Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Festivals - a passing phase?

''Expect the unexpected.’’

''Be true to your roots.’’

''Never patronise your audience.’’

These are just some of the useful tips given at the Festival Peak talk by Jenny Howard-Coombes and Cathryn Peach. Both festival organisers talked about the trials and tribulations of their work but also the rewards of putting art into action.

Jenny is a part of the team that organises Hull's Freedom festival which attracts up to 140,000 people a year, it’s safe to say that she and her team definitely know the recipe for success. She talked to the audience about how the event was ‘‘born out of a need for something creative and cultural’’ to commemorate the anti-slavery work of Hull native William Wilberforce and others – and thus the Freedom festival was born.

Cathryn works as part of a different kind of festival named Just So. This specialises in camping and outdoor activities, inviting up to 6,000 people to join in. Unlike the city-based Freedom festival, this is located in the countryside. It was great to see the comparison between these two different festivals.

An event at the 2016 Freedom Festival in Hull.

At both the beginning and end of the talk the audience was asked whether they thought festivals as a whole were a dying concept. 

The answer was a unanimous no. 

Natalie Worledge

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