It's been festival season again and it has been a very busy time for the Voice team and the youth network as a whole.
Personally, I created a very small scale festival for my Gold Arts Award Leadership Project back in 2007. It was called 'The Gold Arts Event' and included theatre & music performances, circus theatre and drama & dance workshops. It lasted all day and attracted a variety of public from families to teenaged looking for cultural activity. We also had an exhibition for local organisations to display what they do, Subway kindly sponsored the staff lunch and it all happened in a lovely town gardens venue thankfully not far from a main power source near the cathedral! It was a great day and I learnt a huge amount about event organising in my months of planning.
In fact what helped was that I got rejected by the Arts Council for funding. Fair enough perhaps because I was 16 at the time and with little track record; so I gathered together some friends and instead applied for what was available back then - the Youth Opportunities Fund. Having to bring people together to form a group of young people applying for such a fund meant that I learnt valuable lessons about facilitating people and incorporating their ideas from the off. Having to work with local authorities, other arts organisations and a group of my peers was a list of stakeholders to manage I really can't envy today!
So what's my point? I challenged myself to something which was far beyond what was really needed to achieve myGold Award - trust me you can do something a lot simpler and probably learn about as much - and this is the benefit of the Arts Award Programme. My Gold Adviser was phenomenal, she believed in me and provided a great framework of support as did the regional Arts Award team at the time. Grab the opportunities that leadership projects present, and make of them what you will.
So this is organising a festival, but what about attending? Equally as valuable to unit 1 could festivals be used. Inspiration for a Part D opinion piece about the ethics of profit sharing fringe theatre? Ideal work experience volunteering at the Isle of Wight Festival for your Part B? Maybe you use it as a chance to meet and talk to a range of artists for your part C - just like we did at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. You could even use it as a platform for sharing your progression in extending your arts practice with Part A - being part of a local group submitting a new piece of work.
Festivals are not only good for the soul, but you can be sure that it can be productive in helping you achieve a Gold Arts Award (maybe you can use this excuse for a return trip to Latitude next year!).