Hey guys!! This past weekend, Hull hosted the Freedom Festival for the 11th year. You can click here to catch up on the events of last year’s festival. Freedom Festival is one of Hull’s most cultural events and every year a wide variety of acts from all different places come to Hull with a range of different dance, acrobatic, comedy or other types of performances. Freedom Festival is one of my favourite events in Hull and every year I’m always very excited for it. However, this year, I got offered the opportunity to work as a young reporter for Pigzine at the Festival which is an online global magazine which follows an art installation called Pig all around the world. I will be talking more about my experience of being a Pigzine reporter in an upcoming blog post but for today’s post, I’m going to share with you some of the incredible events I was lucky enough to watch at the Freedom Festival.
RISE BY L’HOMME DEBOUT
On Friday night, a giant lady crafted from a wicker type material started off in Trinity Square and she was directed all along the streets of Hull with a puppet master controlling her every movement. When she first rose up, a choir of women dressed all in white sang softly and beautifully on a stage that faced her and this really added to the feel of the performance. She met up and interacted with two other puppets, a large wicker bird known as the bird of freedom and a smaller wicker lady which portrayed a younger version of herself. I can’t even imagine how much work and patience it must’ve taken to construct even one of the giant puppets. The original wicker giant was a representation of an eternal dream of equality and the large scale performance celebrated and remembered local and global stories of women and their struggle for equality and human rights. The giants drew in massive crowds of people who were in awe of their beauty as they gradually travelled around the streets of Hull. Towards the end of the event, the giants began to follow a crowd of women, brandishing signs about equal rights for women and chanting “Rise up!!” I thought that this factor really helped to drive across the story that was behind the event. It was amazing to watch as the giants journeyed through Hull and to really understand the amazing story and themes that were behind the event. ‘Rise’ was an incredible way of kickstarting the Freedom Festival 2018.
CAROUSEL BY SOUTHPAW DANCE COMPANY
If you read my blog post of Freedom Festival 2017, you might remember that Southpaw Dance Company were at the Festival last year, performing a piece called ‘Rush’. This year, they returned with a different piece called ‘Carousel’. ‘Carousel’ featured a fully operational carousel as a prop in their routine which centred around the lives of the mysterious characters who reside in the fairground. After the fair had shut for the night, its public facade was shattered in the private celebrations and personal tragedies that the members of an extremely close knit group experienced. The spectacular dance theatre performance hosted a mixture of music, dance and drama and focused in on the particular style of Balkan and gypsy influenced dance. This event was my favourite from the Freedom Festival 2018 because the combination of music, dancing and drama was absolutely incredible and the performance was very different from anything I’d ever witnessed before. I loved the style of dancing that was featured in the event and it takes an incredible amount of skill to perfectly execute each dance move and trick and the performers really delivered with this. I really hope that Southpaw Dance Company return to the Freedom Festival next year for the third time.
BLOCK BY NOFIT STATE CIRCUS AND MOTIONHOUSE
Block hosted an interesting fusion of dance and circus, pushing the limits of both art forms. It featured lots of daring tricks leaving the audience gasping in wonder and demanded daring physicality and incredibly precise timing from the performers. Twenty over sized blocks that resembled giant concrete Jenga blocks were used as props in the show and they were arranged around the stage by the performers and moved around at specific points of the performance. A lot of the tricks the artists executed incorporated the blocks and at one point towards the end of the show, they worked as a team to stack up the blocks like a massive Jenga tower. The story behind the performance was about life in the city and challenges and contradictions that are associated with it. I really enjoyed the event because the artists really pushed themselves physically to deliver a daring and amazing performance and it was interesting to watch them include the blocks in their tricks.
MUSEUM OF THE MOON BY LUKE GERRAM
If you read my Liverpool Travel Diary part 2, you might remember that I mentioned about a massive moon that was suspended from the ceiling of one of the cathedral. The moon has been touring around different churches in the U.K and it travelled to Hull Minster for Freedom Festival 2018. It measures seven metres in diameter and each centimetre of the spherical sculpture would equate to 5km of the moon’s surface. New musical compositions by award winning composer Dan Jones really added to the atmosphere the moon created. The internally lit sculpture looked stunning as it dangled from the roof of Hull Minster with hundreds of admirers gazing at its incredible beauty. It really enhanced the already spectacular interior of Hull Minster and it was really exciting to see it for the second time after Liverpool.
Thank you for reading this post!! Freedom Festival 2018 was one of the best weekends of this year so far and I really enjoyed myself. A massive thank you to all the organisers, staff, volunteers and acts involved with the Freedom Festival – you all did an amazing job of creating another unforgettable festival. I’m already counting down to Freedom Festival 2019!! There’ll be another post out soon but until then bye for now!!
Amelia Grace a.k.a Amelia in Hull