Friday, July 17, 2015

Flashback Friday Fringe

  As it seems this whole "flashback friday" craze is here to stay in the social media world, I am going to take advantage of it today to update you on my biggest project I have done here with JMC, the Jesmond Fringe Festival.

   Every year in late May, the Jesmond Community Festival is put on by the community for the community for two weeks. Last year, I organized the Taste of Nations as a free international food tasting: showcasing dishes from around the world, made by the various international members of our JMC church family.  It went so well that we decided to include it in the Festival schedule again this year.  But Rob and I decided, we wanted to host another free event during the festival to really put JMC's print on Jesmond.
   He gave me the freedom to be creative and plan any event I could think up to bless the community around JMC. So with a blank slate in front of me and just over 5 months to plan, my mind ran wild! I thought of things as simple as "blessing bags" for the local businesses to hosting a One Direction concert at the church...ok maybe I didn't get that crazy, but what I did come up with quickly became "my baby" and a large focus for the first part of 2015.

   Inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (a month long festival across the whole city of Edinburgh, with hundreds of acts, concerts, and street performers; attracting thousands of spectators from all over the UK), I decided to bring the Fringe feel to Jesmond for one night! I called it Jesmond Fringe Festival.

   When I got together with the Methodist NCL Chaplin to get some help with the branding, he made the brilliant connection that Fringe has a double meaning we could play off in our marketing scheme: Fringe- as in the festival- and Fringe- as in the hair style (for all my American readers out there, fringe is the British term for "bangs").
   So with the excitement of this quirky new angle (and the multitude of puns that inevitably accompanied it), we ran head on into creating an amazing event!

   After running around Newcastle tapping into various networks, I was able to pull together 8 local acts for the night- 3 talented musical acts, and 4 stand up comedians and an improve group from the University Comedy Club.
   So with a great line up and an interactive TED Talk for the upper studio, all I needed to sort out was the location, as our sanctuary was out of commission due to some unforeseen building works.
But when the new owners of the Cafe took over in February and heard about my project, they jumped right in to offer Cafe 1901 as the location. It all came together in perfect time!

   The night of was far beyond what I ever even imagined: with a red carpet entrance, a good turn out, great coffee and cakes by the cafe, people upstairs scribbling their life's desire all over the walls, and incredible acts downstairs playing music and splitting our sides with laughter. It was a night that has shot straight to the top of my best memories here in Newcastle.

   I couldn't have done it without all the help of Stephen Richardson, various JMC members, Madeep and Debbie (the owners of the Cafe), and all the talented folk that contributed to the evening! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!!

Here is the link to the TED Talk we used for the upper studio if you are interested...

And of course some photos from the night...


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