Arabia Street Festival 2012 has been packed away for winter. The realities of my personal life required my attendance away from the event production just before the festival, and I didn’t get back until the 14th of May; just in time to help the others carry away the last things, roll up banderols and clean up Kääntöpaikka. Everything ran smoothly in my absence; there were a number of committed people making everything happen, and when I asked to hear how everybody felt about the festival, I got the impression that it had gone very well indeed. There were approximately six thousand (6000!) visitors, you could hardly move in Intiankatu, and the visitors, organisers and artists had a good time. I even heard a wild rumour that street artists from Helsinki Underground Art came in throughout the day. Yes, there is an audience for an urban, uncommercial and open festival that relies on volunteers. A festival like that has something to give for all those involved. This experience has taught to me, for one, a lot about producing this kind of events, and my head is simply aswarm with ideas of how to utilise this information.
Why does this thing work, then? Why is this so interesting and meaningful? One important aspect that has touched me is volunteering and the fact that volunteers are looked after. I doubt I’m the only one who has been more than happy with the support and encouragement I’ve received, and the occasions where I’ve been told to do a certain thing in a precisely certain way have been scarce. For the participating artists, we had some food and a warm place where they could enjoy the atmosphere and socialise with other artists. Maybe a small thing but sometimes it’s the small, concrete “gestures of goodwill” are the foundation for an innovative and efficient atmosphere that makes miracles like this happen: a festival with six thousand visitors, and all organised by volunteers.
One last heartfelt “thank you!” to all those who participated in one way or another, it has been a pleasure working with you!
Minna the co-ordinator
Translation by Pigasus Translations.