This summer sees the very first Pitch Festival grace the fields of Kent. Organised by the team behind the Paddlesworth Project, it’s three days of music, arts, workshops and spoken word that sees local and national artists alike come together to celebrate the power of creativity. I caught up with a busy and buzzing ‘FuzzyJez’ to find out more…
The Paddlesworth Project ‘aims to grow contemporary rural communities through the provision of time and space for projects with creativity and sustainability at their core. It is a holistic site for learning and reconnecting through arts, culture and the environment where fun and friendship is central.’ How does Pitch Festival align with and represent those aims?
Our first Pitch has been emotional, hilarious, challenging, tearful, unexpected, miraculous… and it hasn’t even started yet. But that’s what it’s literally all about, pitching in. We’re all in this together facing challenging deadlines, situation and circumstances, pushing windows and pulling together. A collaborative project indeed is setting up a festival. Kid slave labour, late night cleaning parties, to portaloo or not to portaloo… these will go down in Paddlesworth Project’s history. But the real deal is, we’re not all that interested in history. It’s the now moment and the forward growth that matter. Pitch will give us all an opportunity to reach out to people with this philosophy to pitch in and continue to grow the reality of creative sustainability with a holistic environmentally aware site specific lifelong art installation and learning centre.
Do you have a particular craft, art form or skill that you are passionate about?
Personally, I’m a bit of an artistic jack of all trades: painter, photographer and musician. My interests are now in presenting choices to the next generation and responsibility teaching sustainability, particularly in relation to food and the land. So I love to build greenhouses and squash arches and make sculptures which change and grown together with plant life. At the Project we have puppet makers, dancers, sculptors, animators illustrators, print makers and plenty of room for more.
How have you seen arts change lives and communities?
My experience is mainly with children and young adults, who all use arts naturally and instinctively to learn, collaborate and satisfy deep needs fluidly and with ease, going with the flow and transcending time. It’s amazing to watch. I know arts can turn around broken communities and families, I know many musicians who’ve worked in prisons with great success, the list goes on. For me, my mission is to facilitate keeping the young growing with arts throughout their development, so they may never lose their way, their personal empowerment or their expression.
The clue is in the name: at Pitch Festival anyone can ‘pitch’ in. Do you have a lot of people both performing and spectating, and so breaking down that divide?
Yes plenty, many people have contacted us to perform, through the call out and we’ welcome them and look forward to providing a platform for everyone to show case their talents, the days of untouchable stars ought to be on their way out it seems to mostly be unhealthy for all concerned and everybody can offer something, we just need our 15 minutes.
Can you give a whistle stop introduction to some of your favourite artists across the stages?
Randolph Matthews is incredible, see him to believe him – a vocal gymnastic and super personable on stage; really really great fun. Momerath are hauntingly beautiful. With Mampama I just close my eyes and get taken away to a warm beach and smile. The Speedball Experience bring super talented high energy dance dance dance and Miss Pink, fresh from blazing reviews at Glastonbury is going to smash it. The great variety we’ve got heading down is SO exciting!
I recommend you get your tickets now and get ready to pitch right in.