Collaboration in art is about mutual respect and putting egos aside, although it might not be for everyone, those who can join forces to bounce ideas and inspo have the power to create powerful environments and experiences. This is solely what the Freestyle Arts Festival (FAF), on March 8 in the Mustang Lounge, is all about as it unites motivated artists, musicians, dancers and other creators in an authentic manner, through improves and freestyles.
Anything can happen
The point of the festival is to keep things moving, every 15-minutes the performers will rotate the spotlight to keep the audience engaged—leading up to the climax of the show within shows—in which all art forms will perform simultaneously altogether. Musicians will be on stage and artists will draw and paint what they feel according to the music, in which dancers will whirl.
“The idea is someone will sign up for a stage time slot and musicians are encouraged to go and join that person to play together. The goal is to get a handful of people who have never played together as musicians,” says Nate Clapinson, bass player for The B-Club.
What makes this festival particularly unique, compared to any other show, is the end product.
“Let’s say the band is going to play covers or their original music, then you have an idea of the type of show they perform. With this, musician can play songs they already know how to play or have rehearsed, but I’ve encouraged them to improvise and add freestyle elements to it. It could be jams they have just worked out the basics of. It’ll be exciting because all the art that’s being produced within this experience and environment are going to be perfectly unique to what’s happening in the room, they will never be able to be replicated again,” notes Clapinson.
“From a dance, music and arts perspective it’s really about being able to translate the kind of excitement were feeling as artists to the audience and getting them as into it as we are. How we’re going to do that is by keeping things moving—nobody is going to be in one spot, there’s going to be no seats—there’s going to be multiple stages and things going on all over the place.”
“It’s going to be chaotic, that’s what I want from this.”
Ironically, there are disconnects between artists and how they perceive different art styles and forms. Part of what the festival wants to display is a harmonious appreciation and value for all art, this is not meant to be a competition.
“I get frustrated about it, it’s condescending and insulting. I’ve sat in a class where a professor—out of the blue—stopped the lecture, and goes, ‘There’s no reason anyone should ever study popular music. No reason.’ Word for word, ‘It is a waste of time,” recalls Clapinson.
Clapinson can only speak for music as a form, but he knows friction also exists among visual artist and styles.
“A lot of classical musicians don’t believe that popular music is something worth studying. They see it as tacky. They think popular music isn’t as true as an art form because it’s driven by financial reasons, meanwhile the bottom line is expressing yourself. That’s what being an artist is right? It’s about putting something out there that you believe in and you care about and
expressing in the hopes that other people feel and express the same way, or don’t but take something away from what you produced,” says Clapinson.
The degree of support and recognition is different for all forms and styles of art, whether the representation be in Universities/Colleges, movies, art shows, and so on.
“There’s no point in drawing lines around music or limiting who you can work with.”