I’ve been wondering about mentioning this year’s ‘York 800′ festival, but having been overly opinionated about several things towards the end of 2011, I’ve been avoiding it. (Being opinionated is tiring and requires a lot of energy, particularly if you’re a lone voice, or feel like one.)
I’m mentioning it now because Radio York are discussing it on Friday morning – on Jonathan Cowap’s programme. Worth a listen.
There was a trailer, which I didn’t hear but was told about, with people being asked about York 800, and apparently not knowing much about it.
There is a very impressive promotional video – looks great, nice music, beautifully done. Clearly aimed at highlighting our ‘tourist offer’.
There are many things happening which seem to happen every year anyway, but have been brought under the York 800 banner.
Meanwhile the organisers seem to really want us York residents to feel that it’s ‘our festival’, that we should be celebrating.
What are we celebrating? I’m not sure. According to the video, we’re celebrating the 800th anniversary of a date in 1212 when ‘York is given the freedom to govern itself’.
The local authority might want to celebrate this. The organisers of festivals will, as it’s their job to organise festivals, and they need to find things to have festivals about.
I can’t say I’m particularly excited. Perhaps if my ancestors had been among the great and the good of the city then I’d feel some sense of connection and kinship with this celebration of ‘governance’. But they weren’t. They were just ordinary people doing boring ordinary jobs, and no doubt moaning about the local authority’s decisions, and feeling powerless to change anything.
Things haven’t changed that much, for most people. City of York Council seems to be celebrating itself. And trying to lure in more visitors. Fine. We need the tourists. Desperately. Tell them about the lovely things and the history and all. But don’t be offended if some of us don’t get it.
Thankfully, I’m not alone in not getting it.
This looks more far more interesting: York’s Alternative History