Over the summer I interviewed some of the participants in New Bedford’s Working Waterfront Festival. I wanted to know what this festival, which was celebrating its 10th year, has meant to them. Here’s the product of that project — a retrospective video that was shown at the festival and has given the festival production team a reminder about why they do what they do, and why it’s important. We all need those reminders sometimes. I am excited by this because it’s an example of how evaluation can be built into the work of a project, organically. The festival produces lots of oral histories from members of the commercial fishing community; producing an oral history of the festival, of sorts, just makes sense. This project will continue to grow, as more visitors and participants in the festival get excited about sharing their memories and reflections. I can’t wait to see where it — and the festival — goes.
The Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford, MA is two things, at the same time: it’s a moment when the commercial fishing industry shares its stories, secrets and skills with visitors, both local and tourist alike. But it’s also a time for those fishermen to get together, as a community of their own. I’m working with the Festival this year to help celebrate their 10th year in existence — a longevity that is hard won, a testament to the real love of the festival that all participants share. I spoke with the Director of the festival, folklorist Laura Orleans, about what the festival means to her: Like what you hear? Keep the festival going strong, and join our community, by giving to our Indiegogo campaign.