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What Is a Youth Festival?

By Lily Ruha
Updated May 23, 2024
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A youth festival typically is a themed event that has a wide variety of activities for young people. Common festival themes include art, music, dance, film, games and academics. Some festivals require auditions and applications for performance and/or participation. Large events typically are held in schools, conference centers or outdoor arenas. Many youth festivals are hosted annually by schools, arts programs and religious organizations in local, national and international locations.

Youth festivals generally are theme-based, focusing on the arts, academics, games or social and religious topics. A large youth festival that focuses on dance might expose young people to multiple styles of dance or might focus on a specific type of dancing. A youth film festival usually spotlights films created by young people on a variety of themes, including peer pressure, sexuality, abuse or popular culture. An academic youth festival typically focuses on a specific academic subject and allows young people to immerse themselves in the topic. Cultural exchange also might be the focus of some international youth festivals.

Event participation and application requirements vary by festival. Some youth festivals have invitation-only events that require pre-approval. Performing at a youth festival typically requires advanced registration and contact with event coordinators. For events that involve competitions, in-person auditions might be required, or applicants might be asked to submit a video or audio recording of the performance. Some events require prepayment of an admission fee and documents indicating that a chaperon will accompany the young attendee or a small group of attendees.

The size and location of youth festival venues generally depend on the scope and theme of the particular events. A film festival typically is held indoors in a theater space. Academic festivals usually are held in schools. A dance festival requires a large indoor space or outdoor arena with access to a stage and a sound system. Events that involve listening to speakers and breaking up into discussion sessions typically are held in large conference centers that are equipped with presentation tools.

Sponsors of youth festivals include a variety of groups and organizations. Money for the events might be raised through fundraising efforts and corporate sponsors or might be provided by festival admission fees. Academic events typically are sponsored by schools and education organizations. Art and music schools sometimes host events to increase arts awareness among young people. Many religious organizations host large events for youths to encourage fellowship and interaction with people of the same faith or other religions.

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Discussion Comments

By fBoyle — On Nov 06, 2014

@SarahGen-- Many different institutions may organize a youth festival. It could be a school, a town or an organization. So it depends on who has decided to organize it. Sometimes the organizers and the sponsors are the same.

If you are a student and if your school has a youth festival, you can definitely apply to help organize it. It will usually be a volunteer position but it is a great way to gain experience and get involved. If an organization is organizing and sponsoring a youth festival, they may work with professionals. This is especially the case if it's going to be a large scale event with lots of participants. To take part in the organization process, you would have to interview for the job.

By SarahGen — On Nov 05, 2014

Who usually organizes youth festivals? I mean who makes the decisions and determines what activities to include, etc.? Can anyone participate in the planning process?

By fify — On Nov 05, 2014

Our university has an annual youth festival. It's actually a lot of fun and we're always looking forward to it. There are so many events going on like concerts, games, films, dance, and lots of food. The best part is that it's a few weeks before finals. So it gives us that one opportunity to relax and have fun before we really have to concentrate on the finals. Right before finals, most of us are studying day and night. And then the semester is over and everyone leaves. So the youth festival gives me the opportunity to be with my friends before the semester is over.

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