Freedom Festival is promoting itself as Hull’s “urban street festival”, relating both to some of the music acts featuring over the weekend as well as emphasising the characteristics of the city.
Hull a city which has built itself up. It has won City of Culture by simply showing the world what we already do. Other festivals, such as the Humber Street Sesh with its slogan of “a festival by the people for the people”, emphasise local talent and demonstrate the full palette of what Hull has to offer.
This year’s Freedom Festival has taken this on, ensuring that there is a bank of opportunities for visitors – local and those from further afield – to be a true part of the festivities. In Hull you do not simply turn up to watch an act, you become part of that act.
Throughout the summer, up to 400 people have been involved in creative masterclasses preparing for two of the main features of this weekend.
Saturday night features the smaller procession, leading the way to the Spellbound performance on Humber Quays. Organised by Walk the Plank who produced the torch procession at Freedom 2013, local people attended a 4-hour class on making willow lanterns, depicting the story of Rama and Sita. This is tied in with the story of Indian epic Ramayana which the Britain’s Got Talent finalists will tell on stage from 9pm. These lanterns will be carried with pride as pieces of art made by local people, with children under ten being able to join in with shadow banners.
Sunday features the larger procession, featuring general public, local communities and companies. Running groups, art companies and music acts are just some of the groups who will be joined by families and friends of Hull who too have been willing to give up their time to make props. The procession will feature hundreds of participants of all ages, depicting Nelson Mandela’s vision for a tolerant multi-cultural society as well as maintaining Hull’s heritage.
But you want to know how you can be involved! Well, there’s even more.
Also relating to this year’s focus on Nelson Mandela, you can make a flower in his honour. Visit Studio Eleven on Humber Street between the hours of 12-6pm on Friday and Saturday and 12-3pm on Sunday, and you can join organiser Adele Howitt in making a flower out of bone china. These will feature a temporary art installation featured on the Long Walk to Freedom alongside commissioned artists – temporary as these flowers will become part of the soil as time takes control and consumes the purity from the clay. It takes 10 minutes, but you will be a part of something which will become iconic in Hull, even if only for a certain length of time.
See something on the day and fancy a go – there are workshops held by some of the acts.
For adults and children, you can work together to produce your own book with the aid of Bootworks Theatre. Cost is £5 to cover the expense of materials, but will allow people of all abilities to try something new.
There are also many free workshops. Keelan Phillips will be showing off his BMX skills and offering you a chance to test yourself. You can participate in a bit of Parkour on Hull Marina with The Urban Playground team. You can even try out some circus skills with acrobatic artists Acrojou who will feature with their German Wheel.
Unlike most festivals which offer comedy and/or music, Freedom offers you a chance to do something different, to open up your mind to new experiences and opportunities. If you want to be a part of it, then they want you to participate.
All details can be found on the Freedom Festival website.