The Rochester Literature Festival Garden Party – Sunday, July 14th 2013. (Part of the Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival)
UNFINISHED – Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Our second event couldn’t have been more different to our launch! Which, of course, was the intention. ‘UNFINISHED: Making it up as you go along …’ explored and celebrated the unfinished in writing, from our countless contributions to the Internet, to the pile of manuscripts littering our corners, begging to be revisited.
Participants were invited along to read or discuss a work-in-progress in the central session, sharing ideas of how to begin to finish them. The Bloggers’ Forum may well become a regular meeting, with the attendants very much enjoying meeting some of those previously known only on line, and finding out there’s such a healthy blogging scene in Medway (Bloggle may be a new word entering the dictionary – more on that soon!) Dark tales were enjoyed in our Basement Gothic event, courtesy of the fabulous Vicereine de Mornay – in her fist live public performance – Roy Smith, Peter Carter and Philip Kane.
The theme for this event was partially inspired by its location – coFWD, the coworking space in Rochester, is an awesome place, full of awesome people, which is still being shaped and changed by them. ‘Unfinished’ and the Bloggers Fourm took place in The Canvas, the large and airy upstairs room, while Basement Gothic, as you can safely assume, took place on the ground floor in The Bunker, the basement transformed into a mini Gothic mansion (if you used your imagination!).
It’s very much an ongoing project as the community seek to build on the very solid foundations already laid. Initially, meetings began in Tuttle101, a coffee morning social event. There followed Tipple (the evening equivalent) Nibble (with food) Shipple (on board a boat) and by natural progression – you know what’s coming – yes, we bloggers may well be bloggling at a Bloggle from now on!
Thank you to everyone who came along, Ben and his doodles keeping the children’s corner busy, and a specially BIG THANK YOU to David and Baljinder Bahir for keeping everyone fed with their delicious Cinnamon Girl snacks
What was said:
“This has been a brilliant day; great mix of people and like minds. Excellent discussions and readings and extremely helpful feedback. I will be using the space again. Thanks to everyone who organised/facilitated etc. Very worthwhile.”
“Great event. Fascinating, instructive and inspirational. Looking forward to further RLF events.”
“Brilliant, look forward to the next event!”
“Great to attend another LitFest event. Bloggers’ Forum was really interesting and socialising with other local writers is always encouraging.”
“Great and original idea! Now the ice has broken, as they say, this really ought to be the start of something ongoing.”
“Hmmm. Among the most enjoyable events/workshops I’ve been to about creativity. Why? The formalised nature of a ‘forum’ is very conducive to sharing … the discussions in both the writing/blogging forum were enlightening. Certainly there is a community (unbeknownst to me) of active writers who want to break on through to the ‘other side’ as Jimmy Hendrix put it. I particularly liked the discussions around internet publishing/society/activism having (or not) validity, growing into commercialism, being genuine, having actual social worth and having the momentum to snowball. Thank you to all involved.”
THE GARDEN POETRY PARTY 2012
The Garden Poetry Party was our launch event, held at Eastgate House Gardens on 22nd July.
We were thrilled with the response, as hundreds of people passed through the gates to enjoy a beautiful sunny Sunday of music and poetry, with the feedback we received overwhelmingly positive: Just a few things to amend for next time – closer toilets, more seats, some shade and breaks between acts!
Our compares were the incomparable CO Jones and Mat Wills, who kept all our performers in check admirably well and oversaw two high quality Open Mic sessions. We’d like to congratulate and thank all of those who took part: Barry Fentiman; Maureen Norris; Maria McCarthy; Sarah Jenkin; Amy Leverson; Dave Potten; Janine Grey; Jay Rheingeld; Peter Carter; Thomas Kelly; Comedian Kev Smith; Nigel Adams; Barry Kearns; Rob Carling.
“Thank you for making Medway a better place!”
Our headline performers were their usual awesome selves and we look forward to working with each of them again in the future. A massive thanks to Bill Lewis, The James Worse Public Address Method (video link!), Abigail Zeiring-Delmado and Didi Bergman. Oh, and some bloke called Philip Kane
“Very enjoyable day, a great platform for local artists”
It was wonderful to welcome the lovely Sioux Peto and her Litter Angels to the garden too - I spied many a wood wand wending their way through the audience – another massive thank you due there, for staging our children’s creative corner.
“Should have more events like this”
More thank yous: To our stallholders who all donated to our fund – Sam Hall & Victoria Wainwright; Ben Cameron; Natasha Steer; Tukru; Maria McCarthy; Sarah Clarke and David & Baljinder Bahia, to whom we cannot thank enough for their generosity in donating half the proceeds from their stall.
“Wonderful day, done with a lot of heart, well done xx”
And to our refreshments stallholders: Helen at The Cocktail Club for her jolly marvellous concoctions; Sandy of Dot Cafe for the much needed supply of hot and cold drinks and Sonya of Sonya’s Cupcakes for the much needed supply of cupcakes! Thank you x
“Setting and music, poetry in the sun, excellent”
For Eastgate House itself, a big thank you to Tracey Stringfellow who facilitated our garden takeover and a specially big THANK YOU to caretaker Paul – without whom the day simply wouldn’t have run as smoothly as it did – nothing was too much trouble and everything we needed was freely given with a smile and words of encouragement and advice.
“Brilliant, had an amzing time!”
Last two individual thank yous go to the heroic Roy Smith and the lovely Sam Froudist – my saviours at the gate!
“Great idea for a Sunday afternoon – more like this please!”
And finally, to everyone who came along and made the day such a brilliant success for us: Thank You! Enjoy the gallery
If you have any feedback you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment below. Links to photos and videos on the day would also be welcome, please do send them to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki Price Photography took a beautiful series of photos on the day, which you can view here. Thanks Nikki!
Medway film students, Mdhamiri Nkemi and Sophie Lasson, working on behalf of coFWD, the Rochester coworking space, filmed a wonderful short video for us which you view below. Massive thanks to them for their professionalism, time and patience – the whole coFWD film can be viewed here, to give you an flavour of the creative stuff going on in Medway at the moment, and of coFWD itself. Check out Sophie and Mdhamiri’s Cinovice project too.
What else our visitors said:
“Nice mix of music and poetry, maybe a longer event could have mini plays as well?”
”Thank you for an awesome day!”
“Lots of fun; good people “
“Great idea, keep it up - look forward to more!”
“An excellent idea; good mix of people.”
“Nice to see the gardens used; enjoyable event, thanks.”
“Fantastic, great location”
“Wonderful day, wonderful people.”
“Fantastic, lovely atmosphere, wonderful people and great organising.”
“Excellent party in a great location; liked the combo of poetry, comedy and music.”
“Good range of local artisans.”
“Genuinely lovely atmosphere. Well run, a credit to the local community.”