Festival : The World in ChortonEvery year we pick a different theme for the festival. This influences many parts of the festival, the food, the kind of music, the stalls we invite, the events that we hold. It keep things fresh and means that people who come to the festival every year always find something new.
This year's theme is The World in Chorlton, a very broad theme, and we'd like to share some of the reasons we chose it.
Chorlton is a very ethnically mixed place which is one of the many reasons that people like it and choose to live here. According to the last census over 20% of people living in Chorlton define themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority. Yet the vast majority of the people who attend the festival come from the white community. Green issues affect everyone and we want the festival to be open to, and inclusive of, all members of the local community. Part of the aim of the festival is to build community resilience and we can only do that effectively if everyone feels part of it.
Commonly people associate green-ness with localism and that is a big part of it. We need to encourage people to invest in their local area, shop, work and play here, travel less, build community ties. Chorlton is a great place to do this, there are probably more community groups based in Chorlton than any other Manchester area. However, we can't cut off our ties to the rest of the world and live in a bubble, especially since many of us have relatives and families living in far away places. A commitment to localism shouldn't mean that we have to be parochial or intolerant or unwelcoming to "outsiders". The central message of green-ness perhaps more than any other, is that we are all linked together, by our climate, the actions of people far distant do impact on us.
However, the relationship between localism and globalism is not straightforward. There are many thing that need to be thought about. The material wealth we enjoy in Chorlton depends on a carbon footprint far in excess of our global share. What should be produced locally, what regionally, what nationally and what should be imported? Is it OK to buy runner beans imported from Nigeria, fair trade goods from Columbia, solar panels from China? Cultural interchange enriches us, provides new ideas and ways of approaching problems, but also depends on international travel and can replace local cultures with globalised ones.
There are no easy answers to these kind of questions and it's not the role of the festival to try and provide answers. All we can do is provide a fun and stimulating place for people to find answers for themselves.