The Thrown Gauntlet Festival 2018: Thank you, An Apology, and your help going forward.
On the weekend of the 26-28 January, The Thrown Gauntlet Festival 2018 took place in 10 homes, the Bowly Park and The Jacobs Ladder Inn around Smithick, as over 100 performers and artists showcased theatre, music, fine art and much more.
We – as organisers – were heartened to see families, pensioners and students all mingling to watch dance on the Bowly, to see young and old painting and printing works in the festival’s ‘Creative Corner’, and to witness people from all walks of life exploring artists work within their neighbours’ homes. The festival aimed to strike up dialogue around art, particularly amongst the different communities living in the area in which The Thrown Gauntlet Festival was located. The points at which we witnessed this happening have come to be our fondest memories of this years event.
It was lovely to catch some wonderful conversations with many of you, and to hear some positive feedback on individual pieces of artwork. It was a joy to see the shocked, happy or laughing faces of people who were enthralled by performance, neighbours talking with neighbours, and to hear approval from many at the concept and intentions of the festival.
To all who came, I hope you found at least some of the art on show enjoyable, and some challenging – and even if you didn’t, I hope the novelty of seeing art in strangers homes created enough curiosity to make your weekend a little different from the norm.
It is worth noting that, being a not-for-profit event with no paid staff, directors or volunteers, we rely heavily on the kindness and efforts of our neighbours and team for engaging positively with the festival. Whether you attended the festival, gave up your house, helped out on the weekend or even gave the festival a platform to help us speak with the community (regardless of whether you attended or not) we’d thus like to offer a massive thank you for making the festival – generally speaking – a success.
We should also thank the weather, for though the sun did not exactly shine on us, it barely rained!
However, for some Smithwick Residents, the weekend was not perfect. We were sorry and angry to hear of a noise disturbance in the early hours of Sunday 28th January along Chapel Terrace. After TGF’s Saturday night programme ended at The Jacobs Ladder Inn there seems to have been a party, which whilst not organised by us, was obviously planned with the understanding that a crowd would be near The Jacobs Ladder after 1am – when our Saturday night fixture ended.
We organised the festival with the explicit intent of engaging with the community and wanting the community to engage with each other; we’re a non-profit festival and getting local residents to come and enjoy the event was and is one of our main aims.
The actions of the Chapel Terrace party organisers stand at complete odds with what this festival is about, and we were terrified, angry, upset and sorry to hear of the sleepless and uncomfortable night some of you had.
In regard to the Festival itself, it was lovely to see a mixture of children, parents and students in Bowly Park over the weekend, and to see people joining in with the interactive art and poetry taking place there. We did however receive a complaint of poets swearing in a couple pieces of performances, and some smoking taking place in the Bowly.
Whilst a couple of pieces were labelled explicit, we wanted the daytime element of festival to be as child friendly as possible – with the “creative corner” being a primary example of this. For this reason it was lovely and hugely encouraging to see children attending the event (something we did not really see in the 1st year of the festival). However, smoking and swearing in perhaps the most naturally family friendly space of the festival does not match this aim, and clearly we did not brief volunteers, performers and our team well enough on preventing this. Our apologies go out to anyone who was offended by this, and we will be correcting this issue for future events (as well as continuing to encourage children’s involvement in art).
All incidents which occurred in and immediately around our festival will be discussed in our upcoming meeting with the aim of stopping these incidents from happening again. If you have anything else to report, we would really like to hear from you and you can get in contact via email@example.com, or message our facebook page (for a quicker response).
Going forward, it is our intention to grow this festival and the aims of it with your support. To do this we need your input.
Though a huge improvement on last years event, the festival has a long way to go in terms of engaging more elements of the local residents and in fostering a full community atmosphere. Ideally, we would love a long-time local resident on next year’s organising committee, though it was amazing to have submitted artworks from long term Falmouth residents for the first time. Again, a massive thank you to all involved is in order.
One way you could immediately help with the festival and the community is to fill out our community questionnaire here – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GS5KH5V – which will also be distributed to a number of houses within the coming weeks.
If you did come to the festival, thank you for coming, and if you didn’t make it this time, we hope to see you in the future.
If you would like to talk to us further about anything discussed (or not discussed), feel free to contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org, or message our facebook page (for a quicker response).
Amos and Yusef, Co-Directors at The Thrown Gauntlet Festival.
(All Photo credit goes to Robin Markland)
as Word Document here.