Emily Stevens Studio worked with Welcome to Nowhere, an independent music and arts festival, to create an updated look and feel for 2022. After initially creating the festival’s 2021 identity, the refreshed identity focuses on the local flora and fauna, using these taonga to express the diversity and uniqueness of the event, along with the promise to respect the land and location.
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Welcome to Nowhere is an independent music and arts festival, held on a remote piece of farmland outside of Whanganui. Attendees pitch their tents and settle in for two and a half days of entertainment. The idyllic site is along an unassuming gravel road, 45 minutes outside of mobile phone service. It has a swimming hole, regenerating bush, and sprawling hills.
The festival will feature a lineup across three stages, showcasing some of the country’s leading independent musicians, including Merk, Anthonie Tonnon, and BEING. It will also feature daytime poetry at the swimming hole and curated art displays.
Welcome to Nowhere is an event that embraces community and all kinds of creativity. It uplifts emerging artists from all over the country, welcomes new voices, and showcases diversity to bring a unique experience to its attendees.
It aims to be Aotearoa’s coolest little festival – a “cool” without affectation, that doesn’t prioritise fashionability. It is inclusive: attendees aren’t pressured to look or act any certain way, as long as they respect each other and the land. It is cost-neutral, with all profits being shared between the artists.
After designing the festival’s 2021 identity, Emily was asked to create an updated look and feel for 2022.
The Design Response:
The 2021 identity was about building awareness of the event, with the poster featuring literal illustrations of what goes on there – dancing, camping, and taking in nature. This laid the groundwork amongst the festival’s audience, allowing for a less literal approach to the 2022 identity.
Emily’s biggest challenge during her ideation was to bring a fresh perspective to the event, after the 2021 identity had already outlined so much of its spirit. After reflecting on the event’s values and her own experiences at the festival, she chose to pay homage to the native creatures you may find around the grounds: kererū (wood pigeons), tuna (eels), and kahukura (red admiral butterflies). These are beloved taonga integral to the site.
By centring these taonga, the 2022 identity expresses the uniqueness of the event location and reflects the organisers’ promise to respect the land. It evokes a collection of artefacts, while remaining sunny, contemporary, and energetic (just like the event).
Welcome to Nowhere 2022 sold out just 1.5 hours after tickets were released, an unprecedented and overwhelming response that demonstrates the success of the 2021 festival and the loyalty built around it. This is by far the quickest Welcome to Nowhere has sold out, beating 2021’s record of 2 months (which, at the time, was a milestone itself).