I am looking for funding to continue a partnership the festival began last year to produce an entertainment program for youth by youth. In 2012, we hosted Ozone House's Noise Permit, a youth concert featuring artists from Ozone House, Community Records, and The Neutral Zone. This program was produced under a grant to Ozone House, and provided a chance for local teens and kids to perform positive message music for their peers. While Noise Permit had happened in years past, 2012 was the first time it was presented as a part of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival. By all accounts, the program was a huge success. To my knowledge, this was the first program aimed at teens and pre-teens to take place at the festival in a decade or more.
As the festival's coordinator, I think it is vital that we have a robust youth program. Having programs like Noise Permit as part of the Heritage Festival gives teens a sense of belonging and inclusion. Putting on my festival operations and security hat, it's important to my operations because teens are coming to the event anyway, and past experiences have proven that it's better to have something for them to do when they get here.
I have already secured the participation of Ozone House, 826 Michigan and several committed individuals to help produce this program, and we have several other groups interested in participating. But this year, there is no grant for Noise Permit at Ozone House. While the festival provides a youth entertainment budget and infrastructure, that money also has to cover the performers and activities for young children that the community has come to expect from the Heritage Festival. We are going to find a way to bring this program together one way or another, but a grant from A2 Awesome would give us some certainty of what we'll be able to do. The festival made big gains in securing our long term finances in 2012, and my hope is that, by 2014, we will be better able to support this program on our own.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (May 2013)