The first green festival took place in the first year I was in Newcastle, and I've been involved in all kinds of ways with it ever since then - even writing up its history once (a history I've since lost). I'm no longer 'secretary', sit on the management committee or even go to planning meetings, and this means I can enjoy it far far more - without the stress of money and such, and so I'm free to do whatever idea I think of each year - and every year different!
(much respect and gratitude to those who do stick at that babylonian side of things, you make a beautiful free thing happen that would not exist without you - no corporation or council would ever have created the green festival, and nor would they have kept it going through all the weathers we've faced)
Last year I gave away strawberry plants and did collaborative typewriting with 2 borrowed typewriters. These created a crazily meandering collaborative story / stream of consciousness that I loved, and I learnt then - by doing for the first time - how to make such a thing more readable, copyable and manageable in future (isn't -able a useful word ending!)
This year I based myself in the sensory spaces and family area, meeting some lovely new faces, and I roped in other members of the Paper Jam Comics Collective to set up a drawing table and mini comics workshops. I was pretty exhausted on the first day, and under-prepared, because of volunteering at the Star and Shadow for an afterparty the night before, meaning I didn't get home till 4am, long after the sky was light. Sunday was better for me because I'd had some sleep. Thanks to Joe and Vanessa for those crucial turkish coffees.
Mainly this year I did two things: one was getting children to imagine rooms to stick on 'our dream house' - and the forgiving weather meant that this structure (built by Jack) could stay outside in the sometimes-sun, which made it nice and visible. Plus it was a fairly easy drawing activity to run, with kids having the chance to display their artwork, and with us able to look elsewhere for much of the time, just supplying regular bursts of encouragement, enthusiasm, tidying and recognition for their work! Many thanks to Anton & family, Neringa and Lydia for getting this activity started with their own dream rooms!
I didn't set up the paper jam stall as planned, or even get round to selling my 'Pagan Geordie Yearbook' which I'd got printed especially in time. But there were too many folk to chat to, and things to watch over, to do that as well as the creative stuff.
The second thing I brought in on Sunday, after people asked for it on Saturday and yes, it was collaborative typewriting again - I even drove out to Bardon Mill especially to fetch the typewriter on Saturday night, rather than go out drinking. Again, I kind of 'managed' this activity without giving it my constant attention and support, so that I was just encouraging participants, moving the paper, fixing the ribbon etc.. and so this year I hardly wrote anything on it myself. Special recognition goes to Tom for heroically sitting with it under a tree, rather abandoned by me, as he listened to bands at the lakeside.
I'd also, on Friday, helped Jack make his 'Thrive or Dive' interactive exhibit, which he finished with added dribbling cups and did a pretty good job I think of explaining to interested participants in the permaculture area. Money spent locally, the effects and the variations, and how to help a neighbourhood thrive!
I also gave out 'interview yourself' questionairres and mini 'monster review' sheets to random people, and I will cobble together a kind of zine thing out of these, the typewriter stream and other artwork when I get a few more back.
Of course the other thing I did was film bits and pieces of the festival, as linked to the photos above, and for this I used a camera borrowed from SCAN (thanks SCAN). I found it quite fun, and haven't missed not having a stills camera half as much as I expected.
The Overall Green Festival (15 mins)
The Family Area (10 mins)
Collaborative Typewriting (2 mins)
Thrive or Dive (5 mins)
Nathan & Loki's Circus Show (5 mins)
And The Show Finale (1 min)
Next year I'm not sure what I'll do, with my brain currently playing with the idea of making some puppet characters that then feature in a weird kind of guided-video-to-the-festival. I'll decide next May, and you're invited to join with me, in whatever it is I do!