Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Lifestyle

Part of the Canberra community
for over 30 years

You Are Here y/n?

By blind - 24 March 2011 14

Lonsdale roasters

Hey RiotACT-folk,

So the You Are Here festival has finished. Thanks heaps to everyone who came, everyone who took part, everyone who commented or checked out the photos and videos via the internet, all that good jazz.

A few people have asked us, ‘Will You Are Here happen next year?’ The answer is, we don’t know. It depends a lot on what people have to say about it. If people say that it worked, then there’s a good chance it’ll go ahead again. If people think it was a good concept but point out problems in how it was carried out (just quietly: there were a few of these), then the festival can be re-examined, repaired or possibly rebuilt from scratch to address these. If people think it should be scrapped and replaced by something else (or by nothing at all), then they should have their say and make sure they get heard.

What we need to know is this:

1. What did you like about You Are Here?
2. What did you dislike?
3. What needs to change to make the festival better?

This is not just for those people who attended the festival, but also for those who just heard about it from friends or via the internet. The opinion of people who didn’t come are just as important as those of people who did. If you were interested by the printed brochure but turned off by the language in the event blurbs, if you wanted to come to events but they were scheduled at inconvenient times, if you love theatre and art and music but hate the idea of seeing it in a shopfront… all that is valuable to know.

Some interesting critiques of the festival have already been provided – I recommend Zoya Patel’s Lip Magazine article:

One concern is that the festival hasn’t managed to reach or represent enough different groups from the Canberra arts community. Although involvement in the actual coordination of the festival has been pretty equal in terms of gender… representation in terms of female performers and artists has been less apparent… where are all the girls? It’s questions like these that will need to be looked at, if the festival is to continue on next year.

Also worth checking out are some of Warwick Lynch’s comments on this very forum, particularly his debate with Hadley (near the end of the thread):

I’ve made mention of the Greens press release pushing the Re-new Canberra initiative in that initial comment, one of the things pushing me to discuss this other point of view is because In a few weeks the legislative assembly will be voting on the Re-new Canberra initiative funding, setting a precedent for wider community involvement with You Are Here could really help this cause, after all this is exactly what You Are Here is trying to achieve right? A lasting engagement between local government & local experimental or fringe arts practitioners year round?

Anthony Hayes’ comments regarding the relationships between artists, festival producers, property owners and the government offer a fairly frank perspective on the festival’s existence:

In the realm of the ‘ought’, the You Are Here festival admirably points to the empty shop spaces and asks ‘why can’t we create here?’ However such questions cannot be adequately answered by well meaning (or otherwise) art bureaucrats doling out cash. Too much depends upon the whim and largesse of the capricious patrons of the state and controllers of wealth

.

Lastly, the Fixed.org.au forum for fixed-gear bicycle enthusiasts hits exactly the right note in talking about the festival – totally irreverent piss-taking but with some constructive criticism thrown in:

EzyLee: It is part of the You Are Here festival, which should be renamed You Are Hipster.

Klips: I think it’s more “your artsy idea which would never get government funding on its own can finally be done somewhere with a potential for actual attendance here” festival. I support the idea of an arts festival, and I think they’ll learn lessons from this (e.g. make things have clearer objectives than just “show up on a bike”)

.

I should point out that in the last few days, we’ve begun researching renaming and rebranding the festival in line with EzyLee’s suggestion.

So! Comment! Say something! How to do it! You have three options:

1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. Visit You Are Here on Facebook and leave a comment there.
3. Email yahf2011@gmail.com, for real.

Thank you all –

Bally Artist Jam
Wrestlers and circus performers sharing skills at the Bally Artist Jam. Top of page: Roasters After-Hours Barrage, Lonsdale Street Roasters. Images by Holly Orkin.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
14 Responses to
You Are Here y/n?
Pommy bastard 2:10 pm 25 Mar 11

Jethro said :

I’m sure it appeals to a subset of people and for that I say continue enjoying your festival into the future.

For me and I would guess many others it appeared to be little more than people doing things they think are significant but actually aren’t.

For me the whole promotion (here, I saw none elsewhere,) smacked of elitism, snoot cocking, “look at me, look at me, look at me, aren’t I hip and cool and trendy!?!?”, and trying to be “controversial and confrontaive,” abet in a childish manner.

It came across as a group of students (all very conservative and homogenous in the “alternative” image of their grouping,) trying to avoid adulthood, have fun by sticking two fingers up at adults, and to draw attention to themselves.

I don’t know if that’s the impression you were trying to give, but that is the one I received.

astrojax 12:57 pm 25 Mar 11

Jethro said :

astrojax said :

Jethro said :

For me and I would guess many others it appeared to be little more than people doing things they think are significant but actually aren’t.

what, like posting droll vitriol in a public forum?

I don’t have misconceptions that my participation in discussions on the riot act is an act of significance. I am interested in local affairs and enjoy debate. My assessment of the You Are Here festival was that it should continue because the people involved clearly enjoyed it, but it seemed pretty meaningless to me and a fair few other people.

sure, but because they didn’t appeal to you means that the acts were therefore devoid of significance per se? which is what your comment inferred…

Jethro 7:14 am 25 Mar 11

astrojax said :

Jethro said :

For me and I would guess many others it appeared to be little more than people doing things they think are significant but actually aren’t.

what, like posting droll vitriol in a public forum?

I don’t have misconceptions that my participation in discussions on the riot act is an act of significance. I am interested in local affairs and enjoy debate. My assessment of the You Are Here festival was that it should continue because the people involved clearly enjoyed it, but it seemed pretty meaningless to me and a fair few other people.

blind 12:37 am 25 Mar 11

Hey – just wanted to weigh in to say thank you heaps for this – there are actually some seriously useful comments here, we will totally feed this stuff back to the Centenary.

Way to have nuanced opinions, all of you.

LSWCHP 10:59 pm 24 Mar 11

Jethro said :

I’m sure it appeals to a subset of people and for that I say continue enjoying your festival into the future.

For me and I would guess many others it appeared to be little more than people doing things they think are significant but actually aren’t.

That pretty much sums it up for me.

Good luck to you, and I wish you every success, because art is a great thing.

However, if you were in any way at all trying to attract me (male, middle aged, tertiary educated, married professional with kids, job, mortgage) then that hasn’t worked out very well. And I say this as someone with a deep interest in music (me, my wife and my kids all play a variety of instruments and my lounge room is choked with guitars and amps), cinema, live theatre, literature and art.

If I didn’t regularly cruise the RiotAct I wouldn’t have known it was on. Nobody I tried to discuss it with, from teenage kids, through hip twenty-something colleagues with amazing mobile phones, to other old farts at work or elsewhere had the slightest idea what I was on about when I mentioned it. So more and better marketing would probably help, regardless of your target audience.

A lot of what I saw on RiotAct didn’t attract me. I don’t feel actively excluded, because I’m not a wanker and just because something doesn’t appeal to me doesn’t make me think that the promoters are trying to piss me off. But still, it didn’t attract me.

It all revolved around Civic. Civic seems like a cesspit, or an armpit, or something, and I wouldn’t go anywhere near there, day or night, without packing heat. I have plenty of heat, but packing it is totally illegal, so I don’t go there at all. I suppose that even if something had truly interested me I still wouldn’t have gone. If there had been a gig somewhere in the wilds of Belco I probably would have attended.

Anyway, I hope you manage to have another lash at this next year. It sounds like some people had a lot of fun, and some tasty bread if nothing else. 🙂

STOLEN CAR 10:33 pm 24 Mar 11

…I was really impressed, and I hear the Torrance Community Dance Group have already booked in for next year

astrojax 9:27 pm 24 Mar 11

Jethro said :

For me and I would guess many others it appeared to be little more than people doing things they think are significant but actually aren’t.

what, like posting droll vitriol in a public forum?

Jethro 7:45 pm 24 Mar 11

I’m sure it appeals to a subset of people and for that I say continue enjoying your festival into the future.

For me and I would guess many others it appeared to be little more than people doing things they think are significant but actually aren’t.

thebrownstreak 2:00 pm 24 Mar 11

I thought it was brilliant.

But I didn’t go.

DBW 12:51 pm 24 Mar 11

Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend much of the festival, but from all reports it sounds like it went really well and presented some really interesting and unique events. As JB noted, aside from the inherant teething problems of an inaugural event such as this, there aren’t huge changes that need to occur I would think.

We also have to consider that by overcoming and making changes for next year we could also be harming the feel and quirkiness that made it what it was this year. Changes that I might be suggesting also may not be possible because of your funding, but I think having a stronger case and outline for next year will give you more of a chance and attracting more funding.

Some key recomendations I feel are needed:

– Stronger branding and identity of entire festival and events. I really like the ‘You Are Here’ title and think that should stay, but feel the design with regards to the website and print material could benefit from a creative agency being involved and giving the festival a stronger and clearer identity.

– Clearer program, list of events and descriptions and establishment of it much earlier. I found some of the events very confusing as to what they were all about and what they involved. It also all felt very rushed and last minute, no doubt because of the lack of time and resources on your behalf. But I think organising and confirming your program of events and promoting it over it a longer amount of time will allow more people to be involved and aware of the festival.

– Use of vacant shop fronts is a great idea I think, but possibly needed some form of solid signage/directions through the CBD to connect the vacant spaces. It felt at times as if you were wondering around trying to find something and not being too sure if you were on the right path. Something like a ‘You Are Here’ pathway through the CBD using signage and possibly some trail on the ground that connects all the spaces. This would also benefit the festival having a wider presence in the CBD and involving people who otherwise wouldn’t be aware about it.

– As has been mentioned before on RiotACT, involving people from wider areas in the arts could be benificial. But I also think the festival needs to retain it’s youthful/quirkier side of the arts to differentiate it from other festivals/events. Perhaps a good idea and one which is popular with many arts festivals, would be to allocate a curator to each section of the festival, someone with demonstrated local excellence in each category who can then work on the program for that section, organise events, liase with local artists and institutions.

– Open up the festival to discussion. Invite people to speak and debate about relevant areas to the festival and involve the audience. This also allows the oppertunity to invite interstate people to speak about their profession and provide forums and discussions with the public about different areas of the arts.

I could go on all day.. but these are just a few things I think could really benefit the festival for next year and make it grow into something bigger, better and (hopefully) permanent.

Keijidosha 12:05 pm 24 Mar 11

I didn’t feel excluded from the event, but the advertising and promotion for You Are Here did seem obscure and failed to engage me on any level. I’ve said before that this strategy may have been a decision made by the organisers, in which case that’s cool – I’m obviously not in their target audience.

On the other hand, if the organisers want to attract a wider audience they should consider being more direct and descriptive in their marketing.

astrojax 12:00 pm 24 Mar 11

the festival looked great, pity my work and family commitments didn’t see me get to very much – though I did pop in and swap something for Roberth Guth’s bread: yum! so maybe using two weekends worth of time would be good? and even some early morning events to shake up people’s expectations about when art should happen…

for a first time event, it semed to swing along pretty smoothly, if my reading on this forum is anything to go by – thanks jb for the constant stream of info – but i suspect a broader presence and stronger announcement might benefit the festival; few of my work colleagues knew what i was talking about, veen though several would be among your target demographic. i trust the success will help you argue for greater support from sponsors and investors in the future.

we are now here.

johnboy 11:20 am 24 Mar 11

For mine there weren’t any problems that a longer development cycle for the festival won’t have overcome.

Yes it was quirky, some say eclectic, and heavy on the theatricals. There’s nothing wrong to have an enabler of projects not quite big enough to stand on their own.

With plenty on that week for those with more mainstream tastes I don’t have much time for those claiming they were “excluded”.

Personally I feel excluded from events featuring aged entertainers decades past their prime. Don’t like it don’t go, stop complaining.

Now that everyone has a feel for what You Are Here can be, a solid round of applications by potential performers would give it a great chance to build for next year.

More licenced venues would be great too, for all that it involves extra hassle it should be revenue neutral at worst.

herbie 11:04 am 24 Mar 11

There was a festival?

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site