By Danielle Boothroyd
The Colne Valley village will be transformed into a ‘festival of light’ , using illuminated creations from a local community art project, between 18th-20th February. It builds on the 30 year-old traditions of the biennial Moonraking Festival, which cannot take place this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A network of street ambassadors has helped to deliver information and artistic materials to Slawit residents and businesses so that as many people as possible are involved. Almost 500 resource packs have been distributed so far, and the locals have responded enthusiastically to the challenge. Online workshops took place at the beginning of the week to guide and inspire participants with creating their own designs.
The idea of ‘Moonshine’ is to harness the community creativity of Moonraking and spread hope and positivity during these difficult times. Individuals have been asked to display artworks in their windows alongside their neighbours’ and light them up as it goes dark.
This has all been made possible through a fundraising ‘Lunar Levy’ scheme, where locals have contributed their small change in shops and businesses over the course of the last year, which has in turn helped to bring in generous grants for their registered charity from Arts Council England, Kirklees Council and the Judith and Neil Charlesworth Fund from One Community.
Sadly, due to the pandemic there can be no lanterns, music or procession this year but instead can be enjoyed by people in their own homes, on social media and in short socially distanced walks around the village.
To keep within government guidelines and to maintain Covid secure safety measures, people from outside the area should not attend, but photographs and videos will be shared online for anyone who still wants to feel involved. There will also be some special online musical events – check the festival’s Facebook page for final details and online links.
Festival Director Gill Bond said: “It is so important to build connectivity in the face of the increased isolation we have faced through the COVID 19 epidemic. We have been championing the power of creativity through the festival for over 30 years. People have grown-up with it as part of their lives and want to pass on the spirit of it to the next generation. The power of both Moonraking, and this lockdown Moonshine Project, is that together we create something bigger. Our individual artworks, be they a lantern that is processed or a window picture that is lit, combine with others to create installations of light that everyone has ownership of and is part of. Together we make our village special.”
For more information about this year’s festival, visit the links below:-