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HOLD FAST Festival is a celebration of contemporary performance, interdisciplinary art, and community engagement in St. John’s, Ktaqmkuk/NL.  This year’s festival takes place August 22-26. 

2023 Featured Artists // Workshops & Programs // Art Crawl

Our core values are:
  • Facilitating community engagement and meaningful exchange
  • Increasing public arts literacy
  • Creating opportunities for artists
  • Critiquing and subverting structural oppressions & systems of power, with emphasis on:
    • queer, feminist, and anti-racist perspectives
    • Newfoundland & Labrador regional identity
    • and Indigenous resistance to colonialism

HOLD FAST culminates in a Saturday afternoon Art Crawl, a series of performances, installations, and interactive pop-ups staged outdoors and in non-gallery venues across downtown St. John’s. Past programming has included performances, interactive installations, artist talks, workshops, dance, drag, burlesque, film screenings, and free community events for people of all ages.

HOLD FAST acknowledges the First Peoples of the lands where our work is situated; the Mi’kmaq, Beothuk, Innu, and Inuit, of Ktaqmkuk, Nitassinan, Nunatsiavut, and NunatuKavut. We strive to move beyond acknowledgment to active solidarity, by building meaningful relationships in our communities, dismantling structures of white supremacy, and opposing ongoing colonization. We invite our communities to consider their own responsibilities to Indigenous peoples and to the stolen lands where we make our homes.

2023 HOLD FAST Report

Read “The Next Thing, The Last Thing, Birdsong,” a reflection on HOLD FAST 2023 by writer-in-residence jaz papadopoulos, along with images from official festival photographer Ethel Brown. The text is also available as an audio file, read by jaz.

Festival Zine

Check out the 2023 HOLD FAST Festival Zine, curated by Niya Abdullahi!

HOLD FAST 2023 Featured Artists


Workshops & Programs
Tuesday, Aug. 22 – Friday, Aug. 25

These free workshops and programs range from film screenings, to movement and singing, to visual arts of all kinds. Most are all-ages, and no experience is necessary!

Some workshops are drop-in but others may require registration in advance. Sign up online to save your spot!

Art Crawl
Saturday, August 26, 2-8pm

Get out of the gallery and into the streets of St. John’s! Experience a colourful buffet of installations, performances, pop-up galleries, hands-on demos, crafts, and activities. Art Crawl is made possible by the support of our community. We hope you’ll love it!

Info Session

Thinking about applying to HOLD FAST 2023, but not sure where to start?

In this info session, Festival Coordinator Elijah offers a quick overview of the festival, talks through components of the Featured Artist application, and ends with a Q&A.