This is my first time in ricca ricca *festa Okinawa and first thing that came up in my mind was about the festival venues. It was impressive to me how the festival has been on over a decade and is embraced by the Okinawan community so well that not only I can see from its continuity but also the venues which stretch in and spread through the heart of the town, in the markets, community centers, government building, church, as such. It must be a result of a great and devoted collaboration between the festival and the community which I believe is important for the festival to last.
Apart from the locations, I was glad that ricca ricca *festa Okinawa values local essence and programed pieces such as the SHIIJYA DANCE PROJECT, and Tamatsu’s Love - from Kumiodori ‘Temizu-no-en’. The former was passing on the local spirit and history to the younger generation, while the latter offering senior citizens an alternative adaptation of the traditional piece. I saw beauties in these. And again, the festival together with the community tied up strong. Additionally, the SHIIJYA DANCE PROJECT reminded me of how essential a living archive is and when it was delivered in form of a performance where human-to-human communication happens, it was powerful and heartfelt.
Before joining this year ricca ricca *festa I got a chance to participate in a seminar which focusing in organizing a successful festival or event. Ricca ricca *festa Okinawa checks almost every point on venue. Easy access plus open access. Strong relationship with the community. The like-nowhere-else with own history and tradition. So, ricca ricca *festa is one of models in that.
What I also loved in the festival was when I saw lots of families and kids having great time together with the outdoor performance GIRAFFES in the park although some kids were crying hard being frighten by the size and proximity of the puppets. (Which was all fine. Kids can cry when they feel disturbed and it was an open space anyway.) It is always a great model when a festival opens arms for everyone with an open-access, free-admission event like this. It was a very good vibe. And yes, knowing that a free-admission performance is not a zero-cost event, a festival has to work its way to do so and manage so. I appreciated this effort.
Despite the fact that I missed quite a lot of the Southeast Asian TYA Meeting sessions, I really enjoyed our post-show conversation and experience sharing to get to know our similar and different points of view, expectations, challenges, and opportunities from friends in the neighboring countries which was very inspiring as well as friends from non-Asia.
The festival was big that there were a lot of performances and programs I missed but I have joined no less. Certain ones I loved, some I liked, and some I don’t like. But I can say that I enjoyed ricca ricca *festa Okinawa and wish to come back.