On spectacles and new communities

from Brian Walker’s recollection of the HMFF:

One Arena Spectacle was more spectacular than planned, “Johnny Concho’s Wild West Show” was in full swing, the ‘townsfolk’ defending the jail from a band of mounted raiders, the crowd roared as Johnny Concho’s followers set off a fusillade of pistol fire and roared even louder when the guns set fire to the hay bales and eventually the whole town, reducing it to ashes. There were more cheers as the Fire Brigade made its entrance. The festival made all the papers next day.

All this fun and enjoyment had an effect that is still felt today, because of the vast numbers of people moved by the wholesale demolition of the area, new communities were formed when they were rehoused. All new communities are uncomfortable with each other, some people finding themselves living near people from different countries and of a different race, the festival simply introduced all these groups to each other, with friendships being formed that are still going today. It was difficult to be stand-offish to someone dressed as a baby, swigging pints of beer in the Pram Race, especially if you were dressed as the Mum, swigging even more pints of beer!

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