I was lucky enough to spend two days in Hull during the 2019 Freedom Festival. Having never visited the city centre before I had a totally open mind – My only previous insights were the music of the brilliant ‘Bud Sugar’ (Hull’s finest IMO) and a theatre producer who champions “Hull’s not shit anymore” as the cultural strapline.
Freedom Festival feels like the city has really bought into the spirit.
There were big hits such as ‘Bivouac’ which was an apocalyptic, bizarre, intimidating procession of smoke, dominant live music and dozens of blued-out performers in a trance marching ominously through the main drag of the city centre. It was a real hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moment for at least 3000 who lined the part of the route I was on.
My highlight was ‘Session’ which brought together insanely talented young dancers from Tottenham and a 4 piece Afrobeat band who were almost annoyingly capable. Staged on the doorstep of York Minster at dusk it was a proper spectacle.
There were countless other performances that I could have spent hours at and I felt the whole mapping and layout was bob on. There’s obviously a good sense of humour in Hull too as the festival was embraced by every local I saw or spoke to.
Well played Hull, Jonny