Freedom Festival 2022!

Hey guys! I’m very excited to be writing this post as it is always one of my favourite events to attend in Hull. The Freedom Festival was back this year for the 15th time, spanning across 10 days. Lots of exciting acts and installations entered the city for another year from the 26th August to the 4th September. We were unfortunately away for most of this time period so we only attended four events on 3rd September. However, it was brilliant to attend the festival again for another year, even though we would’ve liked to have been more involved, and I’m already looking forward to next year! So, here are my thoughts on the four events that we did see as part of the Freedom Festival 2022.

Lifted‘, Mimbre

This act by Mimbre centred around the concept of supporting each other and finding the perfect balance. Three female performers acted out this idea through different balancing positions and movements. Sometimes, they found the perfect position where each person seemed to fit together like a jigsaw. At other times, they portrayed being unwilling to participate and carry each other or not being in sync enough with one another to be able to provide support in this way. I marvelled at the strength of the performers in being able to carry each other in some very interesting positions as well as their ability to make every action look effortless. The amount of work that goes into an intricate performance such as this is immense and I really applauded them for that. The simplicity of the props, where only chairs were used to split up each section of the performance when they sat on them, put even more of a spotlight onto the movements and balancing that was key to the act overall. The message behind the performance seemed to be the importance of supporting each other in the right way for each individual in society especially in important issues such as racism and feminism. This is so relevant to every person watching the performance in today’s world and I definitely found it to be a very enjoyable performance overall.

‘Last Orders’, 2Faced Dance Company

From the company that brought us ‘Power’ last year at the festival, they were back again with a difference performance this year. ‘Last Orders’ centred around the exposure of male bravado and toxic masculinity at the local pub where four guys who couldn’t be more different were thrown together and forced to move past their obvious differences. The performance mixed a booming soundtrack that was very reminiscent of the pub with acrobatic dance movements and this poignant underlining message that promoted unity rather than division. Tables and a bar along with fake alcoholic drinks were used effectively as props throughout the performance, often to highlight the progression of the drunken state that the four men were falling into. Different emotions were portrayed from happiness to anger to insecurity which accurately represented how quickly a person’s mood can change when under the influence of alcohol. Much like ‘Lifted’, the strength and athleticism that each move required was not lost on me and I really enjoyed watching how the storyline developed throughout the performance. It’s always nice to see a company return to the festival for the second year in a row and this year’s act certainly lived up to the one they delivered last year.

‘Mirage’, Compagnie Dyptik

‘Mirage’ can be defined as an unrealistic hope or dream that cannot be achieved and this was the concept that the whole performance revolved around. A group of dancers portrayed the dangers of falling into insanity as reality slips through your fingers. The performance was very much up for interpretation and to me, I imagined that something in their mind or body was providing them with the chance to escape cruel reality but when real life caught up to them, they struggled to cope and slipped towards insanity as a result. The mood throughout the performance was extremely volatile in relation to this. Episodes of energetic dance sequences were contrasted with intense movements where the performers seemed as though they had completely lost control of themselves. The eerie music that accompanied this intensified the much more sombre mood that it invoked. The audience longed for the catchy dance music that accompanied their synchronised and energetic choreography as opposed to this eerie music that seemed to haunt them and cause them to behave in very strange ways. We had a front row seat to some of this strange behaviour as one of the performers regularly broke away from the others to approach the speaker that was near where we were standing. The emptiness that was in his eyes as he ran his fingers between his teeth and leaned against the speaker as if it was the only thing that could support him was haunting and it was hard believe he was acting when it seemed so real. It reminded me of someone who was struggling with drug abuse or an illness like schizophrenia which definitely fits into the narrative of escapism. The performance as a whole drew mixed opinions from our family but to me, it was art and art is not always meant to be understood by everyone. Personally, I really enjoyed the performance and I was in complete admiration at the ability of the performers to effectively portray such contrasting emotions in their energetic dance sequences and eerie dance movements. The acting was so believable that it was hard to comprehend that the detachment from reality that they were experiencing was not real.

‘Wire Attire’, Sam Goodburn

Funny. Heartwarming. Impressive. ‘Wire Attire’ starred Sam Goodburn who captured the audience’s attention with his selection of biscuits that he ate during the performance, his wacky outfits and his tricks on his unicycle that progressively got more exciting throughout the act. He started off in a red dressing gown with a pink bobble hat and one of his tricks was to undress himself (down to a vest and shorts!) and then redress himself in a black suit and a white bobble hat. The whole performance centred around comedy mixed with his genuine skills on the unicycle and he had the audience in fits of laughter at various points such as when he made a strange sound that resembled ‘woah’ so the audience could mimic him and build up to one of the many impressive tricks he performed. By far his best trick was riding the unicycle across a tightrope. You could see the concentration and commitment he had to this trick as he clearly wanted to perform it well for the benefit of the audience. He certainly didn’t let us down and it was remarkable to see it happen. The amount of balance, strength and skill that it must have taken was very much appreciated by me and it was a brilliant finale to his act. In conclusion, I really enjoyed this lighthearted act and it was the perfect way to finish off our Freedom Festival 2022!

Overall, I really enjoyed our day out at the Freedom Festival. I’ve heard several comments this year that the Festival was more lowkey than usual which I disagree with and I wonder if spreading it over 10 days and having it in lots of different, separate locations is what has made people believe this. In my eyes, we are so lucky as a city to have an independent arts and culture festival that is free and that draws amazing acts from all over the world. I’m already looking forward to supporting this incredible festival by visiting again next year!

Thank you for reading this post! There will be another one out soon but until then bye for now!

Amelia Grace a.k.a Amelia in Hull

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