Usually this time of year I am over-caffienated, harried, hardly sleeping and excited to the point of nausea. Usually this time of the year I am producing a festival.
In 2011, 2012 and 2013 I co-produced Canberra’s You Are Here festival. Now the festival continues, but with a new team of producers and new funding sources (the original iterations being commissioned by Robyn Archer for the Centenary of Canberra) and I’ve made the transition to other things. It’s been strange letting go. I always felt the festival was special and of value to Canberra, which is why we worked so hard, but for the first time I am seeing the whole thing from the outside, perhaps a little bit like the general punter might.
This year I held off finding out anything about the program until the thing was printed and box fresh. I went along to the program launch and grabbed the first copy I could. And holy hell does it look good. For the first time I am realising how great it actually is to have ten days of once-in-a-lifetime events to go to, all costing nothing, all within easy reach. To be home delivered incredible artists from the bigger cities. To be given license to break away from the art I would regularly see, the venues I would normally haunt and stretch myself; get uncomfortable even. I think people fall in love at festivals like this. With cities, art works, art makers and each other, or in the least get to know one another better.
The things I have seen in three years! Strangers touching fingertips, synchronised moves, santa claus, babies dancing, painted snails, cooking wrestlers, bearded divas, bread bartering, mass jogging, a funereal march, theatre in flippers, theatre in lab coats, theatre in the bath, theatre in a car, hipsters, anarchists, grandparents, bands and bands and bands and bands, basketball, chips and gravy, secret doorways, treasure maps, palm trees, taxi rides, cardboard cities, concerned citizens, five eulogies and more mashups than most people will ever hear in one lifetime. Approximately 215 other things, and hundreds more to come from hereon in.
Congratulations on your forth year You Are Here festival. You have made me love and understand Canberra like nothing else ever could.
You Are Here 2014 runs from March 13-23 in and around the Canberra CBD. There are no reasons not to go, other than the misfortune of not being in Canberra.