Skip to main content
Olivia Stock
20 June 2023, 14:00

Shangri-La share details of new stage for Glastonbury 2023, Nowhere

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Shangri-La founder, Robin Collings

Photo of the colourful Shangri-La arena at Glastonbury 2022
Nathan Roach

Shangri-La founder, Robin Collings, has shared details of the festival crew's new Glastonbury stage, Nowhere, which will debut this week (21st June – 26th June), at Worthy Farm. The new 5,000+ capacity stage will replace The Gas Tower in Glastonbury’s dedicated late-night area, often referred to as the ‘naughty corner’.

“We’ve got a whole new stage replacing The Gas Tower, which has been with us for the past five or six years,” Collings told DJ Mag. “It’s also part of a slightly bigger arena, which felt appropriate because it’s such a popular spot.”

Sharing details of Nowhere for the first time, he said: “It has a 3D mapping installation that wraps around it, and we built a giant steel grid that sits over the top of the dancefloor with 280 LED nodes which will be mapped in three dimensions to create this pulsing ceiling of light. It’s like an art installation that hangs above the audience.

“It will be an artistic team operating it rather than just straight technicians, and they’ll be riding the controls with the energy so it’s all operated completely live. Honestly, we’ve never seen anything like it.”

Since making its Glastonbury debut back in 2008, Shangri-La has become known for its boundary-pushing collaborative installations. “A friend of ours called Jack Wimperis, who’s a light artist, has been playing with LEDs and inspiring us for ages, so it was great to collaborate with him finally,” Collings said. “We had to figure out how to hang hundreds and hundreds of light nodes above an audience so it feels like a roof, but also not, because we wanted it to still feel somewhat open air.

“It’s a real visual feast and slightly more abstract than we normally do, but it should be really visually powerful and accentuate the music artists that are playing on it. Our whole thing at Shangri-La is about taking creative risks. We’re constantly trying new things and inviting artists, both musical and visual, to explore new territory. I think it’s nice because our audience comes ready to see something fresh, and new, and edgy.”

He explained how the new additions to the arena also tie into Shangri-La’s 2023 theme, Everything Must Go. He says this is a “side swipe” at how everything feels for sale in modern times, and moves at such a fast pace, including fast fashion, fast food, and fast media.

"It all feels kind of flippant and disposable,” he said. “We were just sparring, throwing ideas for the new stage around, and we really liked how it was a play on words of ‘now:here’ and ‘no:where’. It felt like it kind of summed up the message of the arena –– a soft little reference to how frustrated we’ve been feeling about what’s going on around us.”

Collings also added that the new arena has also been created with the intention of sparking important conversations. “We like to try and hold a mirror up and reflect what’s going on in the world to some extent. We don’t want to be bringing people down or telling people the news or anything but we want to be exploring what’s happening around us culturally and politically in a responsible but also inspiring way,” he said.

Opening the Nowhere stage will be political rave collective and Shangri-La mainstays, Sports Banger, who are returning for a second year with their Mega Rave. They are set to be joined by striking worker and budding selector, DJ Deaders, who won a competition to play alongside Sports Banger at Nowhere's opening party.

“A teacher who plays like really vibing, groovy house, is going to be one of the first people to play on the new stage, which I think is just great,” said Collings. “It was really great of the Sports Banger team to have got her involved, and I think it fits in just perfectly with what we’re trying to do and say with this year’s arena.”

As well as being a “proper spectacle”, Shangri-La’s 2023 arena will host one of the district’s most inclusive line-up’s to date, placing fresh emerging artists right next to more established ones. “We really feel like it isn’t good enough to not think hard about these things,” Collings said. “Having Mandidextrous close the show for us is really important because she’s part of our family, but she’s also someone who is really living the issues of the time and exploring them openly, as well as being one of the most incredible music artists in that niche scene... She speaks our language, you know, so that’s something we felt was really important this year.”

Other artists set to perform on the new Nowhere stage include Flowdan (Live), Folamour with a ‘Power to the PPL’ A/V set, Nia Archives, Lady ShakaAhadadream, Bou, Chunky, Effy, and Ivy Lab. Elsewhere, the Truth stage will host an eclectic assortment of sets from the likes of ho99o9, Ezra Collective, and Gentlemen’s Dub Club, while beloved parties including Sista Selecta and Misscoteque will also hold takeovers of the area’s feminist venue, the Sistxrhood.

Check out Shangri-La’s full 2023 line-up here.