Starting with Ancient Greece, festivals are the ultimate social network.
The Greek theatre and dance creators came from the community; the community gathered over multiple days; the experience united not only a diverse population, but everyone with the gods.
So, perhaps, it is no surprise that a religious organization, Emergent Village, is taking festival social networking to a new level: help design and create the festival.
Posted this week in Festival News, the organization is seeking input via their blog. Using an online survey, and blog feedback, they solicit input on what kind of works to feature, what kind of festival focus to create (green, creativity, authentic, fun?), where and when to hold the festival gathering, and how to keep you involved.
At a recent conference at Carnegie Mellon University on Technology and the Arts, one presenter was unfortunately dubious about the use of social networking for live performances.
In addition to the macro vacuums of MySpace and Facebook, so many live performances today are using everything from KadmusArts.com for audience preparation to text messaging at the event to forum postings after the show to create a community of artists and audiences.
The village people are using the social networking possibilities to not only generate a community, but to generate a festival as well.
Definitely the cool award of the week.
- Bill Reichblum