A Network of Friends #89

    By the end of October, MEANS TO AN END...Festival 2006 will have been and gone for another year. This will have been the second year such a Festival will have taken place at the mighty 1in12 Club in Bradford, UK. In a way, it’s been mostly an event that I will have organized myself but also with a help from various friends and mates dipping in here and there prior to the event. And I am sure many more friendly faces during the three days that the Festival will be happening too! To say I’m nervous this time around is an understatement. Bands from all over Europe are coming to play and despite last year being great; I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s just so bloody scary hoping(!) that people come and you’re able to pay the bands well, that the foods cooked, that the banners are done, up and hanging, that the bass head you were promised arrives, and so on. It’s endless! Why I ever decided to do a Festival I sometimes wonder as it drives my stress levels up a notch or too to the ‘fragile’ level but as my friend Skinny mentioned to me last year, at some point you’ll be standing there and it will all seem worthwhile! I got that feeling last year for sure when GIVE UP ALL HOPE played their set on the Friday night. There were more people there than I expected and the band went down a storm and I can just remember grinning from ear to ear thinking ‘yeah!!!’. The whole idea for a Festival came about from going to the K-Town Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark at Ungdomshuset. The first time I ever went to the Festival was in 2004 and I was just totally blown away by the organization, the amazing bands the crew there had assembled, the workshops, the food, the events and the people that the whole Festival attracted. I made many friends there and it opened up a whole new world to me. At the time I had no inclination to do a Festival here in the UK. I was personally still too ill with Crohn’s Disease to even contemplate an idea like that. However I went back the following year and on returning once again, being completely blown away, I thought why doesn’t the UK doesn’t have a Festival like this? During the early to late 1990s Festivals used to be held regularly at the Club, and are things of legend now. They were put on between a combination of individuals who were active in the scene, releasing records, zines, putting on gigs. Once those faces moved on, the occasional Festival was held but, and I may be mistaken, but I do not remember that much after. So the impetus was there., To create a Festival that not only brought loads of great bands together but that also had a political emphasis on celebrating Doing It Yourself, or as the new phrase going around seems to be, Doing It Together!!! Living in Leeds and with Bradford and the 1in12 only 20 minutes away by train, the Club was the natural beginning for such an event to occur. With the facilities the Club has, cafe, bar, studio, gig floor, and most importantly what the Club stands for, I really wanted it to be held there. Now this column is not all about me doing a Festival. What this is about is the fact of being able to create something like this through the inspiration of others, of how it galvanizes people to come together and help, to take part. Being honest, sometimes this works really well, other times you feel like a complete control freak checking that everything has been done! But also the generosity of people lending you their equipment, giving their time, so many examples that I could go on and on... A lot was learnt last year. Whether the lessons have been rectified for this year remains, as I write, yet to be seen! I hope so. Most of the mistakes last year were of being TOO enthusiastic. Wanting to put TOO much on! This year, yeah, the line-up contains a few less bands but the overall content I think continues to emphasize DIY and what WE can achieve. At the moment, people in Copenhagen at Ungdomshuset need support. The authorities there have declared that the building must be returned to the Christians who bought the building some years ago. The punks and all the other people who have gained so much from Ungdomshuset over the years are attempting to resist and change the authority’s minds. Go to their website www.ungdomshuset to find out how you can help. If you’ve ever been there, ever played there, ever helped do the bar, the kitchen, practiced there, you will know what a huge loss losing Ungdomshuset will be to the Danish scene and Copenhagen in particular. I cannot imagine the UK without the 1in12. I wish I could do more to help but us at least we can try and show some solidarity and support where we can. There will be a mass photograph of all the people who attend the MEANS TO AN END... Festival to send to Ungdomshuset as a request has been made for groups of people who have been there to visually show their support so that the folk at Ungdomshuset can show the authorities there how many people around the world value the place as a cultural centre. But yeah, look it up. Bringing people together for 3 days or more for a Festival is great. Ideas flow, beer is drunk (in most cases!). Having such a space as the 1in12 or Ungdomshuset is invaluable for allowing people to express themselves and their ideas, their music, their art, their feelings, their politics. We have to value this and fight when the need arises. Hope to see you in Bradford in 2007!!!! Steve Hyland c/o theveganwarrior@yahoo.com