Meet the Man who Rocks your MUSIC FESTIVALS: DANIEL POPPER – Installation Artist and Sorcerer.
All Image Credit Daniel Popper Official Website
This time of year, as the weather warms up and we finally feel confident enough to pack our bubble coats and woolly scarves away we start thinking of music festivals in exotic locations – tropical Bali, dusty Nevada, Mexico, Australia or South Africa’s Tankwa Karoo … There’s even a collective Fernweh for muddy weekends – or better still, potential hurricanes – in a tent in a field (wink, wink, obviously referencing music festivals in parts of the Northern Hemisphere here). Whatever your adventure threshold and expectations, one thing is for sure, summer is synonymous with the iconic music festival.
There was a time when these escapist raves were a given, when A-listers like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Emma Watson would be guaranteed to grace the tabloids, sizzling in their Hunter’s limited-edition wellies, Ray Bans, crocheted bras and other diminutive denim bits-of-nothing and Topshop had a special category for Festival Gear. Those were the days, alas! Much has changed over the past year but the yearning to join like-minded music-lovers at music festivals have stubbornly stayed fixated in the psyche of audiophiles of all ages.
While we’re holding our breaths in anticipation and wondering which of our favourite annual music events are likely to go ahead in the summer of 2021, let me introduce you to Daniel Popper, a multi-disciplinary Cape Town artist who gets to go to umpteen music festivals. In fact, he creates the wow-factor that in turn generates indelible memories for thousands of festival-goers. He’s the artist who designs and erects these larger-than-life, awe-inspiring, introspective public installations that propel the magic right into the core of your music festivals. From the USA’s Electric Forest Festival and Portugal’s Boom Festival to the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Australia and Modem in Croatia, Daniel Popper has been working his otherworldly magic, music festival after music festival. Each one of Daniel’s towering installations is an instrumental component in creating that unforgettable and transcendental festival experience.
Asana was designed as the entranceway to the pavilion area for the Art With Me festival in Tulum, Mexico in 2019, inspired by Daniel’s favourite yoga pose Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, upward facing dog. The sculpture symbolizes nature opening her chest to the ocean as she takes a big inhale, welcoming visitors and inviting them to do the same.
Anima is a 7m tall statue of a female goddess blowing kisses onto festival-goers entering the venue at the Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas in 2019. Made from steel, fiberglass, wood and natural fibre, the base of the structure had a glass floor that attendees could hang out on and enjoy the terrarium below.
Emergence, a 12m tall installation made of wood, steel, rope work and greenery, was created for the Boom Festival at Idanha Nova, Portugal in 2018. The interior contained a chandelier of greenery with lush ferns and forest greens bursting from the heart. The exterior was kept in the raw organic color of the timber and found rope work.
The Tripolee Heads stage was created for the Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan in 2017. The brief was ‘Future Present’ and Daniel’s interpretation resulted in these relic-like monolithic heads.
Daniel was invited back by Boom Festival in Portugal in 2016 to create a feature piece – Boom Shaman that complimented the Dance Temple – a piece for people to enjoy and relax at during the day and take a break from dancing in the evening to enjoy the visual feast of projection mapping. The piece stood 13 meters tall, made with wood, steel, rope and a variety of repurposed materials from the land.
Ven a Luz (come to the light), a 10m tall sculpture made with steel, wood, rope and greenery, was created as an entrance to the festival’s pavilion for the first Art With Me event in Tulum, Mexico in 2018. The structure symbolizes the connection humans have with nature and how fragile that eco-system is.
Wooden deities were created for Bali Indonesia/ Babylons Festival & Strand Ephemeral Art Fair, Australia. It was a 5m tall solid timber and steel frame structure, hand-carved in Bali. The pieces where designed for A-Fest 2018 Envision Your Future in Bali. The second deity was created for a tour in Australia featuring at Babylon Festival in Victoria and the Strand Ephemera Art Fair in Townsville, Queensland.
The Swamp Stage was created for the Modem Festival in Croatia in 2019. The stage with 8m tall statue was made using steel and fiberglass.
Reflections, a 10m tall installation was created for Afrikaburn in 2013 at Tankwa, Karoo National Park, South Africa, using wood and steel.
Dragon was created for Afrikaburn in 2012, Tankwa Karoo National Park, South Africa, using plywood, steel and propane.
Hand of God was created for Afrikaburn in 2011 at Tankwa Karoo National Park, South Africa. It stood 6m tall and was made using steel and bendy plywood with a 1 Watt laser beaming towards the heavens at night.
Rainbow Phoenix was created for the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Melbourne, using foam with a steel sub-frame.
Spirit Warrior was created for the Lightning In A Bottle stage at the Lightning In A Bottle Festival, California, using plywood and rope.
I managed to drag Daniel away for a few minutes from a hectic schedule where he’s busy erecting five brand new installations for the Human Nature Exhibition in Chicago. I was curious as to his thoughts on the future of our much coveted music festivals. His answer was reassuring, he firmly believes festivals will return to ‘normal’ in the aftermath of a year of turbulence. Phew! It’s good to know we still want live music, we want to feel the sand underneath our feet, sleep under the stars, be part of an awesome atmosphere and let the communal rhythm lift mind, body and soul. Of course we do!
Daniel’s majestic sculptures are a feast for the eyes, they’re thought-provoking, they instantly transport us to exotic locations, they let us anticipate good times, they fill us with a certain joie de vivre that’s been missing from our lives for quite some time.
Here’s to a summer of magic and MUSIC!
I’ll leave you with a list of mouth-watering music festivals from all over the globe. Take your pick and get those tickets booked!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of Daniel Popper’s incredible installations too.
Daniel Popper Artist
Daniel Popper – installation artist
USA’s Electric Forest
Portugal’s Boom Festival
Rainbow Serpent Festival
Modem in Croatia
Art With Me festival in Tulum, Mexico
Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas
Strand Ephemera Art Fair, Australia
- Website: https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/facilities-and-recreation/theatres-and-galleries/strand-ephemera
Babylon Festival in Victoria