn, check out these suggestions and for more events in the North West, take a look at these!
When: 15th – 17th October 2021
Where: Across Kendal and online
£: Event tickets cost £5 – £20 for a festival day pass or £15 – £25 for a weekend festival pass. Opening gala and workshop tickets are also available. The window art trail and Comics Clock Tower marketplace are free
More info: www.comicartfestival.com