Borderless Music and Arts Festival seeks to blur the line between art and activism in Peterborough beginning September 8th through to the 16th. Founded by Sara Shahsavari, the festival features local acts such as Steelburner and Olias, as well as Toronto artists making the Peterborough pilgrimage like rapper Sydanie. Throughout the festivals 8 day run, acts will play in such storied venues as The Spill, Sadleir House, Trail College, and Catalinas.
No stranger to the music scene in Peterborough Sara wanted to create a “festival dedicated to women, the queer community, and weirdos from all different backgrounds”. This is because Sara feels that festival organizers in the Peterborough music scene “aren’t thinking of representing women or giving women headlining spots and it’s a shame because it leaves a weird impression about who plays live music or what the face of music is. We are putting women in the forefront. We are supporting the people who are not considered. We want to make these people the point.”
It should come as no surprise that in creating this festival that Sara drew inspiration from other women in the community such as Borderless Bound Collective member Laura Klinduch who worked on Not Quite Music Festival, Angelica Cooper who organized Sad Fest, and both Jasmine Livermore and Bethany Telford that founded LobsterFest. Sara Shashavari in her journey to establish Borderless Music Festival offers a road map for graduating Trent students to make a splash in the community.
She began as the lead singer for Television Road, but eventually tackled issues of social justice through events like the Gendered Voices Panel, which took place in early 2016. The event featured Trent students who went on to take positions in student governance like Shanese Steele. Also featured on the panel were women in positions of power such as the Honorable Maryam Monsef as well as Councillor Diane Therrien. All of these people told their stories of what it is like to navigate Canadian society and offered profound advice for those in attendance.
Thus, Borderless Music festival represents a synthesis between the two sides of Sara, artist and activist combined into one. The festival is a culmination of “’support from like minded musicians locally, organizations Trent Music Society, Food Not Bombs, Peterborough Pride/Rainbow Service Organization, Public Energy, Trent Active Minds, The TCSA, and OPIRG. They gave me courage.”
Tickets for the festival are $30, or $20 if you are a student. Borderless is meant to be in the same vein as a crawl, in which attendees can hope from spot to spot with relative ease. Check out the Borderless facebook event page for more details.