During the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of September 2017, Hull hosted it's annual Freedom Festival which this year celebrated it's 10th anniversary. Now if you have never heard of this festival and would like to know more about it, and what the festival means you can do so by visiting their about page by click here.
Not only was this years Freedom Festival it's 10th anniversary, it was taking place during the City of Culture. Two reasons for this to be the best festival. That is what I was hoping for along with other visitors who both them and I were sadly very disappointed in this years festival.
This year was more like a food and drink festival with the odd entertainment. No matter where you went there were plenty of food and drink stalls, some even taking up space where in previous years there had been entertainment. There was only one music stage this year which was tucked away at the bottom of Queens Street / Nelson Street. Other years there has been more than one stage for live music. A lot of the areas used in previous years had nothing going on, and it seemed the acts were far too spread around the city. The booklet had printing errors so saying some acts were a ticket only event when they weren't. It seemed the imagination and creativeness had left the organisers.
On Friday night I went to watch a performance called Les Girafes by Compagnie Off. It was a tale about a circus director who dreams about his giraffes jumping through circles of fire as his wife looks on and sings. The whole act then starts to parade through the city stopping and various locations to continue performing. Sadly the weather wasn't on our side during the night and it kept raining on and off, but it didn't stop people from enjoying the show. It also got very busy so I didn't see the whole show and said goodbye to it as it made it's way down Whitefrigate towards Trinity Square.
Saturday's weather was completely different and the day started very sunny and warm. Perfect conditions for the festival. I decided to split my day up and visit in the morning then go back in the early evening rather than walk about town all day. I started in Queens Gardens but ended up making my way to the Marina area.
The first act I saw was called The Voyage of La Sibylle by Copperdollar. A very entertaining street theatre performance where both characters are out of the 1930's and surviving in the 21st century. Betty is the character who has the job of looking after her mistress, who is just a head in a bird cage without a body. They travel the streets as Betty looks for members of the audience to help look for things to cancel the curse and help La Sibylle get her body back.
My next location was Princes Dock Street, where La Dinamo were due to start at 2pm. This was an amazing music act who not only performed in fix locations, but also performed while riding on bikes. They started their performance at the lower end of Princes Dock Street, where they started to attract a huge crowd. They then took the music on the road and made their way down Princes Dock Street, where the crowd followed. Even thou I was enjoying this group and their music, I knew for a fact it would be so busy and manic I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest. I was very pleased that I got there before they started so I could witness and watch half of their performance.
This was where the lack of event staff became an issue. Because the band were playing in the middle of Prince Dock Street, the crowd was huge and although people were enjoying watching them perform, people who just wanted to get passed found it very difficult as there was no space kept clear for us all. You ended up having people trying to walk in both directions, and I could see that tempers were on the rise. When I finally got through to the other side, I noticed there wasn't any event staff at all. I was very surprised that no one had been crushed or needed medical assistance.
So after seeing a couple of acts I returned home for a break, download what photos I had taken and recharge my batteries ready for my return. I returned back to the festival at 6pm to have another look around and also catch a couple more acts.
The next act I enjoyed was another street theatre performance from a company called Swank Theatre. They performed a piece called Jolly Holiday. The Jolly family, consisting of Big Mam, Wee Dad, Dolly, Willy and Nana Noreen, are on their summer holiday taking in the sites of the City of Hull. This was a great piece of street theatre and puppetry which was very popular with the crowds.
The next act on my list to see that night was another street theatre performance called Granthology. DJ Red and The Nanamuffins walk the street with they musical writing bureau showing the youngsters of today what moves they have and getting down to all kind of music. This was another walk about piece which also attracted a huge crowd when it eventually stopped on the corner on Humber Street and Queen Street. I found myself somehow being pushed to the side, so like others I had to take to standing on some benches so I could watch. Sadly this can be the trouble with acts during the festival if they perform on the move, or not performing on a stage. You have to been in the right place at the right time.
The last act I saw on the Saturday was a very cleaver act called Saurus: Giant Beasts from Prehistoric Times. This involved three men on stilts, who were then fitted inside to the rest of their costume and once stood up and walking about, became the giant prehistoric dinosaurs. Walking around the crowds in search of food, lowering their heads and scaring the crowds. This act came with a great theatrical look and also included a deafening roar.
Sunday morning I started in Queens Gardens and waited for the first showing of a show called Epico the Dragon. This was a brilliant and clever piece of theatre and very entertaining to watch. The main character was called Sir Aurelious Jones, who along with his maid were on a quest with the help of a child from the audience to locate and tame Epico the Dragon. Epico knows of Aurelious and seeks revenge for the way Sir Aurelious Jones has treated him in the past. It is up to the child volunteer to help Sir Aurelious Jones apologise so Epico will forgive him.
Luckily the next act I wanted to see was also in Queens Gardens in the other corner and was called Equilibrius by The Bullzini Family. This act was a magical world of the circus high wire walking. Performing many stunts as they balanced on the rope from dancing, sitting on a chair to their finale of riding a bike from one side to the other.
Princes Dock street was my next location as I wanted to see more of Swank Theatre - Jolly Holiday as I didn't see the whole performance the evening before. After this act it was time for something to eat, and a break so I made my way back home to download my photos and video footage ready for the evening.
Sadly they wasn't really anything going on that I found interesting in the evening. Some of the stall and food markets had already packed away. I stayed for about an hour before deciding to call it a night and head back home.
I am very pleased I managed to get some good photos this year, as it can be very difficult sometimes trying to take photos especially when you have busy crowds of people. To view all the photos from this years Freedom Festival that I took please click here.
Below is a vlog from the Freedom Festival that I filmed and is online on my You Tube channel. Click here to visit my channel and feel free to like, share and subscribe.