Posted 1 March 2010
A Question of Fierce
What would make Fierce Festival a unique experience? What would compel you to visit this festival not only if you lived in the West Midlands, but nationally and internationally? How does Fierce best nourish and support emerging practices in the West Midlands? How could this festival distinguish itself from others of its kind, not just in content but philosophically? How do you engage an audience with a shake-up after a fallow year? What would encourage committed audience engagement and new faces at the festival? And how can Fierce contribute to the ‘Birmingham Renaissance’?
Festivals are proliferating across a range of art forms; there is an appetite for them and perhaps the sense of ‘togetherness’ they can offer is in increasing demand as a corrective to the isolated and sometime lonely metropolitan existence that envelops us. In the realm of performance, live art and theatre there is an abundance of national-scale festivals across the UK. However, we observe that the actual range in terms of their programming models is surprisingly narrow. Further, it is increasingly the case that performance and music festivals operate as informal touring circuits; with one successful show passed like a baton from festival to festival. Although this may serve the reputation of a particular show, is this the role of a festival? These replications of content serve to weaken the specificity of the festival, its curatorial voice and its uniqueness. Festivals are in danger of losing the singular, eruptive, ‘break-from-the ordinary’ quality – by which they earn their name.
How we curate, deliver and communicate our festival and surrounding artistic activity will be driven by these questions? If you have responses, disagreements, suggestions – we’d like to hear them.