Saboteur Awards Festival 2021: The pandemic edition

Dear Friends of Sabotage Reviews,

To say it’s been a strange year seems like a wild understatement. After the unexpected changes to the Saboteur Awards Festival 2020, a lot of thought has gone into how the 2021 festival might look. Funding is available, but now more than ever there are artists and arts organisations in need of assistance for their work to flourish. With that in mind, I’ve opted not to apply for funding and give the festival structure a facelift.

The awards themselves will remain the same. There will be voting (opening in March 2021) and there will be winners – announced, perhaps, on another 60-person strong Zoom call. The events leading up to the festival are where I’d like to draw attention though.

Sans funding, I’d like to try to make the Saboteur Awards Festival 2021 a community-based project to support artists and organisations whose work went unnoticed – or rather, not quite celebrated – due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Rather than a day, we’ll aim for a week, and we’ll fashion a Saboteur Awards Spotlight for those in need of it.

I’m open to suggestions of how this might look whether it be a spoken word event; a late in the day book launch; a digital poetry show… The only caveat being the work brought to the festival will be work that was somehow impacted or hindered by the health crisis across the UK this year. Sabotage will provide the Zoom feed, or website space, and a willing audience, if you can provide:

  • A spoken word night
  • A poetry show
  • A book launch (or a family of book launches)
  • A panel discussion or literary presentation
  • A meet the author / meet the editor event
  • A film event, or film evening

Now, the less exciting part, in not applying for funding this of course means we can’t pay. I’ve debated this a lot, on account of Sabotage Reviews being an organisation that prides itself on being able to pay artists. My hope, however, is that a community-led festival will allow for a mutually beneficial opportunity for promotion that will make up for this lack of payment.

If all goes to plan, the events will run daily from Monday, May 10th 2021 through to Saturday, May 15th 2021, which is when the awards will take place.

I realise this is an entirely new format, but we’re heading into an entirely new era for events organisation, and if now isn’t the time for trying new things, and taking a risk or two, then there never will be a time.

If you’d like to put yourself, your work or your organisation forward to take part in the Saboteur Awards Spotlight series, please do email me, Charley Barnes, at [email protected] to register your interest and explain your pitch (whatever form it may take; I really am open to hearing everything).

I hope, between us, we can find a new way to celebrate artistic endeavours in this brave new world.

Warm wishes,