Mum: How was Leicester?
Me: Well, the festival was great but I didn’t get to know Leicester…
As I write this I’m sat in the Curve cafe, hungover, exhausted, joyous, heart full of feelings and head full of thoughts. I’m surrounded by children, parents and grandparents - not a student or industry professional in sight. I recognise no one and feel distinctly out of place in the very building that’s been home for the past week.
Outside, the Slung Low bus is gone. In its place is a crowd of people. Morris dancers and a dragon puppet. A jester with a lute and a knight on stilts. Am I still drunk? No, it’s St George’s Day you muppet. This is what people do in Leicester.
It’s heartening to see culture continue after the circus leaves town. It’s heartening to see real people claim this space. But I can’t help wondering if they’re reclaiming it from us. I can’t help wondering if NSDF, like Edinburgh Fringe, is a festival that happens to a city rather than with it.
After all the conversations about the disconnect between London and the rest of the UK, all the conversations about connection and community I can’t help wondering: did any of us get to know the community that was here before us?
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