Neapolitan Music has teamed with U Live, Tortoise Media and Heavenly Recordings to launch new “music and ideas” festival KITE in Oxford in June.

Festival director and Neapolitan Music MD Ciro Romano told Access the inaugural event will have an 8,000 capacity and will involve two stages for live music and four dedicated to discussions and debate.

Among the music artists due to play the event at Kirtlington Park in Oxford from 10 – 12 June are Grace Jones (pictured), Mavis Staples, Tom Misch, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and TLC, while the speaker line-up includes David Miliband, Delia Smith, George Monbiot, and Jarvis Cocker.

The three-day, greenfield camping, event will be the first festival to take place in the grounds of Kirtlington Park – a Grade I listed Palladian house set in 3,000 acres of parkland near the Chiltern Hills.

While U-Live will handle the festival production and Heavenly Presents will curate the second stage, the speaker line-up was created in partnership with Tortoise Media, a news service founded in 2019 by a team including James Harding – the former editor of The Times and director of BBC News.

At Neapolitan Music, Romano (pictured below) also oversees projects including the Love Supreme Jazz Festival (cap. 20,000) in East Sussex and the 9,500-capacity Nocturne Live concert series at Blenheim Palace. On launching KITE, the former corporate music business lawyer and artiste manager said the initial idea was sparked by a visit to the Hay Festival: “The festival market it pretty saturated and I am always looking for concepts that other people aren’t doing. I was at Hay Festival in 2018 and I was thinking what a great event it was, with so many interesting speakers and debates, but after three or four hours I started thinking ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was also live music, DJs and late-night bars’.”

Having overseen the booking of the main-stage acts, Romano said he had to find a careful balance of genres in order to appeal to the right demographic: “I spent time going to literary events and working out how we could combine music with it, and what kind of music that would be. It can’t be genre specific because people are also there for the speakers, so you need to have a music line-up with wide enough appeal to interest a broader audience –  you can’t be too populist or too niche.”

Weekend, day, glamping and premium tickets for the family-friendly event went on sale today, 16 November.