Saturday, 1 August 2009

Festivals and Form Fillings

Festivals are tricky beasts. Earlier on this year I sent off dozens of proposals to, and filled in forms for, various festivals, for the Collective - offering everything from storytelling and leather workshops to willow sculpture, lantern making, fire juggling, and the rest. Some lost it in the pile of applications, some booked acts they'd had for get the picture... and some...waited right until the wire until getting in touch. Meaning that despite four weeks of planning and form filling in January and February, the Collective is double booked over mid August! Wayne, Mel, etc. to the Sunrise Off Grid, - Andi, Mandy, Liz etc. to the Beautiful Days...and me still trying to decide which to be at! We have been at different events over the same weekends many times naturally, but this was a first, as both festivals wanted more than two members, i.e. a group of us over exactly the same four days. And of course after the initial phonecalls, festival organizers are usually so overworked, they want the details of who does what all over again - mercifully a shorter e-mail this time! Although more frantic phonecalls to the newer members as what I don't have is an on tap encyclopedic knowledge of everything they do yet! (As everyone does more than one thing, often quite a few more). And then MORE forms to fill in with everyone's name, registration numbers, meal allocation if appropriate, tent size...
   With two members in NZ and two busy/away, the current twelve members of the Collective are back up to eight active ones - and it's just as well! The fourth ticket for the latest festival: We need to know what all the others are doing to see which of them can make it. A fire dancer, performance poet, artist etc. as they'd like Devon artists by preference? but she's working over those dates... Another of those who was on the Bicton art course who's Devon-based? but he's already got a ticket...and the festival wants the form by Wednesday... All I can say is, thank God three artists joined up and two others came on the scene within the last few months! Four to cover one event, and three of us to cover another... The Collective really has kept on growing despite the absence of two of it's original core members and inspirations. They are of course still valued members, but obviously we're not able to do events together because of a small matter of some thousands of miles! Not that I was worried about the Collective just winding down exactly, but such groups often do have a short shelf life - and we've had our share of things to resolve! where a mixture of money, friendship, couple dynamics, professionalism, work, creativity, who's idea was x?, organization, travel, meals, and all the things too nefarious and various to mention, can and do collide together to make things difficult. 
   That the number of reliable and pleasant artists we find we can work well with and who want to become part of 'it' in some way, is expanding, makes all those bloody forms feel not such a complete grind of time and effort, and all the hassle - including phonecalls every five minutes just as you're on your way to grab six days off! and e-mailing and ringing round arranging stuff when you're actually technically on holiday and all you really want to do is muck around on a piano and do other relaxing stuff...feel not quite so relentless. 

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