1st blog & Continuum Camp 2019 reflections

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

  The idea moving forward and when posible, is to ramble less on social media - with posts often being a mishmash of specific event-based info with my 'long spiels' - and ramble a bit more on here. So, for short updates keep connected to our Culture Continuum FB page or better still, sign up to the 'join the conversation' section that's going live soon, with the blogs, discussions and this website in general, being the best place to connect with.

  Having never attempted blogging before, I  don't have a clue as to how it will evolve, I'm just going to try and enjoy this process, wherever it goes. Ever since I started Culture Continuum, I've wanted to honestly share my feelings and experiences, including the challenges involved in creating a new event and company, and more personal reflections like how intermittent shaky confidence can affect my steering of this new atruistic adventure. I thought that a blog was as good a place to communicate, to feedback and update, which will hopefully be cathartic for me and not be too boring to read.

  As this project progresses it would be nice to be able to write a bit more confidently and even more exciting will be to have people join in the conversations and add to the topics and discussions. I would really love some other bloggers and vloggers who attend our events to help give some different perspectives - so to any budding or seasoned writers or screen happy talkers of any age, please do get in touch.

  Having introduced some intentions, I would like to reflect a little on Continuum Camp 2019. I am really happy with what everyone achieved. Yes, it can be bit stressful and exhausting at times, but it’s incredibly nourishing to have so many people contributing to such a fun and creative community space.

 The majority of attendees and contributors got it this year, as was the case for our first pilot event in 2018. However, there were a few more doubters this year. I had some challenging yet engaging and thought-provoking conversations over the course of the weekend. All part and parcel of being an organiser I guess, especially when trying to develop a new event and learning as I go. 

  Scepticism for a new event or how accessible it feels for people is understandable and I very much took on board these different perspectives. Issues and circumstances like limited finances, being asked to buy tickets [if staying the weekend] and playing, and suspicions on profiteering, which I really got, as monetary aspects can so often negatively affect how we trust or connect with festival events.

 Interestingly, a lot of the points made seemed more about other circumstances and expectations or disappointments about expensive festival experiences - and a couple of personnel philosophies of how festivals should generally function - often without actually asking me any questions about our community focused model or looking at what and how we're inviting and achieving what we do.

  It is completely reasonable to question who and how an organisation operates of course and I listened as best as I could, given my often-shattered state - Kirk works me far too hard of course! I think it's fair to say though, that as a collective effort we try to create the best and most inclusive event we can with a very small volunteer team and a shoestring budget. I will continue to welcome and invite such conversations with an aim to dynamically improve and tweak our event where we can,

  While the volunteer pool is growing every year, we are after all a very small team of doers and Continuum Camp is organised to be as fair and affordable as possible. The event ethos, while it might have a marmite kind of appeal, it really is very simple - if you have some spare time to give and you want to share some kindness and support some amazing projects and you fancy a good time doing it - then the more you  put in, the more you can enjoy and achieve.

 This is a non-profit event. I don’t get paid to stage Continuum Camp. Whilst I am looking into CIC status to include and provide accredited training, educational and work experience and opportunities within the broader Culture Continuum project, I will continue to voluntarily spend the necessary planning time to curate this lovely event.

  None of the event management team get paid to run this event either and yes, we all buy tickets as part of our equitable budget commitment. We operate a volunteer-ticket system with food and expenses allocated relative to volunteer time given and the money raised by the event. It is important to also mention here that this is willing commitment and I fully appreciate that this isn't everyone's cup of tea.

 Ultimately, we are trying to create something a bit fairer and more connected than what's offered at more standardised punter based events, often with stratified 'free pass' angles or exploititive options. We look after everyone as best as we can at Continuum Camp and we know we're doing something at least a little right when we get such amazing support from local often family run businesses who not only donate goods and services, many buy tickets, attend and volunteer too. 

 I organise Continuum Camp because I believe in grassroots community action and in creating opportunities to improve participation and confidence, and a better understanding of the skills required to stage socially conscious festival events. As an event production team, we do this because it’s fun and kind. It brings us all together and brings out the best in us, and we get to put on an enjoyable and purposeful party.

 Regarding our fundraising, Continuum Camp 2019 was a huge success raising a fab £3000. That’s £750 donated directly to Borth Arts, The Wallich, Roar Pursuits CIC and The Equality Trust - A huge thank you to everyone who made this happen. This total is more impressive when considering the additional investment needed for this year. Continuum Camp will continue to develop as an equitable grassroots community event.

 That wraps things up for now. I'm looking forward to Continuum Camp 2020 with the challenges and unknowns  ahead. Lastly, I want to say a huge thank you to Gillie at Hooperandkind.com who has further developed our Culture Continuum website, helps with comms/social media and volunteers at our event every year. Here's to more creativity and kindness!

Until my next musings - Peace & progress, Malarkey

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