I will hold my hands up and proudly admit that up until last Thursday, I was a Worcestershire Lit Fest & Fringe virgin. I toyed with the idea of going last year but never actually made it; so this year, whilst trying to find my feet on the performance poetry scene, I decided it was time to give the festival a go, and I’m so glad that I did.
Thursday night (June 26th) saw the SpeakEasy Festival Special - SpeakEasy being a popular open mic event in Worcester already - and not only did I perform here, but I also saw some amazing artists. Complete with two amazing headliner acts, Scott Tyrrell and Emma Purhouse, poets from around Worcester, and I’m assuming from other corners of the West Midlands, banded together for what turned into a brilliant couple of hours of spoken word. A first-timer to the event, I was absolutely over-whelmed by the massive amount of support from both other performers and from audience-members - it truly was a brilliant atmosphere and I was so happy to debut a new poem of mine there.
Happier still when the wonderful Maggie Doyle asked me to attend another event on Saturday evening, where I would be performing again…
My one regret, in light of how amazing the three events I attended were, is that I didn’t go to more! Saturday night, where I was transformed into an honorary Diva and given the opportunity to perform a ten-minute-set in the first half of the evening - an opportunity that I grasped eagerly with both hands - introduced me to a number of wonderful female poets from the local area who, when combined, create the Decadent Divas and my word, it was certainly an experience! These ladies are forces to be reckoned with and, in a collaborative performance from the four women involved, they single-handedly demonstrated the kind of artistic talent on offer in the local area - once again leaving me remorseful that I hadn’t seen any of this talent until now.
The final event that I attended, and indeed the final event of the festival, was the Poetry Slam - complete with Flash Fiction slam, which I think was being held for the very first time. It was strong contestant after strong contestant and even now, the following day, snowed under with university work and the like, I’m still drifting back to amazing performances from last night and the quality local artists who were responsible for them.
Honestly, I can’t praise this festival organisation highly enough! Those behind the scenes, frequently pulling the strings to ensure everything is in place for the ten days that the festival runs for, are equally as talented as the ones who are out there doing their workshops, performances, and everything else that the festival offers. It’s a well-oiled machine with every person on the committee playing a vital part and, ultimately, all of them deserve a massive pat on the back - and maybe a stiff drink, or seven - for orchestrating the events over the past week or so.
I am absolutely delighted that I could be a part of the festival this year and I’m already hopeful that I can steal a performance spot or two in the next one! For any writer in the West Midlands area, whether you’re established or just starting out, the festival is a week of antics well worth attending, and I’m extremely grateful to the wonderful people behind this brilliant event.