Statement from our Creative Director and Founder

I have some sad news and it’s something that has been causing me a lot of sleepless nights. I have made the decision to cancel this year’s One Festival of Homeless Arts. This has not been an easy decision for me to make, but it has been the right one.

Some of you may know I’ve been having troubles with my health and it’s now becoming an issue for me. I won’t go into too much details but it’s not been easy for me. I’ve started a new treatment plan for my brain damage as I’ve been getting an incredible increase of pain over the past 6 months in my head.

Recently, I started to have more problems with my PTSD.  I’m now going back into therapy to try and sort it before it causes even more problems. 

I’m trying to hold down a full-time job with With One Voice and I’m worried that my health may cause problems with this. 

Last year during the run of the festival, I received a lot of abuse and trolling online because of my work with the festival and I have still been receiving this abuse. This has added to my mental health issues and has now made me resent the festival that I once loved. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me but receiving such hate whilst also massively struggling with my mental health hasn’t been easy. 

So, this all can’t carry on, because I don’t want to relapse with my recovery. I have to have some free time that doesn’t include thinking about homelessness. At the moment I don’t get that because I work in homelessness, my art is about homelessness and I run a festival about homelessness. It’s too much. My Neurologist, my HIV consultant and GP want me to slow down. So that’s why I have decided that there will be no One Festival this year and possibly no more because I need to think about myself and that has to be the most important thing at the moment. 

I think I have done a great job especially with where I have come from, having created a festival with no money, to where it is today. Last year, we were in 3 cities: London, Manchester and Gloucester. That’s not just a small achievement. We’ve had artworks from all over the world submitted, I’m super proud of this, I’m super proud of all the artists who have been a part of the festival, and really proud that I did it for 4 years pretty much on my own, but I think I’ve done enough now. I can’t physically or mentally do it anymore.

I set out to create something special, an arts festival created by the homeless for the homeless, bringing all society into a safe space to discuss and debate the issues surrounding homelessness, to help change perceptions on what we are led to believe that homelessness is. I think I did this.

I want to share this with you all to say a massive thank you for helping make the past 4 years truly unforgettable and magical, I couldn’t have done this without you all. I owe you all so much and thank you doesn’t seem enough but it’s all I have.  I hope you can all understand why it’s been so hard for me to come to this decision but hopefully also respect why I’ve made it. Thank you all so much, I love you all to pieces.

David Tovey