Lost and Found Festival

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A truly zero-cost, zero-emission, big arts festival!

We want to make a festival that is exclusively made from lost and found things, people and places!

The preparation meeting for this event is set-up at The Hub Brussels (Koninklijke Prinsstraat 36, 1050 Brussels) on 9/9/09. You can register on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112318599052#/event.php?eid=112318599052) or by adding your name (or alias) below.

The rules:

  • No money can be spent directly on the festival, so everything including venues, equipment, etc has to be "found".
  • No money can be spent on the artists, so no link building service transportation costs (hitch), no food costs (dumpster) and absolutely no lodging cost (hospex)[1].
  • All art has to be found (CC, public domain) or created free. music, visual arts, theatre, etc.
  • Self-organisational: wikis, world cafés and similar techniques to avoid having anyone "in charge". This of course implies that what is defined as art might get a bit exciting and that everyone has to try to "get along".
  • It has to look good. Without the proper attitude this could simply become a mess. As a guideline, it has to be for the truly general audience, not just our peers. Ideally, a typical visitor shouldn't realize everything was "found" until it is pointed out. From a volunteer/artist point of view, it's pretty hard work, so workaholics only? It's not a festival for pure freeloaders, although they are of course welcome as an audience.
[1] Of course the usual caveat applies, meaning volunteers may of course spend money should they feel like it. Forcing dogma is never a good option and beer is difficult to find for free. Money is not banned from the festival, it's simply disregarded.
The Lost and Found Festival would be a statement about waste and recycling, about free culture, about self-organisational possibilities and last but not least about the possibility of beauty in such an environment.


In theory, once the project is defined and people agree to it, it should be virtually unstoppable (unless nobody shows up of course).

Disclaimer: some of us have been kicking the idea of an arts festival around for a while already, we're just adding some missing megalomania. There is nothing truly like this in the world (as far as we know).


The actual festival could be held on 10/10/10 or exactly one year, one month and one day after the preparation meeting. This would be a Sunday, which is a "left-over day".

General remarks on timing:

  • The "special" dates are interesting as a meme and seem to spark enthusiasm.
  • Left-overs almost always have a sense of immediacy to them: you either pick them up straight away or they're gone. That implies that an extremely long preparation period doesn't really give us anything extra. We can't "reserve" venues, we can't keep food, we can't have people offer their homes years in advance, etc etc. The hunting period (finding lost stuff) would only need to start about a month and a half before the festival, not much more.
  • A lot of interesting public places (parks, squares, even roads) in Belgium can be had for free, but require a permit. This implies a natural buffer period which we have to keep in mind. This needs to be checked for Brussels, but half a year is typically a safe bet. This is the only case where government involvement/goodwill really would help, so maybe we shouldn't avoid this typical aspect.
  • The biggest issue with timing is people (organizers and artists). Here, a proper buffer period would actually help people to make arrangements: save some money (having really nothing is simply counter-productive), arrange for free time, contact friends, etc.
  • It seems that when things are done low cost, they take a much longer period of time to put together. Money often makes things happen faster. This seems in contradiction to the immediacy of left-overs, so it's important to find out where a fast or slow timing will have impact.


The festival needs a city with a lot of "abundance" and a relative tolerance for free culture. Not too big, definitely not too small. We need to look for a "vacuum", a place where there is no big festival for the preferred period? Think of an "anti-burning man" place: where everything is already theoretically present and nothing needs to be dragged in.

The current proposal is Brussels. It's a decent size with a good artist population. Affordable spaces, which probably makes it easier for people to open their doors for such an event.


We could have a template document/letter of intent for the festival, which other people could use to make a similar "lost and found" festivals. Something like Dogma 95, but for festivals? To be discussed in september?


Of course the exact size of the festival is difficult to predict and usually festivals grow with the years (if we even want to repeat it!). It probably has a natural growth path built in: the more people participate, the bigger it will be. Since we're not tied to a location, the upper limit for organizers/artists is probably around the number of available free places to sleep (which is a hell of a lot). In other words: what happens is the only thing that could happen.

The big question here is: what wouldn't scale naturally? What aspects of the size need to be planned out? For instance, very large audiences require some form of safety scenario.

Call for Artist and Volunteer participation

It would be important to invite some curators interested in working with the theme to propose their own view, then make an exhibition or a performative series. Also finding some artist collectives/initiatives interested as well would help proliferate the idea.

It also seems important to have some locals in the city (which ever it may be), people who speak the language and are familiar with logistics.

- perhaps the first thing to do is to make a call for artists, something brief which explains the intention of the project/festival, date and location isn't necessary (other than the continent), just something to make people aware that an emergence is happening.


Is a truly zero-cost, zero-emission, arts festival possible?
A festival, made from lost and found items. A found festival.
Found materials, found venues, found housing, found food.
Somewhere Some time in Europe an emergence is beginning.
...Musicians, Artists, Hackers, Organizers, Curators, Hitchhikers, Performers...
Share your ideas Share your art Share your heart

Our audience: Everyone

As far as the question of who its for; the "in crowd" or the general public, i think this is important for everyone. Most people in the arts circles are equally ignorant of any sort of free/zero cost alternative as the general public is. My experience here in europe is that most artists with subsidies rely on subsidies to make their work, and if they don't get the funding they give up on the idea and write a new proposal hoping to get funding. coming from the States, this concept is completely absurd, in the States we don't have funding, we do it ourselves with what ever left over time/money/space/resources we can find. So, i would say that this concept is for everyone who isn't aware that such things can/do exist. i will do my part to recruit as many established artists, who normally have subsidies to participate, open up a new world for them.

It's also an interesting idea that this grows as a concept or frame work, so that other people in other locations can use the tools/community we create here to make other free festivals wherever whenever.


Just some random ideas.


  • Street noise performances with active participation of the public


Movies would be an exception, but we can probably come up with a list of movies that are essential for the festival.

  • Skipping Waste
  • Petter, 02.04.2009: Regarding video from surveillance camera's, i have a friend working with this as a medium. I'm sure she would love to exhibit her videos. in fact i know of several artists working within this theme already.
Also check the talk page.