While the likes of Maverick Sabre and Labrith entertained the GFest crowds in Avenham Park at the weekend, next door neighbour Miller park played host to Blaze Festival as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and Preston Guild.Advertisement
Blaze is a cultural programme that covers Lancashire, Blackpool and the Fylde Coast. It supports young people, allowing them to take the lead on arts projects to develop essential skills.
Blog Preston managed to speak to three busy Blaze Festival producers at the event amid the music, street dancing and workshops. Emily Barron, Sanah Shan and Sandra Quarcoo, all 17, were very pleased that their hard work had paid off and were amazed at how great the festival site looked.
Hello, how what is your Blaze title and how long have you been involved?
Emily – I’m a Blaze Festival Producer for Urban Culture Jam (the festival’s Urban music and dance programme). It’s like an alternative Saturday job, based in the arts world.
Sanah – I’m also a Festival Producer and have been working on this for 6 months. It’s an entire team of young people.
Sandra – I’ve also been doing this for 6 months, I was picked up to be part of the production team. A 6th form teacher recommended Blaze, got me thinking about it as a career path. I’ve a new thing to put on my UCAS personal statement. People have the Duke of Edinburgh Award, but not many people have this.
What does it involve?
Emily – I go to a lot of meetings, write a lot of blogs and make a lot of videos for Urban Culture Jam. I help with the free running and raise awareness… We also discuss what we need and how we are to finance it.
What have you picked up and learnt from this?
Sanah – I’d never done a lot of this kind of thing before. I’ve learnt how to manage and produce things. We all put ideas forward, and contribute six hours a week to it on a Wednesday. It used to be monthly on a Saturday.
Emily – It’s gotten more intense recently. At first you just turned up, but now you get on with the job at hand. We’ve been working so hard in the build up to Blaze Festival. We were making decorations right up until the last moment.
How accepting was your College?
Emily – College was interested in Blaze so I’ve been given time to attend. I was concerned about one tutor as they are strict, but when I said I needed to do this they were very encouraging.
What have you enjoyed most?
Sanah – Learning new things, meeting new people and being part of something big. It’s hard work, but fun at the same time.
Sandra – I enjoyed watching the whole festival come together. I saw the best ideas being picked and develop. It was like a “group baby”.
Emily – It’s all got our genes in it, our own little niches!
Will Blaze continue after the festival?
Emily – It’s been put on as part of this years Cultural Olympiad and has been going for 3 years. We hope it will get more funding, fingers crossed, and that it will become a yearly event in Preston.
Sandra – I hope it will be a big thing each year like Leeds Festival but cleaner. I don’t like the camping side!
Emily – I don’t think Miller Park would allow camping anyway. It’s great seeing ideas coming together. Seeing it reach it’s potential is what I’ve enjoyed most.
Sandra – I did a double take when I walked in the park, thought “wow”! The Speigeltent is particularly amazing.
For more information on Blaze and how to be involved, visit http://www.blazeonline.org.uk