Cowbells, Talerschwingen, amateur dramatics, folk dancing, Le Secret, Gruyère cheese production, the chants of Gottéron fans, but also oriental dance, Moroccan Aïtas, Tamil opparis, Congolese Sapeurs and the Mexican language Náhuatl are all living traditions which will be showcased at the 2016 Belluard Festival. A living tradition refers to an artistic or social practice that still exists, has been passed down at least two generations, is constantly evolving and provides its practitioners with a sense of identity and continuity. Identity and culture are thus not static, but are processes that ceaselessly change and reinvent themselves in response to narratives and contradictions, creolisation and confrontation, fusion and separation. Through exhibitions, performances, installations, concerts and formats that defy classification in existing genres, Swiss and international artists explore and question, in playful appropriation, the transformative potential of living traditions for the post-migratory societies of the future.
All living tradition practitioners from Fribourg, whether long-established or recently arrived, are cordially invited to appear before the camera of Democratic Set. This material will be used to make a short film which will be premiered at the end of the festival. “Belluard yourself!” is the motto of this and other projects in which you, the public, can actively participate. Music is another common theme running through this year’s programme and that is not only true for the concerts, hand-picked by Daniel Fontana and Michael Kinzer. Music plays a central role in almost all of the performances and it is fitting that such a diversity of sound will be produced in Fribourg, a city so attached to music.
For the 33rd time, the historic fortress provides the backdrop for artistic projects; once again, the arsenal is transformed into a kitchen area, this time with Cantine Mobile from Bienne manning the stoves; as always, everyone sits outside until late at night, before moving inside to the fortress bar even later – a temporary community that is welcoming to all, forever changing and, for many, part of local identity. Is the Belluard itself a living tradition too?
Anja Dirks and the Belluard Festival team