We saw thousands of feline fans again fill the grass at our Internet Cat Video Festival as part of Open Field on August 14. What began two years ago as an idea here at the Walker has expanded into a global phenomenon with screenings from Stockholm to Boise. With more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, the infamous “cat video” genre has attracted more than its fair share of traffic, with such celebrities as Grumpy Cat and Lil BUB (who made a festival appearance this year) garnering enough attention to draw 10,000 people to our hillside for a 70-minute montage of this year’s best kitty clips.
But why cats? Are these people weird or something? Armed with two legitimating staff t-shirts and a microphone, Emily and I set out on our first field assignment as Walker PR interns. We were determined to hear what these crazies had to say and to find the answer to our question: How many cats make a crazy cat lady crazy? We compiled a list to guide us on our way.
Sure signs you’re a crazy cat lady:
1. You don’t think you’re crazy.
2. Your family won’t admit to knowing you.
3. You are dressed as a cat.
4. You came to the Walker alone to watch internet cat videos.
As we wove our way between the blankets on the grass, we talked to visitors young and old, from far and near, who all insisted they were sane! “It would be crazy not to love cats!” they told us, and we found it hard to disagree—this seemed like a pretty fun crowd. From the face-painting to the food trucks, we began to pity those who had not yet stumbled upon the joy of watching Shorty the Cat go through banana addiction withdrawal. As we looked around at all the fun-having, we began to realize the crazy ones were those who would miss such an event.
Yes the costumes were wacky, but what truly struck us was the community these cats created. It seems Lil BUB’s biggest fans were simply happy to know that they weren’t crazy for loving internet cat videos—or if they were, at least they could all be crazy together for one night at the Walker.
Considering the breadth of content on the internet these days, it seems almost unreasonable that such a specific corner of the web could draw such a crowd, and one that’s not afraid to admit to who they are.
Though watching internet cat videos alone in a dark basement can be pretty isolating (from what I’ve heard), these kitty vids gave us a reason to ditch the laptop for the lawn, and share a screen with our fellow cat-loving citizens for a night. Oh, and we updated our guide to the #catvidfest at Open Field, too!
Even surer signs you’re a crazy cat lady:
1. You dig free stuff.
2. You enjoy being part of a global phenomenon.
3. You dress up for things.
4. You are not boring.
5. You enjoy gourmet food trucks and craft beer.
6. You like being outside on a gorgeous summer night in the greatest city in the world.