The ONE2 festival is a celebration of human creativity. For two weeks in May, the ONE2 Festival will celebrate artists from every branch of creativity from comedy to cinema. The festival runs from May 12th to May 24th.

Today we're interviewing Douglas Karson, who is a US born, Bristol based painter and poet as well as one of the co-founders of the festival.

Tell us about One2 Festival?   The ONE2 festival is a celebration of human creativity.  We believe that all creativity comes from the same source and that art should be accessible to all.  So we set out to set up a community oriented arts festival.  Over 150 artists from painters to poets, dancers to DJ's, rockers to filmmakers, have committed to this unprecedented event.  This will be our inaugural event. 

Along with the ticketed events, we have a committed community outreach program. There are free workshops and talks with some amazing artists who have donated their time to promote the arts among everyone.  We look to grow this portion of the festival next year and have been in the talks with local schools and the council about this possibility.

Do you have any festival highlights to share?   Well, there is the ongoing free art exhibition at The London Fields Taproom that anyone can stop by and look at Mon-Fri from 10-6.  We have 8 visual artists who have decorated this space to make it warm and colourful.

We are also super excited about the 2 major music days on Saturday the 13th and Saturday the 20th. We have over 20 bands between the two days and we are gonna bring down the house!

Friday the 19th is our costume Rock and Roll ball with an amazing lineup of The Terrorsaurs, The Obsuritones, and The Dustaphonics.

On the following Monday there will be a comedy night is being headlined by Mr. Tony Law.

Drew Cox has been working for the last month with performance artist Anthea Lewis to do a cutting edge live film performance on Tuesday the 16th and I can't wait to see what they've come up with.

And we'll be finishing with performance poetry with Raise the Bar featuring Anthony Anacagorou and Sara Hirsch.

Why Hackney?   Hackney is such an amazing and diverse place.  Our group is called Diversity of Unit (formed of me, Athena Barka, and Dimitrios Astrantinis) and we needed somewhere that would support our efforts.  We were able to get through to the London Fields Brewery by the recommendation of a friend who runs a gallery in Shoreditch.  They have been super supportive and believe in what we are doing here and have a similar vision of ONE2 becoming a major annual event.

What artists are you listening to at the moment?  I have Benjamin Clementine on right now while I write this email.  Macklemore and Etta James are often on my playlist as well, but I love all music.

You’ve partnered up with Shelter, tell us about the raffle you’ve collaborated on.  We are committed to having the arts being beneficial to the community from top to bottom.  Having a charity portion of the event was never an option but after careful consideration, and seeing so many people sleeping rough in and around Hackney, we wanted to address the issue.  Shelter provides a great program for helping people in need and this is so important. Four paintings have been donated by visual artists involved with all the proceeds going directly to Shelter.  They will have a table up at each event and we will encourage our audience to be generous :)

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?  This is a big project and has taken us 9 months to arrange!  We have never done anything like this before but are loving every minute (even the times when we are going a bit crazy!)  We want this festival to become an annual event so we are putting a lot into it right now.  As to after, because none of us have ever done this before, we don't know what might come next, but watch this space!