In the morning, I waited. I didn’t want to open my eyes, I was afraid we’d have bad weather. Finally, I took the plunge. The sun is shining and the sky is blue! THE PERFECT FESTIVAL WEATHER!
Of course, the rain and the hellish wind started up conveniently around noon when the festival started. When the first people came, I realized there was nothing more I could do. The thing for which we’ve worked for three months starts now. It’s time to sit back and look around in wonder.
I’m not exactly sure what I expected of the day of the festival. More haste and hurry, stress peaks and panic? I wouldn’t have thought I’d spend the day walking peacefully from site to site and making Facebook updates.
The lousy weather didn’t take from the festive atmosphere. Graffiti, each more fabulous than the previous one, emerged on Hämeentie along with chalk drawings made by kids. The atmosphere was warm at the dance site in Galleriakäytävä and the street music site was downright crowded. Otto Maja is painting his mural on the storehouse wall as people watch his progress. It was so windy that the Bring & Take stand ran out of gloves. All’s well.
The only thing that bugged me was that we had underestimated the catering for artists. Saara the co-ordinator had to hit the kitchen when we were rapidly running out of food. I guess we should have planned the catering side of things more carefully. As I was eating my baked potato, dirty tables and haphazard presentation caught my eye. Nit-picking? Maybe, but catering is the only thank-you that we can give to the hundreds of performers and volunteers who do their thing for free. For the most, it’s also the closest they get to the production team. So, in fact, it’s PR: good food, higher spirits.
As the time got close to five, a wistful atmosphere took over me. Suddenly Hämeentie was just a road for cars again. The single-family houses had their doors closed and the cars that had been decorated with cool graffiti had taken off and vanished in the traffic. The festival banners had been folded up and were waiting for someone to store them away until next year.
Thank you, performers and artists, thank you, volunteers. Thank you, partners. For us organisers, you 6000 visitors were the best reward, you made this day.
From Arabia Street Festival, Helsinki,
Translation by Pigasus Translations.