The Calgary Choose Yer Own festival takes audience participation to a whole new level. Billed as a “Festival Messtival” on its website, CYO emphasizes oddball events and operates under the notion that people should, above all else, have fun together at a festival. Anyone with an idea is free to apply; CYO’s rules require only that the event happen locally, does not spread hate, is non-profit and is awesome. The 2013 lineup is still coming together and is therefore a secret, making this August all the more exciting. Expect to see homemade food, short plays, concerts and impromptu jam sessions and an assortment of unique games.
CYO’s mantra is as follows: “Choose Yer Own is a festival based on sweet adventure. It is about being able to choose yer own level of involvement, because feeling like you belong to a place is so important to caring about it. It is about actively creating the culture that you want to live in.” Part of the CYO’s appeal comes from its layout. Rather than a traditional festival where people arrive at the grounds in small groups and move from stand to stand at their leisure, CYO plays out more like a loosely-guided tour. Attendees are encouraged to bring a bicycle because the events take place across several inner-city locations that are jam-packed for three days and two nights with all sorts of peculiar undertakings. Last year, CYO took participants from Sunnyside to Olympic Plaza, Stephen Avenue, Kensington and a few surprise locations for one-act plays, life-sized board games, a Ramones choir and even a Spielberg-inspired nighttime bike ride with papier-mâché ETs. This year’s schedule will be announced as the festival draws nearer and, as always, partakers can pick and choose what events they want to attend.
CYO 6 takes place on August 9 – 11 with events and locations announced as the festival draws nearer; check chooseyerown.wordpress.com for all the latest updates!
By John JuliusAB, Alberta, Featured