I already expressed my disappointment over the activism component of Forecastle. After all, if you’re going to bill activism as one of the tenants of your festival, it should be an integral component instead of a theme for the commercial vendors.
Don’t get me wrong. I honestly enjoyed the heck out of this year’s Forecastle Festival. Therefore, I’m dividing my critique of their Art component into two parts - performance art and making the world a pretty place. 
Sure, theater is classified as one of the arts, but when most people talk about art they mean paintings, sculptures, and the like. One of the things I really liked about this year’s Forecastle was their appreciation of performance art.
Cirque Berzerk was an amazing addition. They well deserved the three performances a day on their own stage. The sheer athleticism, excellent costumes, and amazing performance really legitimized the performance art aspect of the festival.
My personal favorite bit of unexpected performance art was the Marching Madness Band. They had baton twirlers, hula hoopers, dancers, drummers, and put on one heck of a great show wherever they found an empty space. I saw them outside the porta potties, in the grassy median between two stages, and along the sidewalks. The costumes were fantastic, the body types ranged from svelte to voluptuous, and everyone looked like they were having one heck of a great time.
The Speakeasy Cinema was a good idea, but sadly I never saw any movies playing or anyone in the tent. Still, it’s a great way to add the cinema to an art festival, so I hope they try again next year.
You may not consider extreme skating to be performance art, but these guys did a fantastic job decorating their stage and were zooming around every night to enthusiastic live music. I’m not a skater, but every time I passed by I was mesmerized. The mini-skate park was a great addition both thematically and artistically.
I’ll even throw Toyota a bone here. They paid attention the theme of the festival and therefore sent people out do do live silkscreening while soliciting signups for a Prius. Big money sponsors are a lot of what makes festivals like this happen. It’s nice to see a multi-national corporation pay attention to something this small scale.
Photos credit Chris-Rachael Oseland.