‘Festival of Brexit’ has officially been named ‘Unboxed’ – and Brexiteers are furious

‘Festival of Brexit’ has officially been named ‘Unboxed’ – and Brexiteers are furious

A festival originally conceived to celebrate the UK’s departure from the EU has been formally named without any mention of the B-word – much to the annoyance and fury of Brexiteers.

The event idea was imagined by former Prime Minister Theresa May and was unofficially dubbed as the “Festival of Brexit” by staunch Brexiteer and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg a year earlier. Fans of the event said it would celebrate Britain leaving the EU, comparing it to the 1951 Festival of Britain.

But it’s now bye-bye to any mention of the word “Brexit”, with the event being officially unveiled as “Unboxed: Creativity in the UK”. Organisers say they are going down a more “open, original and optimistic” avenue for the £120m government-funded ceremony, which is set to take place in 2022 (And who can blame them – closing off 48 per cent of people who voted to remain in the EU isn’t exactly a great business move).

Before the new name was unveiled, the event had been referred to under the working title of Festival UK 2022, with organisers keen to put some distance between the festival and the UK’s break-up with the EU, the Telegraph reported.

But it was widely referred to as the “Festival of Brexit” – both by Brexiteers and those deriding the idea.

A scale model of the solar system, a decommissioned North Sea oil platform and a pop-up forest, along with poetry, computer coding and music events are just some of the things we can expect from the festival.

There will even be a celebration of the British weather from the Newsubstance Collective.

But, as you can imagine, the news of the official name hasn’t exactly been welcomed by Brexiteers whose hopes for a big Brexit divorce party are now down the drain.

Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet shared his fury and branded the festival as “meaningless.”

He told the Telegraph: “What could have been a great celebration of global Britain post-Brexit has now been Whitehall sanitised down into something anodyne and meaningless – it is a great opportunity missed.”

Meanwhile, David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, said he was “shocked” at the fact that Brexit was going to be airbrushed from celebrating the UK.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he sid: “Brexit is the rebirth of the UK as an independent nation. It is something that we should be celebrating and this is a huge opportunity to do so.

“I very much hope that reference to Brexit will be made in future. A lot of colleagues will wish to take this up with new Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.”

People have also taken to Twitter to joke about what a Festival of Brexit would have looked like.

While others shared their thoughts on “Unboxed” as the official name and the absence of the B-word.

Chief creative director of “Unboxed” Martin Green said: “Unboxed represents an unprecedented and timely opportunity for people to come together across the UK and beyond and take part in awe-inspiring projects that speak to who we are and explore the ideas that will define our futures.”

It seems Green didn’t care too much about the name “Festival of Brexit” from the off. He told The Observer last year: “It’s a nice line and it makes you look, but I’d argue if you dig down … what on earth would that be about?”

Green also previously alluded to the influence of Brexit when speaking to the BBC last year: “There is no doubt that money has been made available because this country is exiting the European Union, there is no getting away from that.

“There is also no doubt that we have been through a particularly divisive time in the discourse of our daily lives, and as we go forward, let’s see how the great creativity and ingenuity of the UK can help refind that common ground.

“On a very basic level, we are probably due a bit of joy and hope and happiness, and art is really good at that.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: “Next year we will celebrate creativity in all four corners of the UK in what is set to be a huge year for the nation.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience world-leading arts and culture no matter what their background or where they’re from - and that’s what Unboxed is all about.

“In 2022 we’re also preparing to host the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Together, these events will be at the heart of a year of celebration that will showcase the best of the UK to the world.”

Visit the Unboxed website for more information.

The Conversation (0)