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Two thousand attend inaugural FT Weekend festival

On Saturday, 3 September, the inaugural FT Weekend Live Festival attracted two thousand people to hear from over 80 leading figures from art, music, literature, business, food & drink, fashion and politics.

Spanning seven stages in the grounds of Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath in London, and hosted by many of our most loved FT Weekend editors and columnists, the discussions ranged from navigating Brexit and understanding the Trumpian era of disruption, to cultivating the perfect garden with our legendary columnist, Robin Lane Fox, and rethinking how we work via a fiery exchange between Lucy Kellaway and Tyler Brûlé.

FT Weekend editor Alec Russell said: “We are absolutely delighted with the turnout and the enthusiastic feedback from new and existing readers of FT Weekend attending our inaugural festival. An engaged audience fuelled the lively discussions and helped bring to life the wit, elegance and sparky journalism we exhibit every week. We will be back next year.”

Among the highlights:

FT editor Lionel Barber hosted a packed opening session for a debate with Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of the Economist, and former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, on navigating a post-Brexit media landscape, the challenges and opportunities of social media, and the importance of quality journalism in a counter-factual age. Watch the post-session interview here.

Dame Vivienne Westwood took to the How to Spend It stage to talk culture, creativity and climate change with FT US managing editor, Gillian Tett.

Renowned chef Heston Blumenthal spoke on the Food and Drink stage about his passion for French cuisine and his unconventional career path.

FT.com managing editor Robert Shrimsley challenged FT’s chief economics commentator Martin Wolf CBE, FT Money columnist and MoneyWeek editor Merryn Somerset Webb, and chief foreign affairs columnist, Gideon Rachman in a peppery session on the meaning of Brexit, the US election and the prevailing dissatisfaction with government and the elites.

FT’s resident wine expert, Jancis Robinson treated everyone to a masterclass on underappreciated wines.

Hundreds listened to Leo Houlding tell of his epic climb in the Andes in one of many packed events on the Travel Stage.

Finally in a packed and at times uproarious final session the FT’s management columnist Lucy Kellaway and FT Weekend’s Fast Lane columnist Tyler Brûlé went head to head in a lively debate on the world of work – from the merits of messiness at your desk to what you should wear.

Festival-goers also enjoyed a range of classy food & drink including Claw, Dough and Deer, 2 Dive 4, Juma, Honest Folk, Vintage Coffee Truck, The Libation Station, Bonnes Frites and Jolly Lovely Lolly Lady, complimented by a glass of champagne at the Pommery Bar.

The full list of speakers is available here. Find all of the photos from the wonderful day here.

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