I am new to Bangor’s Open House Festival, partly because I’ve not spent a summer in Bangor for 7 years, but I also have about 0% interest in near all of their events. As I’m a fella of few interests. But it also feels like a wasted opportunity to let the entirety of the festival pass me by. So, after deciphering their 122-page brochure for August (which could easily be condensed to under 10-pages), I committed myself to the least-worst option. Obscure music? Nope. Poetry? Nope. Swimming in the sea? Seriously? Finding the most palatable option to be the Seaside Revival with Bangor-by-the-Sea. So I inevitably snubbed the ASSISI animal sanctuary open day (Charity No. 104594) in favour of the Seaside Revival at the Open House Festival (Charity No. NIC103648). And instead of helping to house cute, fluffy kittens. My pennies instead went towards the funding of niche interests of middle-class Bangorians.
The Open House Festival
Of course I’m being cynical here, simply because I’m not fussed for the whole arts thing, and I do like to be a bit of a dick at times. Because the Open House Festival have otherwise done wonders when it comes to “making things happen” in Bangor. Meanwhile the people who grumble about them are the same people that do absolutely nothing to help anyone. Anyway, the whole purpose of the Open House charity is to promote local culture and arts, and this is what they do through music and arts events, including annual festivals and one-off concerts and events. And these take place mostly through the month of August. And they are no doubt bringing a bit of buzz back to the town, I guess. While connecting local crafts, artists, and businesses. So it really is a great thing. And given they are Lotto funded, there’s no expense to the taxpayer’s pocket. Meaning they really do deserve ginormous kudos for everything they do. As they estimate to bring around £1.7mil in to Bangor each year.
The Seaside Revival
“Relive Bangor’s heyday as a seaside resort with this celebration of all things vintage, local and seaside inspired. Eat, drink, dance, shop, make & do in this FREE one-day revival on Bangor seafront”. I don’t want to do any of these things. Although I am feeling peckish. Anyway, most of the stalls and exhibits are local arts and crafts, and vintage clothing stalls, there was some poetry thing, and of course a conversation caravan. Which it a bit like a socially-anxious claustrophobe’s nightmare. It really is not for everyone. However it does feel otherwise inclusive, given pretty much anyone can find enjoyment in burgers, beer, and the big gangly stilt walker. That being said, I only stuck around for no more than 30 minutes. Turning up before 01:00PM when it’s relatively empty, and escaping as soon as the crowds arrived. As I will always prefer the seaside when it’s empty and tranquil. And unrevived. And I’m really not the right person to be writing about these events.
Otherwise my obvious interest was in the food, or, to be precise, the “Street Food” as it was labelled. Intrigued to see what their interpretation of traditional seaside “street food” might be. As, in Britain at least, it doesn’t really go further than hot dogs, burgers, and ice-cream. Or widening it maybe to shop-house cultures and you can add chip shops to the list. As the U.K is otherwise near void of traditional street food cultures. Due to rain, and miserable weather. Anyhoo, I was hoping to maybe discover some unlikely eats from Bangor’s yesteryear, only I instead found Prosecco Bars and Texan style barbecues and it was slightly disappointing in this respect. Meanwhile there were local lads fishing from the pier opposite. So this would be my main gripe about it all. The accuracy and authenticity of the events, I guess. As it all is a bit gimmicky, albeit gimmicks that bring in around £1.7mil to Bangor each August. So really they are doing a fantastic job. And what they are lacking in, highlights the potential opportunities for others.