Fusion Canada has been supporting “Open Crowd Festivals” since 2003. Here are a few stories of community groups that we are currently working with:
Please see our calendar for the dates of upcoming events. For comprehensive information on how you can develop Open Crowd Festivals in your community, click the link below.
What is an Open Crowd Festival?
An Open Crowd takes place when strangers become connected and a caring community builds. Trust and hope rise and something lasting can come to birth. Connections and trust often take a long time to build, however Open Crowd Festivals are able to build them relatively quickly – it’s why they can be so effective.
The power of an Open Crowd Festival is that everyone, children in particular, are seen and valued for who they are. At an Open Crowd Festival it is not about winning or coming first, rather it is about being appreciated. A place where people are valued and move from being strangers to friends doesn’t just happen accidentally. It takes planning, work and sensitivity.
History of Festivals
40 years ago Fusion in Australia began exploring how it could more effectively reach people who weren’t part of the Christian community. Experimenting with running Festivals at Agricultural Shows in Tasmania they found a means to contact over 80% of the population each year that attended Shows.
During the 1990’s over 2 million people came to this style of “Open Crowd” Festival across Australia. It became part of Olympic and World Cup events during the first decade of the 21st century and currently they take have taken place in 25 countries.
Avenue of Nations (Central Edmonton)
107 Avenue close to downtown Edmonton is called the “Avenue of Nations”. This area is known as a “place of new beginnings”, where many recent immigrants to Canada come to live. The All Nations Centre is located in the heart of this area, and provides care and support to many of these new arrivals to Canada, particularly those of African descent. Their services include English as a Second Language, child care, and other programs that are needed.
It has been our pleasure to partner with the All Nations Centre to deliver annual Open Crowd Community Festivals since 2010. During these festivals we have seen people from many different nations come together as one community. One wonderful feature of these festivals is that the MC makes announcements in English and up to eight other languages. All Nations Centre staff work hard to build partnerships with local businesses and other agencies to support the festivals.
Fusion Canada has worked with a wonderful team of partners in this part of Edmonton since 2008. In 2009 the partnership produced a research document entitled “Our People, Our Community: Preliminary Research Fusion North East Edmonton.” The report presented the results of interviews with local residents during which they shared their hopes and dreams for their community. One common theme was that many residents felt isolated and yearned for more opportunities to build relationships with their neighbours. Leaders also recognized that there were few major community events held close to the Londonderry area, and that for many residents cost and transportation challenges would make participating in these events impossible.
A number of partner agencies agree to work together to host annual Open Crowd Community Festivals in late June. Held on the fields at ME LaZerte High School, these festivals have become part of the yearly rhythm in this part of Edmonton.
For more information, check out http://www.northeastcommunityfestival.ca
Wetaskiwin is a small city of about 13,000, located about 70 km south of Edmonton. In the spring of 2017 a small group of church leaders were working with the City of Wetaskiwin to develop events to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday. The church leaders contacted Fusion Canada and asked for assistance. On June 30 and July 1, 2017 a group of Wetaskiwin churches partnered together to host the “Wetaskiwin Community Festivals” for the first time. In spite of some challenging Alberta weather that ended the second festival early, the response from the community was amazing.
The group of churches is committed to offering these festivals every year and are working on a plan to respond to other needs in their city as well.
For more information, check out www.wetaskiwinfestivals.ca