By Daniella Theis
An international virtual festival championing diversity and universal human rights is set to feature Glasgow talent in a series of online events and live streams.
Citizenfest runs from the from 14-19 of September and is a collaborative project uniting Helsinki and Los Angeles festival No Labels No Walls 2020 with Glasgow’s We Are One festival under a unified name.
The festival will be entirely virtual and will be comprised of entertainment and discussions, structured around Citizen Network’s seven keys to citizenship – Love, Life, Home, Freedom, Help, Purpose and Money. It will focus on the raising of issues of social justice and the possibilities of universal citizenship, particularly when we all pull together as a single community – something especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic and at a time when political trends threaten the further scapegoating of marginalised minorities within our communities.
“Citizenfest is an international celebration of diversity, and an assertion of universal human rights,” explain Co-Founders John Dalrymple and Frances Brown. They add: “We are delighted that everyone has worked hard to ensure that despite Covid-19, Citizenfest 2020 is going ahead. We will again harness the power of debate, music and performance to promote the idea of a world where everyone matters without exception.”
The festival’s full program spans across six days featuring local and international content, balancing emerging and established performers with recognised social care contributors. The program intends to engage viewers with as little barriers to participation as possible.
Taking part are Glasgow collective Electronic Glasgow – a growing community formed to celebrate the city’s electronic music culture. In prior years, they have hosted their own events such as a street party on Brunswick Street in 2018 and another series of events pulling together Glasgow’s globally- renowned producers, DJs, venues, clubs and promoters in 2019. Joining the lineup for Citizenfest, the group will be hosting a virtual electronic music tent on Friday the 18th of September from 20:00 GMT.
The event will feature some of Glasgow’s most experienced DJs & producers such as vibrant duo Manakinz made up of well-known DJs Harri (Sub Club/Subculture) and Affi Koman (Sunday Circus), Power Woman Rebecca Vasmant, profoundly deaf DJ John McDevitt aka DEF BEATZ, as well as a plethora of other emerging Glasgow talent.
Electronic Glasgow’s Creative Director and current Strathclyde law student Jasper White describes the collective’s decision to join the international event.
He says: “The lockdown has been a great leveller. For those with disabilities, the restrictions to live music and gigs where in place long before March and will continue long after this is over. When I realised this, it was an easy decision for Electronic Glasgow to come onboard with Citizenfest. Having seen my events business go on-hold, it has been great having an event to focus on. It has been really important for my mental health.”
“I think marginalised people in our society have really suffered from the impact of austerity ideology over the last ten years and when you now add the consequences of the pandemic it’s got worse. People in the music industry have been abandoned by the government as well. I’m just delighted to have the chance to raise some awareness.”
Gary Lawson, Music Co-Curator for the festival agrees with White. He says: “Inclusion is very important to me. My career has always been about bringing people together and it’s a thrill to be involved.”
Glasgow’s We Are One festival operates as part of a vast support structure collective, combining the work of key charities including In Control Scotland, Radical Visions, VIAS, Unity and Enable Scotland alongside partners and charitable individuals from across the third sector, commerce and the events industry. Plans for another festival in Glasgow in 2021 are already underway.
“We marry solid festival logistics to the charities’ core values and ambitions and it’s fantastic being part of an inspirational team,” says We Are One Festival Manager Clive Leighton. Talking about next year’s event, he adds: “With one physical event behind us and the virtual experience around the corner, we urge commerce, media, performers, sponsors, venues and volunteers to help expand the vision and wider reach for We Are One 2021.”
Full details of Citizenfest and how to access the festival’s events can be found via www.facebook.com/citizenfestweareone/ and on Twitter by following @citizenfest.
Information about Electronic Glasgow and the Electronic Music Tent can be found at https://www.facebook.com/electronicglasgow/