Aberdeen Rebel Festival

Yesterday, XR activists from all over Scotland and concerned Aberdonians took over the Arts Centre for a free, family friendly festival in the oil and gas capital of Europe.

On the order of the day: activism, arts & crafts, food, and love.

In the Regenerative Culture Cafe, lovely volunteers offered refreshments and food to festival wanderers throughout the day. Around a cup of tea or a soup, old friends caught up, and new friends met. Dedicated knitters crafted a huge, beautiful banner from waste yarn, while stories of climate crisis and rebellion were told. In the evening, Scottish poets and musicians took the stage and delighted our ears and minds: pop music, hip-hop, poetry, speeches, DJ set… There was something for everyone.

Meanwhile in the Act Now Room, a heavier atmosphere was set. Activists explained to the public the gravity of the climate and ecological crises and XR’s role in mitigating their disastrous consequences. Tears were shed. Grief and fear were tangible in the room. But so were the courage and determination of those who decided to act after what they had heard. New Rebels were welcome with open arms.

While the Act Now Room focused on the state of the crisis, the Telling the Truth Theatre focused on interlinked components of that crisis and solutions for a better world were discussed: climate (in)justice, capitalism and racism, patriarchy, system change, agriculture, extinction, transition, citizens’ assemblies, and more were on the menu.

In the Rebel for Life Theatre, Tamsin Gray and Holly Gillibrand talked about their experience and hopes as activists. Tamsin is a former Antarctica scientist and now a midwife, Holly is a school student. Both are determined to stand up for what they believe in and shared their determination and inspiration with the public.

In the Beyond Politics Room, solutions and activism practices were explored. In the morning, the Anthropocene Architecture School hosted a workshop exploring ways of connecting key players and competences to make Aberdeen a Climate Emergency Compliant City.

In the afternoon, an interactive Facilitations Skills Training allowed Rebels to share the tools and skills needed to run inclusive, empowering, and productive meetings.

Things got to the next level in the Disruption Theatre: activists geared up for the Rebellion by getting trained for NVDA (Non Violent Direct Action) and Legal Observer roles.

Finally, young and old artists gathered in the Anatomy Room throughout the day to decorate patches, clothes, and more with beautiful hand crafted stamps.

It was a beautiful and fun day of events, full of love and rage, activism and regeneration. Rebels are now more motivated than ever to carry out their next action tomorrow, and to then take part in the International Rebellion on October 7th. See you there!