Glenn Swift has been a member of the Fairbridge Festival family since 1996 when he came to do three sets of stories on the Saturday of the festival. Since then, the storyteller and jester has only missed one festival. Steve Barnes, former artistic director and current board member, told Glenn that he has probably performed at the festival more than anyone else.
Glenn’s most memorable year is 2007, the year of the infamous flood that caused the cancellation of the parade and final concert. He also fondly remembers being the MC for the main stage one year and the time Adrian Edmondson’s band played punk classics dressed up as bluegrass.
Every year, Glenn absolutely loves the license to be silly and being in character whenever he wants in his jester costume. He also thoroughly enjoys being the MC for the Kids’ Performance Concert, where children hop up on stage to perform. Glenn says that he has seen some incredible performances by some very talented children over the years.
Until last year, Glenn has attended the festival on his own. Now his 6-year-old daughter and her mum join him. Glenn says it makes him feel like he’s “part of a lovely continuum of cultural enrichment.” He loves sharing the magic of Fairbridge Festival with his daughter.
A few years ago, Glenn began being approached by people in their 20s telling him that he had a big impact on them because he would tell stories to them as children at the festival. They say they thoroughly enjoyed his stories and would look forward to them every year. Glenn has clearly been an integral part of what makes the festival special for children for a long time.
The festival has inspired Glenn a lot over the years. He has created several stories and story performances because of the festival, for the festival. The Friday Night Spooky Stories and the idea of the Giant Spider at Fairbridge, are two Fairbridge Festival-inspired creations of note.