We have now brought Frequency Festival 2015 to a close.
This year we’ve ventured deep into the heart of the internet, taken a journey under the sea and fought for our right to dream. We found out if we were pretty or ugly and whether that even matters, we saw just how much the internet knows about us and heard the noise our digital communications create. We took a road trip through the US, got buried alive, flew into space from our apartments and even found enlightenment in a shopping centre. All in just ten days.
This year’s theme was liberation. We wanted to both acknowledge the historical importance of Magna Carta and its special connection to the city we call home, and also look forward to a future where everyone is truly liberated, to imagine what that would be like, how we can get there and what role the digital has to play in that journey. Some works liberated our minds like Luciana Haill’s Phrontesterion, which inspired dream like visions and meditative states, or Earfilms’ audio cinema To Sleep To Dream which freed our imaginations and our senses. Others focused on artistic liberation such as Tom Dale Company’s stunning dance piece I Infinite which allowed audiences to roam the stage and Illuminos’ Through The Fourth Wall which turned us into the performers as the tiny projected people turned their gaze back onto us. Alongside this ran political works, like New Art Exchange and Galleries of Justice Get Up Stand Up! and those featured in The Collection & Usher Gallery’s Freedom Lies series, which reminded us that liberation isn’t easy and often has to be fought tooth and nail for.
We brought Frequency onto the streets with Furtherfield’s street games; entertaining shoppers across both weekends of the festival and letting everyone know that Frequency was here for everyone. Passers-by created their own manifestos and, amongst other things, stood for imaginary spiders and against gentrified castles. The High Street stopped to watch as Stephen Sheehan – and two of our brave volunteers – challenged a brick on High Bridge and the people of Lincoln joined a talk show debate and drew their ideas of the future with Talkaoke and Play Your Place.
Frequency Festival is here to get people involved in art, even if they don’t feel like art is for them. This year we created the Fabratory to get everybody involved in the festivities. Situated outside hit installation Enlightenment from artists Squidsoup on the lower level of Waterside Shopping Centre, the Fabratory brought a variety of workshops and fun to Frequency 15 and got shoppers to take a break from their day and engage with the arts. The Jammy Tarts spread some happiness with their #BTW compliment cards, co_LAB turned the public into data analysts with their Blind Data workshop while Louise Lawlor turned them into tables and teapots with Human <>Object. There was an Oculus Rift experience with DREAM, a Bank of Kindness encouraging people to pay it forward with Connected, and Don’t Grow Up It’s A Trap created art out of children’s ideas and drawings.
We were incredibly lucky to have seeper as part of this year’s Frequency Festival with their spectacular laser installation and stunning projection mapping show The One, The Few and The Many closing out the festival at Lincoln Castle. Over five thousand people shouted, stamped and pushed their way to power on the interactive installation and saw the story of human liberation played out on the walls of the Lucy Tower, as digital technology interacted with the medieval architecture.
Social media this year was on fire, with festival goers tweeting, vining and instagramming their hearts out. We loved seeing how excited everyone was about the festival and how much everyone loved the exhibits. Particular favourites seemed to be Enlightenment – where almost everyone had to take a selfie in the lights – the finale Castle shows, and Shun Ito’s beautiful kinetic sculptures. We also had a whole host of brilliant write-ups in the press with articles from the Telegraph, The Guardian, Fused Magazine, Design Week, A Younger Theatre, Neo-Entity and It’s Nice That. We got radio coverage from Siren FM, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and BBC Five Live – Make It Digital. It was lovely to have such local and national interest.
Frequency Festival wouldn’t be what it is without the City of Lincoln and the amazing people who call this beautiful place their home. We love creating something digital in a city that wears its heritage on its sleeve, and splicing the contemporary with the historical to create something which celebrates the past whilst always looking towards the future. We can’t say thank you enough to the people of Lincoln who have joined us for a third time now. We are also incredibly privileged to have a fantastic team of volunteers from the University of Lincoln as well as some of the city’s colleges who gave us their time and effort to make Frequency happen. They showed up every day, walked the length of the city, tackled Steep Hill multiple times and kept smiles on their faces throughout. We are proud to call them part of our team.
There are so many people who make Frequency what it is and help us to grow and improve every two years. Our wonderful partners and funders – Visit Lincoln, Lincoln BIG, Lincolnshire One Venues, Lincoln Castle, Foyle Foundation, The University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire County Council and of course Arts Council England – without whom we wouldn’t have the funding to keep Frequency free or low cost; all of the Frequency venues and artists; and of course all of our supporters across the city whose help and generous support made this year’s festival special, especially Waterside Shopping, DB Events, Mortons Media Group, Virgin Trains East Coast, East Midlands Trains and the many local businesses who rallied around us.
Alongside the celebrations there is also a hint of sadness as we reach the end of this incredible ten days. Though, rest assured that won’t last for long. As Frequency 15 is laid to rest we are already looking ahead to our next re-incarnation. We will be starting the process of planning and fundraising to be able to bring you an even bigger and better Frequency 2017, whilst continuing to keep it mostly free, with low cost ticketed events.
To help us do this, and make the case for continued funding and support, we would appreciate if you could give us a few minutes to complete a short survey about your time at Frequency.
And, finally, as a parting farewell, we’ve put together some of our favourite moments of Frequency 2015.