You can thank Sheri for that title – we used it as a hashtag for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival this year, and as an abbreviation of our theme, Our Streets Are Stories.
I always look forward to the CVAF anyway, but this year was extra special because I got Involved again and volunteered as the communications coordinator for the festival. This involved the usual social media effort, manning the Twitter and Instagram feeds while managing to keep myself as far removed from Facebook as possible. My alter ego on there suddenly became alarmingly popular though! This was a thinly disguised excuse to have an official reason to go out every night of the week and pack in as much festivalling as possible. I was creating valuable live coverage, honest! I even got an all access pass! (to a free festival).
I also had to help write press releases and schedule interviews with local media. Sheri (the chairperson) and other members of the planning committee were shunted off to TV and live radio interviews, frequently at horrendous times of the early morning. I did one myself too, at 6.45am on a Tuesday on community radio, practically guaranteeing me an audience of bus drivers and unfortunate Tim Hortons workers.
All these efforts paid off though, and the turn out was HUGE, despite the weather not being as exceptional as last year. One key message we tried to emphasise in our media briefings was that the festival is #AllWeekLong. So many people still seem to think the festival is just the Street Fair on the last Saturday, when there are arts, dance, theatre, literature, music and film events on every evening for the whole week. Here’s a small sample…
My parents arrived the first evening of festival week! A great way to start their summer holiday and I made sure to drag them to as many events as we could. They both even wrote and read poems at the poetry slam just 24 hours after their arrival! Poems had to be on the theme of ‘our streets are stories’ again. Here is my effort:
Cathedral Stories are worthy of glory
My poetry usually is not
While trying to avoid complication
I went for literal interpretation
The point of which I forgot.
It’s easier to start with a question, she says
How about, ‘What’s the word on the street?’
At this time of year
Stranger signs start to appear
One popped up today
A stencil, sprayed, just outside Safeway
“It’s Good To Be Alive” the street seems to say.
Our cathedral story truly began
Five years ago
Returning from another poetry slam
Or was it just burgers in here?
Memories fade, the details unclear
But walking home we were
Small girl complaining
It had started raining
Small girl stops, plastic jacket undone
Not caring, while I start quietly swearing
She sits on the curb
In a puddle, plants her feet
And starts reading her book
In the middle of the street.