Mini Culture Night - How did we get here?
Less than three weeks to Holywood's First Culture Night
Tonight - Tuesday 4th September we bring the Madness and Mayhem of a Mini Culture Night with 12-14 performances, films showings and a Q and A all squeezed into Holywood Library.
After tonight we are just under three weeks away from the first Holywood Culture Night. It promises to be a great night of entertainment made all the better by the support of a substantial number of Town Centre businesses.
Of course, as far as those of us who are organising these event are concerned, the more the merrier and so it is still not too late to get involved but so far the response has been exceptional.
And on top of support from local businesses, we have schools, community groups and now local churches coming on board.
While the situation is very positive, in the early stages of organising Culture Night there were, understandably, a number of concerns.
Some people felt that they couldn't get involved because they weren't convinced it would work, some, that there was no point holding a Culture Night in Holywood on the same night as Belfast Culture Night. the idea being that everyone from Holywood would go to Belfast, and some have worried about this being a one off. All very important concerns but concerns which are relatively easily dealt with.
With any new enterprise there is always the risk of failure, and it is only natural that some would feel less than confident that a new group could organise such an event. In this case though we feel that the work has been done to give us the potential for success, and as more businesses have come on board, as more artists and performers have offered their time, as more volunteers have emerged, the possibility of success has been raised.
In terms of what might be termed a Holywood Belfast rivalry, we want Culture Night to be a forum where all the disparate elements of our local community come together, opening the door for local artists to perform, connecting them with local businesses, forging a community spirit in the process, we aim also to give everyone who attends Culture Night a vast array of cultural offerings as good as Culture Nights anywhere else. Of course there will be some people who go to Culture Night in Belfast and there will be others who take the short train ride the other way to see what is out here, but it is a local audience that we are seeking. And it is that local populace that we are also hoping to work with in future projects like the Buy Local campaign.
And that dovetails nicely into the concerns that this project is a one off, that nothing will change as a result of this endeavour. Well that would be problematic, but rest assured Holywood Shared Town is looking at a long term orientation and that is the underlying basis for the way the group operates. No sooner is Culture Night over than the Buy Local campaign will swing into action, it is actually swinging into action already, there will be an ongoing Cultural calendar which may look to reinvigorate the Holywood Jazz Festival, possibly monthly cultural activities and we will be looking at local community projects as well.
Culture Night came out of discussions held with local business people. Culture Night was already in the air given that Art and Home had already discussed something similar with, if I remember correctly, Town Centre Management. Culture Night is an example of following through on a simple idea ï¿½ that if we work together ï¿½ with the aim to create a shared and prosperous Holywood for everyone - then everyone will benefit.