Saturday, 9 March 2013

Day One: The circus comes to town!

Following the wonderful yarnbombing that adorns Jamaica Street, I arrived at Camp & Furnace on Friday night for the launch of the Threshold Festival 2013 to a scene reminiscent of a mad movie.

The scene was one of volunteers getting everyone to where they needed to be, photographers capturing the venue from every angle, bands lugging instruments and setting up equipment, and festival-goers taking it all in while supping on the Festival's own beer, specially commissioned from Liverpool Craft Brewery.

Amid all the hustle and bustle  Festival Director Kaya Carney showed not a single sign of launch night nerves as she serenely directed the scene to make sure everyone had what they needed and got to where they needed to be.

Bring The Fire Project get the party started

I wandered down to Camp for the big launch amid an increasingly excited crowd. Kaya along with fellow Festival Director Chris Carney opened the proceedings in style and that's when the fun really began.

Hoisted aloft by a gaggle of exotically garbed, bejewelled women from Mr Wolf Collective, a giant papier mache elephant made its way through the crowd followed by a gobsmacking display from the Bring The Fire Project. It was as if Oller and Zidler's Moulin Rouge of 1890 had been kicked around and landed in Liverpool of 2013 as the Day 1 theme of Escapism was brought extravagantly to life.

Spread across venues all over the Baltic Triangle, the Festival has the feel of a village that's home to musicians and artists and it's a testament to everyone involved that it radiates a feeling of optimism that no rainy Friday evening or dire economic climate can diminish.

Heading to the first floor, I was treated to some of the most interesting and exciting art I've seen for a while. I'll shine a spotlight on the exhibits by Pamela Sullivan and Janet Wilkinson, Jazamin Sinclair, Matt Seamless and Liverpool Art Prize 2012 Winner Robyn Woolston in future posts.

Pamela Sullivan and Janet Wilkison's trees bring a touch of magic to Camp & Furnace
I pootled over to the Elevator Bar and witnessed The Ragamuffins tearing up the place with some pounding Northern Soul-style, Dexy's inspired tunes. Original numbers, like the possibly inaccurate "It Never Rains In Mossley Hill" were played loud and raw against a background of pugilistic brass that punched metaphorical holes right through the gorgeously decorated walls of the Elevator.

The Ragamuffins were followed by Fidel Afro who played a solid set of banging rock with excellent, crowd pleasing guitars and drums. 

As I headed home in drizzling rain, I was so so so impressed that these bands and artists are all true to the Threshold Festival's grass roots agenda of showcasing high quality talent from emerging artists. Can't wait to see what Day 2 brings with it. 

Words by Andrea McGuire, photographs by Michael Kirkham

Threshold Festival Past...