Cat Pinner writes:
The free event on Saturday 12 September was organised by Swindon Borough Council’s Youth Work Team and young people from across Swindon who came together to organise the event which topped last year’s crowd of 2,500.
In its fourth year the Youth Festival is aimed at young people aged 11-25, designed to explore the finer side of youth culture, helping young people to become more involved with what’s on offer from Swindon’s Youth Service and to showcase young talent.
The day was kicked off with live music performing from 1-10pm in The Bowl headlined by Guitar Stools and Cigarettes, winners of this year’s Battle of The Bands competition from the Underground Youth Centre in the Orbital Retail Park in North Swindon. 13 live bands played along with DJs and dancers from the Boombox.
Members of the Platform were also on hand in the Information Zone to talk about the new youth centre in the former railway museum on Faringdon Road. Inside, construction is coming along and organisers are making way for a railway carriage to be placed inside to house the games area and computers that will run the full length of the building. There will also be a large stage, complete with lighting rig and dance studio. Currently the Platform is estimated to hold 200 people and downstairs will be kept open plan to allow it to be a good future concert venue. The Platform is now set to open in November and organisers are hoping for events to be finalised by late October.
The Urban Arts Zone featured dance performances, street art, circus skills and DJs from across the town. The Boombox from Swindon Youth Service held dance workshops and showcased some of their talent. The mobile music project teaches music technology, DJ skills and street dance. The Boombox has been running for 3 years and has already produced some fantastic dancers. “We always have a presence here. Some people who have come through the workshops are even performing later on the main stage,” said one of the dancers. Dr Schmooo’s Urban Circus was also on hand to showcase their circus skills with impressive performances from the bandstand, including juggling, hula hoop tricks and unicycle performances, all involving members of the audience.
Outside of the arts scene the Health Peer Education group were around from the Health Zone with a health based quiz, sex education for young people and members of the Ask Frank campaign also had a stand. Guests were also invited to ‘treat yourself and glam it up in the glam zone’ with henna tattoos, members of Lush, hairdressing, makeup and nail art for every beauty need, combined with art projects from the Eco Zone, bringing new life to old bags and t-shirts.
For the more athletic type the Activity Zone held the inflatable 5 a side football, King of the Court Basketball, fitness tests, mountain boarding, American football, ultimate Frisbee and Frisbee golf getting people involved with alternative sport.
The Youth Tent also featured various youth centres from across Swindon including young people from Toothill Farm Youth Club. 3 members from the group have been working particularly closely with Youth Worker Jane Golbourne for the Youth Festival to raise funds for their youth club by preparing and cooking fresh chicken from start to finish. “Chris, Jordan and Bobby have done all the cooking and preparation. They were cooking until 11.30pm last night. They’ve all worked really hard,” says Janet. The youth club also had a raffle stand with prizes generously donated from local schools and businesses helping to raise money for the club based at Toothill farm.
The live music continued throughout the evening with some energetic performances that pulled the crowds. The festival raised money and awareness for the local youth services – the question is how will the organisers top it next year?