Hamburg, being a politically rich and culturally diverse city, features events which reflect the plethora of topics surrounding diversity. Festivals like the Lessing Days or the Reeperbahn Festival are iconic, yet seem to shut out the Hamburg's urban youth culture, especially the cross-cultural actors, from its scene. That is why the FORMATION NOW ** youth festival, caught our eye. It opened in September 2019 for the first time at the Oberhafen, offering a diverse program on site, including workshops, discussions, shows, parties, and performances. As such, a platform was created where young people could meet to research their identity and social home and above all, to empower each other. The four-week event was made possible with the support of LUKULULE e.V. and was initiated by a team led by Mable Opoku-Preach. We contact the event team to find out a little more about the festival.
Tell us a little bit more about Formation**Now
The Formation Now ** Festival was founded by Mable Preach in 2017 and celebrated its first opening in the fall of the same year. In terms of content, the aim was to bring together diverse actors from the Hamburg youth culture scene and to make them heard about their scene. With a diverse program, which was designed and carried out by artists who are firmly established in the Hamburg scene, the Oberhafenquartier in Hamburg has turned into a berth for young people and young adults.
The second edition of the festival started in September 2019. With Mable Preach in the management, an 8-person, cross-age festival team has formed, which has its backgrounds in different artistic genres.
What is your basic concept and what inspired you to start this project?
This project aimed to create a platform, exchange and networking opportunity for artists who are located in Hamburg and the surrounding area. It was particularly important to us that black people and artists of color determine the narrative in terms of content and enforcement.
Why did you choose the framework of a festival?
It was important for us to show a wide range of events ranging from knowledge production to entertainment and to realize a festival that had never existed in this form.
Do you plan to repeat the concept next year?
The festival is scheduled to take place every two years. For 2020, however, we are planning individual events that are spread throughout the city throughout the year.
Do you think it's important that a concept like Formation**Now gets more attention in society? If yes why?
Yes, it is. We think it is important to show different perspectives in the Hamburg cultural landscape, which is white and elitist dominated.
We want to create a representation that is long-term and encourage and motivate more and more black people and artists of color to actively design and curate their event formats.
How long did it take to organize the festival?
The first planning meetings took place in November 2018. So it took about 11 months for the planning and implementation.
How many artists did you work with and why did you choose them to work with?
We have worked with a total of 60 artists. It was important to us that all artists are located in Hamburg or have a connection to Hamburg to realize the networking idea.
To what extent do you think that this festival has created a platform that offers artists the opportunity to exchange ideas?
Based on conversations with visitors during and after the festival, we found that the place quickly established itself as a point of contact. Because most of the events took place in cooperation, festival visitors were able to get to know many event formats that already existed before our festival. New networks and projects have sprung up that go beyond the city.
What are your thoughts on the result after four weeks of Formation**Now
We have received an incredible amount of positive feedback from our cooperation partners and festival-goers, and have noticed that the need for such rooms and platforms is incredibly high and it is important to expand and establish such access points throughout Hamburg. Above all, it is - right now - important to consolidate and expand the networks that we have created and to be present in other districts of Hamburg.