Thousands 'Transported' to the carnival
Brightening up the grey skies with flashes of colour, and drowning out the sound of raindrops with uplifting drum beats and carnival music, the ArtReach event Night of Festivals was enjoyed by thousands of people in Boston last weekend.
Local community-based arts project Transported worked with creator ArtReach to bring Night of Festivals to Boston as part of its ongoing consultation programme.
More than a hundred members of the community took part - performing in the fantastic carnival processions working with Mandinga Arts, as part of the Transported face-painting team or as stewards over the two days of events.
David Hill, Director of ArtReach, said: "ArtReach was thrilled to bring Night of Festivals to Boston, and to work with the excellent team at Transported in sharing our work with the people of Boston and South Holland. It was fantastic to see the positive and enthusiastic response from local communities, as our array of carnival puppets, samba dancers and costumed performers paraded through Boston town centre putting a smile on thousands of faces and encouraging many to reach for their cameras and mobiles. Great fun despite the weather!"
In Central Park, a performance dome and storytelling yurt were erected and saw more than a thousand visitors over the weekend, with audiences enjoying a range of diverse performances including spoken word improvisation from Tongue Fu, and local choir Cantus Polonicum, among many others.
The ArtReach Nanoplex (a caravan which has been converted into a moving image gallery with surround sound) entertained around 200 visitors. The carnival elements of the weekend attracted a lot of attention and interaction (even during the frequent showers on both days!) as shoppers and passers-by were transfixed at the energy and musicality of Paraiso Samba, and marvelled at the colourful costumes by Mandinga Arts - so brilliantly brought to life by local performers, who darted in and out of crowds and shops.
Laura Molson, one of the local performers, said: "It was an incredible experience and I loved every minute of it. It was great working with the costumes and having the fantastic make up done. I loved being a skeleton and definitely won't be forgetting it for a long time."
The festival was also the beginning of a new social media project for Transported. Visitors to Night of Festivals who were snapping away with cameras and phones were encouraged to use the hashtag #transported when uploading them to social media sites - enabling the content to all come together on the buzz.transportedart.com website to create a bigger picture of what happened over the weekend, from the viewpoint of those who were there. At time of writing there have already been more than 300 uploads using the #transported tag - so if you took any pictures or videos over the weekend, please join in the fun by tagging them #transported if you upload to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, YouTube or Instragram.
Melissa Marlowe, Communications and Relationships Manager for Transported, said: "The Transported team were thrilled to bring this event to Boston in collaboration with ArtReach and although the weather wasn't very kind, everyone was determined to put on a good show regardless. We were extremely impressed with all of the local people we worked with, and are very grateful to them for their relentless hard work and enthusiasm which undoubtedly contributed to the event's success. Transported is all about 'inspiring creative journeys' and judging from the comments from all of the participants, the people who supported the event over the two days and the subsequent sharing on the Transported buzz website of footage and images, that definitely happened at Night of Festivals".
Night of Festivals enabled the Transported team of community researchers to ask local people about what kind of festivals they would like to see as part of the Transported project. Transported is an Arts Council England 'Creative People and Places' initiative which aims to get more people in Boston borough and South Holland enjoying and participating in arts activities. The first phase of consulting with the community for initial thoughts and ideas is now coming to an end - there will be an announcement soon about what different strands of activity are coming next as part of the programme for people to get involved in. But don't worry - Transported can exclusively reveal that there is a festival strand... and they will be back.
Cllr Paul Kenny, Mayor of Boston, said: "This was a real gem for the people of Boston despite the weather! I can't wait to see other events in the future."