Are Arty Farty Festivals For Young People?

Source: Mayfestbristol.co.uk

Source: Mayfestbristol.co.uk

Sham’s been to some arts festivals, and often they are too arty farty for him. Are they for anyone under 25? Really? He headed to Mayfest to find out.

I’ve attended plenty of arts and film festivals as a ‘young person’, and understandably for young people, it can be a daunting or a not necessarily fun sounding thing. To some extent that can be accurate: arts festivals aren’t always tailored to everyone’s tastes, especially us younger folk. So I headed down to Mayfest as a young journalist (secret agent) to see whether I’d feel at home.

Arts and film festivals tend to be tailored to older audiences with older interests, and they can be a tad too artsy-fartsy for people like me. And when they do try to tailor it to younger audiences, it can be a little bit cringey.

Kind of like the sight of your grandma throwing up gang signs.

Gangster grandma throwing up gang signs

source: flickr.com

Here’s what I enjoyed about Mayfest, that I haven’t seen at similar sorts of things.

it takes you to another world

shadows at slowness of motion at mayfest

credit: Shamil Ahmed

One of the events I attended was ‘The Secret Slowness of Movement’.

people sitting down during secret slowness

credit: shamil ahmed

As you enter the darkly lit room with loud, slow music playing and see everyone dancing, swinging and walking in slow motion there is about a minute of WTH.

But when you sit down, and soak it in, you really appreciate what’s going on.

You are literally in another world. Children, teens, adults and old people are all dancing together, and enjoying the moment, whether they were doing a slow motion twerk or chicken dance (none of those happened). There was no judgement.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you could fit in.

As I sat there, I just shut up, enjoyed the sights and was inspired by how beautiful it all was.

Here’s where i got emosh

the cover of the play rites

credit: shamil ahmed

I saw ‘Rites’. I originally went to support friends involved in it and the anti-FGM campaign they created. I didn’t read much about the play; little did I know I was about to be blown away.

Punchy, powerful, minimal and just darn different, those are the words that keep ringing in my head when I think of Rites.

You’d think festivals would just be about the host city/country, but they’re often bigger than that, they talk about the world and raise awareness of issues that others face that you might not.

The play ran somewhere between one and two hours, to be honest, I was so rung in I didn’t keep track of time. The acting was on point and the screen writing was incredible.

The person next to me (who I’ve never met before) was crying away, and I felt like comforting them, but then my eyes started to water.

‘Rites’ explores an issue that targets young people, for those who’ve come across it in all shapes or forms, needless to say it had the shock factor and interest that brought in all kinds of ages for the audience.

am i in a movie?

credit: shamil ahmed

credit: shamil ahmed

As I walked through the doors of ‘Dance Marathon’, the doorman couldn’t breathe because he was too busy laughing at my jaw drop, me gasping and saying OMD as if I found Atlantis.

‘Dance Marathon’ was nuts. I saw a packed venue, filled with all sorts, shaking what their mamas gave ’em and plenty good vibes.

Shortly after was the interval so people could catch a breath, it was filled with awesome dialogue between the referees, I’m very convinced that it was written by Will Ferrell himself. Needless to say, I, the marathon-ees and the doorman (again) was dying in laughter.

Shake it off, homies, shake it off.

People painting mayfest onto canvases

source: mayfestbristol.co.uk

I found that Mayfest is more mindful of curating events that include/don’t talk down to young people; other festivals should be taking note.

With the Arts Council facing big cuts, we have to support festivals like Mayfest with everything we got because it really is a gem where people can break out of their shells, or just paint them and show off.

Do check out the site: HERE

Did you attend Mayfest this year? If not, why not?  Fill us in @rifemag and don’t forget to show @mayfestbristol some love too.

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