I’m very excited. On Friday I’m heading into rural Waterford – and I mean rural – to a festival called Blazing Horse.
What makes Blazing Horse so different from the multitude of festivals that proliferate during the summer and autumn months in Ireland is that it’s a festival that celebrates friendships, co-operation and collective solidarity.
Running for an entire weekend, the festival is produced, programmed and run for free by and for people connected to one another on a very real and intimate level. There are no sponsors, advertising, press, health and safety plans, red tape or tickets. There is no desire to be recognised by the establishment, it doesn’t sell itself on any level and has no wish to be part of the herd, those other events that try so very hard to position themselves as the alternative, the real, the authentic, the new voice, whatever, blah, blah, blah. No, Blazing Horse is purely about people.
But how has it come to this?
How have we come to a point where a festival that is built by and for people should be so unusual, different, unique?
Perhaps it has something to do with money, time and regulations however I think it’s more than that. For I believe we have arrived at a point where people simply don’t do anything unless there is something in it for them, unless there is an angle they can exploit for future use and further gain.
We live in a world – under a system – that puts a monetary value on our labour, skills and time.
We live in a world that puts the accumulation of capital above everything else; above community, culture and our relationships with each other.
And for what?
The truth is that this view, this way of perceiving our relationship with the world, our community, chains us to the status quo, a way of life that is ultimately empty, devoid of possibility, of culture, of making, being, life – doing.
Surely our lives are worth more than that?
We don’t live in a supermarket buying whatever is on offer whenever it’s in fashion do we?
We’re not fated to be passive spectators in our own lives are we?
Are we? Is that what we are? Is that it?
On Friday when I arrive my food and drink will go to a common table, help freely given and a quiet understanding will give permeate through the space and give life to the event. A series of life affirming actions will set fire to a wonderful weekend.
This is what I want my life to be about. This is what we should aspire to in whatever way we can. It doesn’t have to be a festival in rural Ireland, it only has to be, as John Holloway describes it, the making of a crack, the throwing of a stone against the ice that has frozen over human possibility.
“Imagine a sheet of ice covering a dark lake of possibility. We scream ‘NO’ so loud that the ice begins to crack. What is it that is uncovered? What is that dark liquid that (sometimes, not always) slowly or quickly bubbles up through the crack? We shall call it dignity…..Cracks are explorations – creations of a world that does not yet exist. We walk over the threshold into a counter – world in which exploration is indistinguishable from creation: the only paths are those we make by walking”
John Holloway from Crack Capitalism,
I am proud and humbled to have been asked, as a part of the mutantspace skills exchange, to contribute to the festival. I can’t wait. ll be back on Monday to tell you all about it.
Photo by Dave Manser
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