Maria Perdigão Pires | Wake- Up 2022-2023 | Coordinating Organization: IDC | Hosting Organization: Music’Al sol
Edited by: Bianca Rêgo | Wake-Up 2022-2023
The European Solidarity Corps volunteering was something I have always wanted to do, but both my studies and my professional career ended up being prioritised so I ended up postponing it.
Last year, I decided to just jump in and finally accept the challenge. After applying to mainly projects associated with culture and arts, since my academic and professional background was connected to these areas, I ended up joining the association Music’al Sol’s (Carcassonne, France) project.
This association focus mainly on developing music-related actions, either in rural areas in the Department of Aude or with groups of people that don’t have easy access to them, while simultaneously striving to maintain their social, ethical and ecological ideals.
One of their biggest events is the production of music festivals throughout the year in smaller villages without much opportunity to be in contact with this sort of event and where artists, a lot of them local, and who present different genres of music can perform before an audience. There is also a big emphasis on the matter of “prevention” in these events. More specifically, there is not only a concern towards the prevention of drug or alcohol consumption, but also, through the existence of the “Safe Zone”, a space where everyone is welcome and that provides support to anyone who might need it – in other words, a secure corner of the festival. The association is also very attentive to the matter of hearing health by providing information and protective material such as isolating headphones for children or earplugs for people of all ages.
Another of their focal points in terms of musical activities are artistic residences for artists of the region or mediation cultural actions with children with lower socio-economical means.
One of the things I most appreciate about my volunteering is the fact that I do not have fixed tasks since what is needed to do changes with some frequency. This gives me the possibility of learning several things in different areas of expertise. Some of the tasks I have undertook include: assembling structures for the festivals, prepare ingredients for cooking, serve at the bar, make ketchup, sterilize food in order to preserve it longer, tidy up the storage warehouse, make a food/drinks inventory, put up posters, build “canapalettes” (furniture made out of palettes), etc.
On the other hand, I was also lucky to be able to apply my previous skills derived from my audiovisual background. One of the things I most enjoyed doing was to film and edit the after movie of one of the festivals (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOLfqlvsg5A) and, more recently, to follow and film a cultural mediation action with a group of teenagers that created their own solo songs and worked on a collective one to eventually perform it in a concert.
At the beginning, one of my biggest frustrations was the language barrier because my knowledge of French was very limited. However, with some effort and support from the people from the association, at the moment I speak in French everyday with enough ability to feel at ease with anyone.
Since I am still going through this experience, it becomes a bit difficult to have a conclusive perspective about it since there is not enough emotional and mental distance. Regardless, I can say confidently that this volunteering is a unique opportunity that is giving me new practical, social and even interpersonal tools and that I will never forget it nor the people I have meet through it.
Website of the association: https://musicalsol.fr/contact/soutenez-l-association/