Long term readers, real life friends and some casual acquaintances will have heard me talk about TiNA. And when I say “talk” I mean “rave loudly and at length.” For those who are unaware, here’s the background-
TiNA stands for This is Not Art and is a festival held in Newcastle every October. Under the big shiny TiNA umbrella fall five smaller festivals- Critical Animals, Sound Summit, Electro Fringe, The Crack Theatre Festival and The National Young Writers Festival. Once a year people from all over Australia congregate in one place to network, discuss the state of the world and generally have a really fantastic time.
I’ve attended TiNA (specifically for the NYWF) for two years now. This year will be my third year…would be my third year…could be…might be…SHOULD be.
Why the tense crisis? TiNA is under threat. The Newcastle City Council has decided not to continue funding the festival which means, with only a couple of months til go-time, they need to find $18, 000.
That’s a lot of money by anyone’s standards. Exactly why the council has chosen to actively condemn something that brings millions to their economy is beyond me. Newcastle was listed in Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Cities of the World last year. The big question, of course, was why? Well, TiNA got a specific mention.
Personally the National Young Writers Festival means a hell of a lot to me.
It played a fairly decisive role in my university preferences. I’m not saying TiNA is the only reason I now call Newcastle home but it is one of them. When I first moved down for uni it was also the main thing that stopped me getting horribly lost (as regularly anyway). Every time I had to go somewhere I would realise I’d been there before for a festival event. During O Week I went to a barbeque for St Vinnies which happened to be held in the same place I once went to the beginning of a rather bizarre zombie march (which was abandoned shortly afterwards in favour of a spelling bee).
For anyone’s who’s never been to TiNA its kind of hard to describe the atmosphere. People welcome you into their discussions. I made friends with reckless abandon and only later realised that they could be “important connections”. It’s kind of amazing that you can fit that many memories in five days. To give you some idea, you can read the posts I wrote as an official blogger at last year’s festival here.
I’ve been looking forward to TiNA all year. The idea that it might not happen is devastating. I’m not using that word lightly. I’m actually properly upset about this.
But why am I telling you? I wish I was massively independently wealthy and could pull out my cheque book and say “how much do you need?” But I can’t. I don’t even own a cheque book. So I’m doing what I can do- spreading the word.
What can you do? You can donate here. Even a couple of dollars would help. Drop a few coins in the virtual tin. And spread the word.
I was really hoping to see some of you at TiNA this year. Lets hope there’s a festival for us to go to.