On the VERGE: first glimpse at the five-day festival
WORDS BY BIANCA FARMAKIS
A few weeks ago, iconic supermodel Slick Woods penned a public letter to Rihanna saying she made “inclusivity cool”, and this year’s VERGE Festival is doing the exact same.
Festival Coordinators Alex Bateman and Nell O’Grady painted the portrait of a multi-faceted show, with sense-igniting installations and interactive events all centred around making 2018’s VERGE Festival the most inclusive one yet.
Acknowledging the diverse cross-section of characters that co-exist among The University of Sydney’s several campuses, the pair highlighted:
“We’re focusing on building interconnectivity this year. There’s such a distinction between campuses – the SCA don’t get involved, the Con don’t get involved – so we’re working to make a festival that encourages all students to come to the main campus.”
“We want them to perform and show off their creativity, regardless of the faculty or school they come from” they added.
Spanning five days, the pair have manifested their mission in the range of activities on offer this year – from an art market Monday night, fit with food trucks and live music performances, Jazz and Comedy nights to break up the week, and a ‘Breakfast and Drinks’ bar built into an interactive installation and film screening to tie it all together.
Plus, the promise of a hump day treat comes in the form of Rove McManus performing stand-up comedy at Hermann’s Bar.
Aside from recruiting Rove and musicians from all campuses, working closely with the Con’s CONVERGE program to bridge the ‘gig gap’ that exists for music students, inclusivity has been an integral part of the preparation process.
“We recruited architecture students to participate in the design elements of the festival” Alex said.
“They ended up building this incredible installation that will be used to serve drinks, coffee and kombucha to students on campus” Nell added.
“It’s the thing you see and you’re like ‘oh my god’ and it was so good to get them involved” the pair concluded.
Though the official program is yet to be released, this year’s festival turns it’s events more into the twilight hours, with activities scheduled for the late afternoon and into the evening, grabbing students that would otherwise head home after class.
“We’re just looking for people to engage with things quickly – you can go between classes, you can use the spaces we’ve created as hang out zones – you can look for them, but you don’t necessarily have to” said Nell.
“We want art to be really accessible to everybody” Alex agreed.
A retro themed ‘chill-out’ space will be set up on the Quad Lawns to afford students the opportunity to engage with art works while relaxing between classes.
Committing to the program since late June this year, Nell and Alex have channelled inclusivity to unparalleled lengths than years before, and will launch the VERGE Festival on October 8th- 12th.
“We’re celebrating student art, and art for students. We’re celebrating the creators, the curators and the people that engage with them.”