A year ago we were eagerly anticipating attending RawFfest 2019, as a key part of our evaluation of the festival commissioned by its governing partnership.
RawFfest 2019 – “a youth arts festival by and for young people” – was held at the prestigious and excellently resourced WMC, Cardiff. This was the 3rd festival since the inaugural RawFfest was held at The Riverfront, Newport, in 2016, before moving to Venue Cymru, Llandudno in 2017. It was planned and delivered by young people with the support of host venue and festival staff, youth arts organisations and local government arts officers across Wales, with funding from Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government’s Major Events Unit.
From our time spent absorbing RawFfest (April 25th to 28th ’19) we observed young people, with differing social backgrounds and abilities, become inspired by enjoying and taking part in new and stretching arts experiences. The festival which young people across Wales had planned with such imagination, enthusiasm, dedication and commitment delivered performances, workshops and exhibitions in crafts, dance, fashion, film, literature, the spoken word, music, photography and the visual arts.
Our overall impression of the RawFfest is that as in previous years, friendships were forged, arts and creative sector skills were gained and shared – and a lot of fun was had along the way.
As K2S we envisage that the increased confidence young people gained from attending the festival, and the connections they made with each other and those working in the arts and creative industries sectors, will stand them in good stand for the future. The whole RawFfest experience, from planning to delivery, will surely contribute to their resilience and help them cope with the impact on their lives of these unprecedented times.
Young people are the bedrock of the arts and creative industries and with their future even more uncertain now, support for and the sustainability of RawFfest and other Youth arts initiatives is more important than ever.