2013 Barefeet Festival in Zambia — from car park performance to 2,000 festival performers

Sara Drawwater
22 August 2013
Yesterday we published the definitive

Yesterday we published the definitive event guide fir 2013 Barefeet Festival. The festival starts this weekend, Saturday the 24th of August. With all the hype and excitement in the air, we wanted to dig a little deeper. So we interviewed Adam McGuigan, the Artistic Director of Barefeet Theatre to find out more.

How has the Barefeet Festival grown over the years? Tell us a little about the journey so farIt all started when Adam was travelling through Southern Africa and met some artists who had amazing talent in Zambia. They all got along, were inspired as a team, linked up, and that’s how Barefeet was born. Since then, Barfeet has grown quite a bit! The Festival has grown immensely too! The first year we did the festival was in 2006. We did it in the car park, outside the Post Office in town, because we didn’t have money to go inside. We weren’t very sophisticated in those days either! The spirit was incredible though, and we hope that despite getting more ambitious, that spirit has remained the same.

Despite starting out small, we had the support of Mulenga Kapwepwe who is the Chairperson of The National Arts Council, so that was great. Once we had a budget in place and sponsorship, we were able to have local artists perform. Artists like Cactus Agony and Slap Dee delighted the crowds last year.

This year, with the support of our sponsors (Pro flight, Ethiopian Airlines, UNICEF, Inter Continental, HIVOS, British Airways, Civil Society Environmental Society, Manda Hill, The Embassy of Ireland in Zambia) we’re able to also have international artists like Hope Masike from Zimbabwe, Crown Troupe Theatre from Nigeria, This Side Up acrobats from Australia, Randy McLaren from Jamaica, Tenterhooks from Scotland, Most Wanted from the UK and more!

Who is behind Barefeet Theatre? It’s takes leadership to make all this happen, so who can we pinpoint success to?There’s a whole team behind Barefeet Theatre as ‘it takes a village’. The team includes Program Director, Taonga Tembo, Development Coordinator Sian Lamprey, Social Media and Communications Directors Mukuka and Mazuba from C1rca 1964, Grace Banda our Finance Manager, and an incredible team of youth, artists, facilitators and board members. At the helm of the board is the fantastic Lee-Anne Singh.

How many artists, musicians, actors, actresses are involved in this years festival?Wow, we haven’t even counted! But we have a good mix of local and international performers and artists outside of Barefeet Theatre. The Barefeet Children’s Council will also perform during the festival. There are 25 international artists/directors/collaborators. To host and welcome all this international talent, we have a strong base of National artists who are showing the visitors how its done in Zambia. These include Mutinta, Maureen Lilanda, Pompi, the Mwale Sisters, Impact Band, Scarlet, Seka Theatre and more. We have over 40 Barefeet artists, and over 2000 of the most dynamic emerging artists who are the heart of the whole festival.

Describe the impact you believe Barefeet is having on the people you work withMost of the acrobats and performers who make up Barefeet are youth who were formerly on the streets. Since joining Barefeet, you can see how much they’ve changed. They are proud, they have higher self -esteem, they are given the chance to perform all over the world. They are seen as leaders and role models by their peers. In terms of the impact we have on the community, in addition to entertaining them, we are teaching them about overcoming social issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention and environmental conservation. There’s so much more to Barefeet than just performing. We sum up our activities with ‘The 5 Toes’:

  1. Outreach
  2. The Children’s Council members are young activist from 12- 18 years of age who are ambassadors for Barefeet and advocate for a free and just world.
  3. Intervention which involves working in communities.
  4. Barefeet Youth and Arts Festival
  5. Performance Company

So take part in this years Roar Festival!View the event guide to plan your 2013 Barefeet Festival experience, with dates, times, venues, detailed event information and ticket information.

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