Spring is children’s festival season and I always have a great time at this time of year because I get to experience so many festivals. I get to meet performers from Canada and around the world and I get to see them do their shows. My mom always took us to the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and it was something I looked forward to all year. Those festivals inspired me and gave me a love for the performing arts that has stayed with me my whole life. I’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons why you should bring your kids or students to these festivals.
1. Your kids will experience the arts from something other than a TV. Music, magic, puppetry, theatre, dance, acrobatics, storytelling… These art forms are meant to be experienced live. At live shows performers get to interact with audiences and audiences get to interact with performers. When you go to a show you are a part of the show. Today, we experience the arts mostly through TV and the Internet where there is no interaction and no way to know what is real and what is not. That makes me sad, especially for our kids.
2. You will share an experience with your kids that both they and you will not forget. What do you remember of your childhood? What are your fondest memories? I am willing to bet they involve a personal experience with a family member or friend, and probably involve some special occasion out of the ordinary routine. Children’s festivals provide the opportunity for an amazing day out of the ordinary routine that you can spend with your kids. They will remember spending it with you.
3. Your kids will learn, you will learn. Children’s festivals bring artists from around the world. Your kids will learn about other cultures, new languages, new songs and new stories. They will learn compassion for others. They will learn how to make things such as kites and toys. They will learn how to make new friends. They will learn to dance (and in my opinion a life without dancing is a sad life indeed)!
4. Your kids will be amazed and inspired. Have you ever seen Taiwanese acrobats? They will amaze you. Have you ever seen the inimitable Michel Lauziere? He will astound you. Have you see Cirque du Soleil? I saw them during their first year when I was a kid at the Vancouver Children’s Festival. They amazed me! If your kids are in music lessons, gymnastics lessons, or theater classes they will be inspired. Give them this inspiration.
5. You will instill in your kids an appreciation for the arts, and live performance that will last the rest of their lives. As well as being a musician, an educator and now a parent, I am also a music lover and dedicated a festival-goer. I have seen so many phenomenal performances whether as a child, a teen or an adult and every amazing performance deepens my love for live performance.
The arts don’t just happen. Shows, festivals and other special events happen because people believe in their value. All artists, festival coordinators, volunteers, etc. keep the arts alive for you. The very least you can do is go out and enjoy a show and support these people that are working very hard to add variety to your life and the life of your kids.
What is your fondest children’s festival memory (your own or with your kids)? Post a comment by the end of June. The reader with the best story will win one of my CDs (your choice)!