Fierce Festival 2019 / Birmingham, UK / 15 – 20 October

Fierce Press Gang: A Day At Collecting Fireworks

Written by Emma O’Brien

So, I was standing outside a bright yellow building with the shutters firmly closed, wondering what I was in for, and more worryingly that whatever it was, I was going to be on my own. A woman walked out after her half hour was up with a huge grin on her face. I was then greeted by an extremely friendly woman,who sat me back in a chair, in a dark room and then I was left alone for 15 minutes, feeling just the teeniest bit anxious.

I needn’t have worried, because  those 15 minutes were so serene and peaceful that I came out feeling more relaxed than I can ever remember. Audio played above me, 8 random strangers letting me into their deepest memories, which has made them who they are today. To accompany the voices were lights, that would dim and twinkle and keep you mesmerized for as long as they were on.

I can honestly say that I didn’t want to move out of the chair that I had so happily sunk into. I was taken into the room adjacent to the one I had just been in, which followed the same theme/mood. There I was presented with a microphone, where I was to record my own memory, that had something to do with performance.

The memory I chose to share was a quite recent one, that happened on New Years eve. There’s huge hill in my area that overlooks a load of back gardens, my boyfriend and I decided to sit on this hill and wait for midnight, to see everybody lighting their fireworks, which was a pretty extraordinary sight and was better than any firework display I’ve seen. This was a performance in itself. The reason I chose this story is because it intertwined with the title too. I was happy to find out that this recording is going to be put into their archive and used in other projects.

With the natural light startling me as I walked out, I couldn’t help but think about how personal the event is, and how effective it is in making you feel good because you’re hearing other people’s happy and remarkable memories. Out of all the events I’ve been to, this has defiantly been my favourite!