The To Absent Friends festival was initiated in 2014 to provide opportunities to remember people, whether they died recently or long ago. However, this year the To Absent Friends festival is taking place in a very different circumstance to previous years.
COVID-19 has brought with it much loss and much grief, and has changed the ways we are able to share stories and solace.
This year's festival will go ahead, but it will be very different from previous years.
There will be many who want to take time to remember those who died in the past and will be forever dear to them. And there will be many who need to take the time to reflect on those who died this year, in times of covid-19, with all the distress and loneliness that brought.
Gatherings may be smaller. More might take place online. But the memories and human connections can be just as meaningful.
To Absent Friends is not like traditional, curated festivals. It exists to encourage participation, and it is non-prescriptive – groups and individuals are welcome to take part in whatever way they feel is appropriate.
There are many ways in which you can get involved. Our ideas page has lots of suggestions for people who would like to host an event. You can also take inspiration from what people have done in festivals past.
We are running a small grants scheme to support organisations to participate. More information is available here: small grants.
We would love you to participate. Please get in touch if you are planning to do something or you would just like to discuss your ideas.
COVID-19 has affected plans for this year's festival, but we will update this page with event listings over the coming months.