Make Music and Make a Fun Palace

3 & 4 October 2020


This weekend, with just two weeks to go before Fun Palaces weekend, I am going to send a message to my street’s WhatsApp group and ask if they want to join me in making a Fun Palace. I will explain a little and say Fun Palaces is about people feeling connected, it’s about creativity, it’s about getting to know your neighbours. I may also add that Fun Palaces believes, truly believes, in the genius of everyone. And then I will set out my plan. How about we schedule 10 minutes of live music every hour, from 11am to 6pm? How about our balconies and front door steps become concert halls? How about our front gardens become festival stages?

I know in our street, there are people who play music. When emerging during lockdown to clap for the NHS, a man three doors down played the fiddle so beautifully, we danced. And there is definitely someone who can hold a tune on a trumpet – I’ve heard them practise. And this is just what I know – there will be drummers and singers and recorder players and beat boxers and more. To hear music from windows and front gardens every hour would connect us. To hear music from our street, all types of music, played by people who live in our street, would make me happy. We don’t need to gather, we don’t need to buy tickets, we just need to go about our business with our ears wide open. And despite the virus and the necessary restrictions it has led to, we will feel connected, linked by our shared listening, linked by our heart felt pride in the people who live around us.

Since 2014 there have been 1758 Fun Palaces, made by 39,000 local people across the UK and beyond. All those people believing that creativity in the community can change the world for the better. All those people learning and (re)discovering passions and skills that they can share. All those people supporting community well-being, helping people feel happy and less lonely. And all of this feels more important now than ever. In fact, in these unprecedented times, people have been sharing their skills and their passions in an unprecedented way – tiny moments of connection, that have helped to get us through.

This year we are calling on everyone to make a tiny Fun Palace, calling on everyone to continue to skill share, to continue to chat over the fence, to continue to create possibilities for connection. There are many safe ways to make a Fun Palace and we have lots of ideas to get you thinking. We have also drawn up a set of safety Guidelines for Shielders so that everyone can feel supported to get involved. It only takes a knock on a neighbour’s door to make a Fun Palace, but it has the potential to make a huge difference as we navigate together through the next few months.

– Sarah-Jane Rawlings, Co-Director of Fun Palaces

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