Watch as Buxton Festival's mesmerising Spiegeltent bursts into life

Manchester’s vibrant music scene has landed in Buxton thanks to the magic of the mesmerising spiegeltent  - a moveable venue which is half circus big top and 100 per cent showbiz.

Buxton International Festival has brought the rare and spectacular spiegeltent to the Pavilion Gardens to attract a new audience to its annual feast of opera, music and books.

Lucie De Lacey with the Spiegeltent

Lucie De Lacey with the Spiegeltent

The mobile theatres were invented in the Flemish region of Belgium and are wooden structures with mirrored interiors which were used as travelling theatres and dance halls in the early 20th Century.

It’s the ideal setting for exciting musicians and will host folk, jazz, classical and rock.

But the Festival is especially pleased to attract some of the up-and-coming names from the Manchester scene, such as Kabantu and The Breath, as well as creating an intimate venue for comedy and talks - including an expose of World Cup organisers FIFA.

“The introduction of the Spiegeltent is an exciting cultural addition to the festival venues and one which you’ll all adore once you see its magnificent construction,” said Lucie De Lacy, Outreach and Audience Development Office.

Some spiegeltents contain 3,000 pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas and stained glass, and can take 16 days to construct.

Some spiegeltents contain 3,000 pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas and stained glass, and can take 16 days to construct.

“Our spiegeltent is steeped in a rich, beautiful history of music, culture, love, romance and art. They were used to bring music and dance to poor or isolated towns, which couldn’t afford a proper dance hall.

“Spiegeltent translates to ‘mirror tent’ and you can really picture how mesmerising they were for the families who had never seen a theatre, let alone spent time in one. In the political uncertainty and poverty of the time, they brought light and music to many.

“Sadly, there are only a handful left in the world – and we’re lucky enough to be bringing one of these stunning structures of such historical importance to Buxton!”

Lucie added: “Our Spiegeltent, the Idolize, is one of the most grand. Intricately decorated with stained glass, velvet curtains and glinting mirrors. Upon the wooden dance floor, thousands of heels have tapped and sashayed, while its booths hold years of whispered conversation between friends and lovers.

“We certainly couldn’t bring such a structure to Buxton without an exciting and diverse programme to match.”

Kabantu are a five-piece hailing from Manchester who merge musical styles from across the globe. Their set on Sunday at 3 pm will demonstrate why they have been chosen to perform at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, BBC Free Thinking Festival and BBC Radio 3 In Tune.

Workers lay the foundations for the spiegeltent structure.

Workers lay the foundations for the spiegeltent structure.

Manchester-based The Breath, on Sunday, July 15, are guitarist Stuart McCallum and singer Ríoghnach Connolly, who have a unique take on alt-folk journeys from lush, beguiling storytelling to uplifting, punch-the-air anthems.

But to find out more about the 50 events to choose from, go to www.buxtonfestival.co.uk.

Spiegeltent facts

Only a handful of spiegeltents remain in existence today, and these survivors continue to travel around Europe and beyond.

The tent starting to take shape...

The tent starting to take shape...

In 2011, Belgian theatre company Spiegelworld opened a cabaret called Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas using a stage just nine feet wide.

The Famous Spiegeltent, perhaps the most lavishly decorated of all, was built in 1920 in Belgium and has hosted some of the world's greatest performing artists, including German singer Marlene Dietrich, who famously performed "Falling in Love Again" in it during the 1930s.

Some spiegeltents contain 3,000 pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas and stained glass, and can take 16 days to erect.

The structure of the tent is put in place.

The structure of the tent is put in place.

Workers get busy putting Buxton's spiegeltent together.

Workers get busy putting Buxton's spiegeltent together.

Inside the finished spiegeltent.

Inside the finished spiegeltent.

Inside the finished spiegeltent.

Inside the finished spiegeltent.

Inside the finished spiegeltent.

Inside the finished spiegeltent.