April 16, 2024

The Crow’s Nest, on the edge of our TrAd Village, will be a sacred space for people with lived experience of being racialised as non-white, to rest. Rest from what can be the exhausting work of ‘holding tight’ in predominantly white spaces. The Crow’s Nest provides Welcome - when it’s most needed - to people who may feel unwelcome, unacknowledged, unseen or unheard in the festival, in that moment. 

Safe spaces, places of refuge, are valuable and our festival has them - the Women’s Tent, the Queer Dome – why not a safe space for racialised people? Put like that, it’s a no-brainer.

And yet we know The Crow’s Nest will raise questions. Why is it exclusively for racialised people? Why is it needed? That’s ok. Questions are good, questions mean we are learning. There will be time for held and facilitated conversations in the neighbouring tents of the TrAd Village... and maybe we'll even get some answers! 

Festival reality, not only at Green Gathering, is that racialised people are underrepresented and festivals are not racism-free zones. We hope The Crow’s Nest will be the support that brings people who would otherwise not attend, or who, having come along, might feel marginalised, wary, unwelcome. Yes, racialised people are put off joining in the joy of festivals by a real and legitimate expectation of receiving racist treatment and comments. 

Boosh, the creator and coordinator of The Crow’s Nest, says:

“It’s not a fear, not something we’re scared MIGHT happen, it’s ‘how bad will it be this time?’ it’s the being unwelcome at best, blatantly attacked at worst, and we want people to feel safer knowing we are there.”

Manoah Smiley, who’ll be supporting Boosh to run the space this year, says:

“Crow’s Nest is young, bold, capable and timely. Crow’s Nest crew have a love for The Green Gathering but racism, present here as everywhere, seriously challenges the love. This safe space will keep us coming back and we’re confident we are not unusual in that. We want to enjoy Green Gathering, and we want to bring more racialised people along to enjoy it too.”

The Green Gathering is all about sustainability. How we treat people is an essential part of that. It is unsustainable to exploit people. The climate crisis disproportionately impacts those who are most marginalised. This is what we call climate injustice. The climate crisis is a racist crisis; we need to broaden our environmental movement to include all forms of social justice as this is the only way we are able to tackle a global and systemic issue.

Where people are exploited, unsustainable practices are rife – e.g. deforestation, environmental contamination. All life on earth suffers, including the exploited people, who are so often over-looked in the sustainability equation. Exploitation also delivers labour and products so cheaply they’re often considered disposable, single use and soon become waste, pollution. At the production and consumption stages, exploitation damages both planet and people, especially those who have been historically underprivileged and marginalised. 

If we believe western capitalism is unsustainable (with its markers of waste, pollution, greed, poverty, exploitation and war) then we can’t ignore the part played by its most profitable tool, racism. This directly links to colonialism as we are seeing the direct consequences of colonial/imperial rule through the likes of massive corporations set up by the colonisers to extract wealth and resources from the Global South.

The presence of The Crow’s Nest at Green Gathering speaks to the ubiquitous nature of racism and the need to tackle it.

Those who are keen to learn more about race + climate justice will find the following resource useful - Race and Climate Justice

This blog was collaboratively compiled by Boosh, Manoah Smiley and Liba Ravindran of The Crow’s Nest, and GG festival director Em Weirdigan.

The Crow’s Nest at GG 2024 will be part-funded by The Green Gathering charity (no. 1156593)

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