What is Dismaland?
Dismaland Bemusement Park is a temporary art project, set up by the street artist Banksy. Located in the seaside town of Weston-super Mare, England.
Described as a ‘family theme park unsuitable for children’, the exhibition was prepared in secret and displayed 58 artists of the 60 Banksy originally invited.
In the 36 day of Dismaland being open, it brought in 150,000 visitors from around the world, creating £20m for the local economy of Weston-super-Mare.
The short period of time on which Dismaland was open, between 21st August 2015 and was permanently closed on 27th September 2015. Exactly 36 days later.
4,000 tickets were available for purchase per day, priced at £3 each and causing chaos through the websites which would repeatedly crash through the high demand of tickets. Within minutes, tickets would sell out, you would have a battle against the thousands of people who always wanted to attend the unusual and limited time attraction.
If you were unable to get tickets, like many visitors you could queue for hours each days to get one of the 500 daily walk-in tickets which were available.
My Dismaland Experience
My sister had been talking about wanting to go to Dismaland since the moment she heard about it and of course, being the nice sister that I am, decided to try my luck at getting some tickets. Tickets went on sale ay 10:00am, and I found myself instantly frustrated and constantly refreshing my screen in the hope I would get through to the booking page and by 11:30am I was the proud owner of four Dismaland tickets.
Our tickets had an entry time of 11:00am, we left Poole, Dorset at 8:00am to start the two hour journey to Weston-super Mare. Arriving, parking was surprisingly easy, we even has enough time for a quick breakfast before joining the queue of ticket holders, it was long but not as long as the daily walk-in queue, which was estimated at five hours long.
Walking through security, first thing I noticed is that the staff are ordered to treat you badly. I guess, to get the whole ‘bemusement’ experience, but it is was annoying when they were shouting at you and hitting your ticket out of your hand onto the dirty floor.
Once you enter the park itself, you are don’t know where to begin, ‘art’ everywhere. The whole point of Dismaland was to display pieces of artwork throughout the park, from a disturbing Cinderella fire-ravaged castle, complete with a graphic set-up Cinderella car crash inside, to a giant sand castle. We walked around for just over four hours, and I was completely amazed the entire time, I am a art-lover, especially when it’s slightly different to the ‘fairy tale’, so Dismaland was exactly what I expected it to be.. Dismal.
Here are a few photographs from my visit;
What happened When Dismaland Closed?
The doors closed to Dismaland on 27th September 2015, the following Monday work began to dismantle all the timber and fixtures. Once the park was taken down, it was shipped to a jungle camp near Calais to build shelters for the thousands who are fleeing war-torn Middle Eastern and African countries.
As the shelters were being built, the infamous ‘Dismaland’ sign became a sign that read ‘Dismal aid’ above the structures. You can see pictures of the ‘Dismal aid’ shelters, here.