On Sunday 12th August 2018, we were fortunate enough to see first-hand the success of Simmer Down. Despite a cooling dampness saturating the air, and the odd bouts of light rain, hundreds of visitors arrived to see what was on offer.
Our Aspire4U team had the control of stage 2, to promote the Best of Brum. We wanted to do our bit by attracting sponsorship for the festival, and by obtaining funding to solidify the plans for it all to go ahead. Our impact is seen in unlocking the deal to helping thousands of people have a great time.
So, presented on stage 2 were a range of emerging artists, all hoping to reach and resonate with audiences. We all had our own roles to play in ensuring operations ran smoothly whilst all this was happening. Some were in charge of crafts space, recording footage and keeping a steady stream of live updates via our social media channels. Besides our various marketing duties, we had another aim in mind: To find out just what exactly it was people were looking for from the festival experience, why they thought it should stay, and what, in their opinion, it brought to the community. It was our purpose to find out what it was about the festival that made people feel good.
Amongst the emerging artists, we had the chance to interview Tina Amana. She told us “Simmer Down is just roots, you come here and it just feels like I can get into my culture, get really into Birmingham, a complete vibe, getting together. Simmer Down means a lot, i’m always here every year. It’s an event I come to with my family. It’s just something that is part of that family life, so Simmer Down is important to me.” We wanted to know what Simmer Down actually brings to the community, to one that may have negative connotations attached to it. Tina stated “it brings togetherness, and good vibes-sometimes there’s negativity out there, and so it’s nice to just come and be in your zone.”
We also spoke with general visitors to hear their views. The general narrative we took from our interviewing process was that visitors were looking for variety, for something different on a typical, Sunday afternoon. I was told “it’s the blend that forms a great atmosphere; the combination of loud music, enthusiasm and energy, delicious smells from the food stalls, excitement, and the smoke and haze in the air. It should stay because it’s a gentle celebration of the arts, a display for you and your family. It reminds you there are things to take inspiration from and progression is possible for us all, which I welcome heartily, especially when at times you can feel disenchanted with the local area”.