By Laura Lennie, News Staff
When Mark Gowland organized the first A Mid Summer’s Dream colour festival last summer at Gage Park, he didn’t know what the response would be.
Inspired by the annual Holi Festival of Colors in India, the event is a platform to celebrate all cultures, castes and creeds. During the Holi Festival of Colors in India, people playfully throw coloured powder at each other in celebration of harmony and peace.
“What I really wanted to do was show people something different from the normal expectations of what festivals were,” the 27-year-old Stoney Creek resident said. “I wanted to see people break out of their shell, I wanted to see people acting silly and laughing and that’s what I saw. It was beautiful.”
Gowland is holding the second A Mid Summer’s Dream colour festival on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Gage Park.
Attendees once again will be able to buy coloured powder to throw into the air in unison at the event.
“The purpose of the festival is to break down all barriers people have with each other,” Gowland said. “Everybody is wearing the same thing, coloured powder. Everyone’s enjoying each other’s company and gathered at the same place to have a good time.”
The Mid Summer’s Dream colour festival will feature artists, performers, musicians, an artisan marketplace and food. People also are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
“There will be more than last year,” Gowland said. “There will be different artists from various backgrounds, like sitar and tabla, native drumming, traditional Irish music and also some really great bands, like Weekend Riot Club, who is headlining. The event’s also expanded to include art installations from local artists in the community.”
Gowland said he came up with the idea for the Mid Summer’s Dream colour festival last April, while sitting at a coffee shop in downtown Hamilton.
“I had just finished working at a marketing firm and had a pretty strong desire to start something of my own,” he said. “I saw Holi and was amazed. I asked some people if they would go to something like that and I got yes’s from everybody, so I decided to take a chance.”
Gowland said he encourages others to give the Mid Summer’s Dream colour festival a try.
“If you want to have fun, it’s a guarantee,” he said. “The best part is everybody accepts everybody there. A lot of people were unsure how to act at the event last year and then they just jumped in and had the time of their lives – it’s amazing what a little colour can do.”
For more information on the Mid Summer’s Dream colour festival, including volunteer opportunities, email Gowland at email@example.com or visit the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/amidsummersdream.