Esperanzah, a festival of commitment 

Article published on Aug. 17, 2014
Article published on Aug. 17, 2014

The Esperanzah Belgian festival is not "just" about concerts and street art.Participants had the opportunities to attend movies projections and debates. The Civil society also had its own village to broadcast its messages.

You don't want to purchase Coke or any other extra-common product at the Esperanzah. This event gives the opportunity to discover the "alternative" culture. CafeBabel unveils the commited side of this world music festival.

Manual of the possible

Esperanzah is welcoming the "Village of the possible", an open space shared by citizens and associations who would like to change their daily life. For instance, each participant can learn how to build furniture by using second-hand stuff, or install a free software on his computer, etc...

Regarding this "Village" thing, the ADES network has edited the Manual of the possible. Here's what the authors wrote in the editorial: "it's time to switch from consumerist capitalism to a sharing oriented economy!"

This guide provides plenty of useful advice about how to set up basic ways of consuming others than the old-fashioned one. The authors bring up many topics all over its 28 pages: banking, housing, feeding, helping, transportation, etc. The book also lists some organisations which enable citizens to find out information.

As an example, you can go to the "Repairs cafes"and have any kind of object fixed instead of throwing it away and buying new ones. Among other things, the goal of these companies is to fight against the planned obsolescence, which consists in decreasing the products' lifetime in order to encourage people to consume. Shared buyins groups allow people to purchase their products to local producers instead of using supermarkets.

Capitalism museum

The Esperanzah is hosting part of the Capitalism Museum; the whole version of it is going to be opened in February 2015 in Brussels. This museum is divided into 4 sections: origin, hope, limit and  alternatives, and many  educational modules can be find along its path.

The museum enlightens the fact that there are several types of capitalism, not just one: for instance, the "social-democrat" capitalism, a common one in nothern countries, is far away from the free-market capitalism, which is broadly applied in Anglo-Saxon countries.

They also have the possibility of watching the movie "Les portes de l'abondance". This 1953 documentary is dedicated to both the advances achieved by mechanics and the industrial revolution since the middle of the 19th century, and the new society they allowed to arise: abundance society.

 Finally, thanks to a visual module, the participants are able to find out the year the worldwide consumption outran the Earth's regeneration capacity.

Fesdig, the  little brother of Esperanzah

Since 2008, Esperanzah provides Fesdig, a festival that occurs in Burkina Faso, with both funds and expertise . This African festival aims at promoting the artistic, cultural and pastoral legacy of Gulmu, an Eastern Burkina Faso district.

Regarding this bonding, a bunch of 13 Esperanzh volunteers departed for Burkina Faso on February 2014 to set up Radio Festig, based on the temporary Radio Esperanzah.

In August 2013, "we had an epiphany during a debriefing meeting", explains Kiki Rousseau, Radio Festig co-coordinator. Since then, everything has been rushing and the project managers organized some events, such as Christmas Market, handworked products sale, etc in order to raise funds. Volunteers also approched several organizations so as to get the required equipment for the creation of the studio.

Thus, the team arrived by the end of February, a few weeks before the beginning of Festig. Local conditions were pretty rough: a former seed hall had been turned into a studio, the Chinese employees  were not reliable all the time. Therefore the place was not fit to broadcast, that's why two associated radios had to broadcast  the shows again during the festival . "The toddler has started to practise. He still needs a few more falls before he's going to get better" concludes Kiki.