INTERVIEW: Celebrate Everything | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: The Sapphic Demandments as part of Base Camp’s Celebrate Everything Festival, by Keavey Gamwell

It sounds like a call to arms: Celebrate Everything. At a time when changes on the horizon seem fuzzy and inconceivable as we still sit in our houses, the suggestion of celebrating anything at all sounds like a challenge. It’s one that Middlesbrough’s Base Camp are rising to though; having revamped their space last year (not to mention being one of only a handful of DIY spaces on Teesside which welcomed live music outside), they’ve continued to roll with the punches to provide a welcoming space for artists and musicians, and it’s this spirit of creativity they’re commanding us to celebrate, with a week-long series of performances and events which centre around International Women’s Day.

Of course, Celebrate Everything is nothing new; having begun life as a music festival in 2019, it has since blossomed into a multi-disciplined event, and this year the fun is taken online, with performances captured by filmmaker Lizzie McKeone. “The clue is really in the title.” Says Base Camp’s Carmel Ramsey. “It’s an eclectic and dynamic showcase of some of the most exciting emerging talent from across the North East. We’ve moved it online until lockdown restrictions lift and pulled together musicians, artists, spoken word performers, writers, filmmakers, visual artists, rappers and much more. We have based the first raft of activity around International Women’s Day and chosen artists that we have long wanted to work with or who inspire us.”

Kicking off from Monday 8th March and taking place throughout the coming week, the venue’s social media pages will present a showcase or performance every day by a female performer, all presented by venue manager Jemma Jelf. “The first wave of activity celebrates the amazing way women have negotiated lockdown. There will be new work, established artists working in new ways, one-off collaborations and some proper antics to put a smile on your face.”

Highlights include poet, playwright and The Red Room founder Lisa Lovebucket performing a celebratory piece about her multi-roled experience of lockdown through the medium of the wig; all-round creative Keavey Gamwell presents The Sapphic Demandments Zine, a collection of illustrated/designed societal issues stemming from lesbian/WLW (women love women) identity; filmmaker Elizabeth Evans captures the loneliness and isolation of lockdown with two haunting films; Sunderland band bigfatbig call out the haters, trolls and the misogynists in the music business with a brilliantly funny and incisive video; and Northern School of Art students Lace Collective exhibit work based on their individual and collective experiences of lockdown.

Also of note will be a special event from deaf performer Colly Metcalfe, who collaborates with Darlington songwriter Eve Conway. “We had seen Colly Metcalfe at an event at Base Camp and were completely blown away by her performance. We wanted to pair her with a local musician and Eve Conway’s song Crucified by Hurricanes just seemed to be the perfect piece. We filmed [her performance] in the basement at Base Camp and the rawness of the surroundings along with the gracefulness of Colly’s performance and the soaring vocals are absolutely spine tingling. For me, that’s a real highlight of the festival. It makes me cry every time I watch it!”

There are more performances on the horizon, with pop-up events planned throughout March and April, proving that perhaps we don’t have to look too far for something to celebrate.

Follow the action via the venue’s social media pages at @basecampboro

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