Carnivalising Pop: Music Festival Cultures symposium programme, Salford UK, 13 June 2014

Jun 06 2014 Published by under Events

salford_logoHere is the finalised programme for the symposium, which includes jazz festivals and several contributions from the Rhythm Changes team. Further information, including directions and registration information, is here.

Friday 13 June 2014, The Old Fire Station, University of Salford

9:30 – 9:50           Arrival and Coffee

9:50 – 10:00        Welcome and introduction – Professor George McKay, University of Salford

10:00 – 10:45      Keynote 1           Dr Gina Arnold, Stanford University
Race, space, and representation at American rock festivals

10:45 – 12:15      Session 1             Aspects of and developments in festival culture

Dr Nicholas Gebhardt, Birmingham City University
Rock festivals of the transatlantic counterculture

Dr Anne Dvinge, University of Copenhagen
Musicking in Motor City: reconfiguring urban space at the Detroit Jazz Festival

Dr Roxanne Yeganegy, Leeds Metropolitan University
No Spectators! Burning Man, boutique festivals and the art of participation

12:15 – 1:00        Lunch   

Includes screening of short film, Carnivalising the Creative Economy: AHRC-funded Research on and with British Jazz Festivals (dir. Gemma Thorpe, 2014)

1:00 – 2:30           Session 2             Mediating, Performing and Technologising the Festival

Dr Mark Goodall, University of Bradford

Out of Sight: the mediation of the music festival
Dr Rebekka Kill, Leeds Metropolitan University
The artist at the music festival: visual art, performance and hybridity 

Dr Andrew Dubber, Birmingham City University
Music Technologism: innovation, collaboration and participation at the festival of music ideas

2:30 – 3:15           Keynote 2           Alan Lodge, veteran festivals photographer and travellers activist

Discussion and showing of some key photographs of festivals, New Travellers and alternative culture in Britain since the late 1970s

3:15 – 3:30           Coffee Break

3:30 – 4:15           Session 3             How to Make a Popular Music Festival

Ben Robinson, director, Kendal Calling festival

Danny Hagan, co-founder, Green Man festival

4:15 – 5:45           Session 4             From Festivals to Arenas

Professor Robert Kronenburg, University of Liverpool
From Shed to Venue: The Architecture of Popular Music Performance

Dr Emma Webster, Oxford Brookes University
The role of promoters at arena shows: a case study of Stereophonics at Glasgow’s SECC arena

Dr Ben Halligan, University of Salford
Skanky Shamanism: Sensual Audience Participation and the Miley Cyrus “Bangerz” Arena Tour

5:45 – 6:00pm    Close

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Thinking With Jazz II symposium, Lancaster Jazz Festival, 20 September 2013

Aug 19 2013 Published by under Events

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 11.13.49Thinking With Jazz is a day-long symposium that takes place during the 2013 Lancaster Jazz Festival. This year, our panelists and keynote speakers include John Cumming (London Jazz Festival), Fiona Talkington (BBC Radio 3), Gerry Godley (Twelve Points Festival, Dublin), George McKay (University of Salford), Tim Wall (Birmingham City University), Kristin McGee (University of Groningen), Matt Robinson (Lancaster Jazz Festival), Pete Moser (More Music) and Tony Whyton (University of Salford).

Join them to discuss a range of topics including festivals and social media, spaces and places, funding and programming, and artistic dreams and realities.

In the afternoon there will be an open workshop in which symposium participants collaborate on a Grow Your Own Festival resource. Our aim is to provide festival promoters and arts organisations with ideas and practical tools to design festivals which engage local communities in creative and meaningful ways.

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 11.14.00

This event is supported by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Enterprise Centre and the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University.

For further information, please contact leo@lancasterjazz.com or n.gebhardt@lancaster.ac.uk

The symposium is free to attend, but early registration is necessary, as lunch will be provided. Go to the website here for further information and registration.

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In conversation with Django Bates’ Belovèd

Jul 09 2013 Published by under Events, News

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On Sunday 16 June, I hosted a public conversation with Django Bates’ Belovèd before their concert at the Holmfirth Arts Festival in West Yorkshire. Bates was joined on stage by bassist Petter Eldh and drummer Peter Bruun and I started off the conversation with a question about the relationship between place and creativity. We moved from an examination of the differences between festivals and venues – how performing contexts shape the direction of music – to exploring how the Danish jazz scene had led to the formation of the trio. Belovèd formed in Copenhagen during Bates’ time at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory and their Charlie Parker-inspired albums developed out of an event organised by the Copenhagen Jazzhouse.

Beloved with TWDuring the talk, we discussed concepts of inheritance and identity, how the ‘weight of history’ can often hamper the creative process. In my first book, Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition, I suggested that official histories of jazz are too fixed in nature and the presence of iconic figures has spawned a number of imitative projects which can be read as too indebted to past masters. Exploring these themes with Belovèd, Bates was keen to stress the difference between love and reverence for an artist, and suggested that this was the key to his success; using Parker’s music as a springboard for his own creativity without feeling restricted by official narratives or expectations about how to draw on music of the past. The trio touched on ways in which working transnationally encourages this kind of thinking.

The conversation moved on to a consideration of what it means to be an artist and a refusal to be pigeonholed and the trio discussed their musical and compositional processes. Bates will be developing the Belovèd project for big band for the BBC Proms in August and the translation of this material has presented a number of challenges for the group. Both Bruun and Eldh have such a close working relationship with Bates, feeding off each other and taking the music in different directions, that the inclusion of additional musicians has led to the need for the clarification of ideas and the sharing of established processes beyond the trio.
Beloved at Holmfirth by Ken DrewWe concluded our discussion by considering the dynamics of cultural influence and the flow of ideas. I asked the trio to reconsider the well trodden idea that creative influences flow in one direction – namely that musicians of the present are influenced by the great masters of the past – and posed the question of how Bates’ music could encourage us to think about the past in different ways. For example, I asked how does Belovèd encourage people to listen again to Charlie Parker with fresh ears and think differently about Parker? Although Bates acknowledged that all our listening is tempered by present values, he suggested that associations with his own music (ranging from compositional complexity to playful humour, from political statement to improvising in the moment) could be used as a strategy for revising our readings of the music of the past.

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Thinking With Jazz symposium, Lancaster University, 21 September 2012

Sep 17 2012 Published by under Events, News

Thinking With Jazz
LICA BUILDING
LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER

This one-day event is co-organised with Lancaster Jazz Festival, and features well-known jazz journalists, practitioners, and academics discussing issues of nationalism in jazz, the cultural politics of jazz, and the meaning of improvisation. This free event is informal and open to the public.

10 A.M.
Coffee and Welcome (Foyer, LICA Building)

10.30 A.M.
Session 1: Jazz Nation (A29, LICA Building)
Chair: Tony Whyton
Panel: Deborah Mawer, Alyn Shipton and Catherine Tackley

12 P.M. – 1 P.M.
Lunch Break

1 P.M. – 2.30 P.M.
Session 2: The Cultural Politics of This course has the following components:            –      Teams define project ideas            –      Collect necessary data            –      Team-directed work w/ faculty guidance            –      Boneyard Creek Stormwater            –      C-U Wastewater Treatment Plant            –      Abbott Power Plant            –      Assembly Hall Field Trip            –      Recycling Materials in Transportation            –      Green Infrastructure            –      Boneyard Creek Stormwater Management            –      Engineering, Policy and Law            –      Waste to Energy            –      4D Chair: George McKay
Panel: Alan Rice, Walter van de Leur and Tim Wall

2.30 P.M. – 3 P.M.
Coffee Break (Foyer, LICA Building)

3 P.M. – 4.30 P.M.
Session 3: Improvisations (Jack Hylton Room)
Chair: Nicholas Gebhardt
Panel: Christophe de Bezenac, Kathy Dyson and Adam Fairhall

6 P.M.
Drinks Sun Street Stompers (Dukes Bar, Lancaster)
7.30 P.M.
Sun Café (Sun Street, Lancaster)

For further information contact Nick Gebhardt on n.gebhardt@lancaster.ac.uk or check out the festival website at http://www.lancasterjazz.com/thinking-with-jazz-a-one-day-symposium.html

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Rhythm Changes at the London Jazz Festival

Nov 24 2010 Published by under Events, News

Rhythm Changes hosted its first UK public event on Sunday 21 November as part of the London Jazz Festival.  The event, a panel discussion entitled ‘Another Place?  Why Jazz Festivals Matter’, included contributions from John Cumming (Serious/London Jazz Festival), Tony Dudley-Evans (Birmingham Jazz/Cheltenham Jazz Festival) and Hannibal Saad (Jazz Lives in Syria) alongside Anne Dvinge and Tony Whyton from the Rhythm Changes team.

Taking place at the Barbican Centre in London, the panel attracted an engaged and knowledgeable audience ranging from international festival directors to jazz journalists, writers and jazz advocates to enthusiasts, and the discussion focused on the contribution that festivals make to the creative economy in Europe and beyond.

The panel discussed how festivals can provide a celebration of place and encourage innovative programming and also gave examples of jazz as a catalyst for social change.  John Cumming, for example, discussed the way in which the London Jazz Festival had expanded its reach in recent years to encourage new communities to participate in festival events and also described the scene in Istanbul, where a jazz festival and venue had transformed part of the city through creative programming.

The panel addressed the relationship between year round programming and festivals programming, and also talked about the way in which festivals relate to a sense of cultural memory (for example through using established venues and tapping into the legacy of previous events) at the same time as offering musicians and audiences visions of the future.  The audience responded enthusiastically to the notion that jazz offered a model for celebrating diversity and cultural hybridity, and the panel concluded with a lively question and answer session where the audience exchanged ideas and experiences.

As Rhythm Changes first Knowledge Transfer forum, Another Place? Why Jazz Festivals Matter demonstrated the relevance of the project’s research questions which explore the changing Europe and the value of jazz as a transformative force.  As Anne Dvinge stated, jazz is a conversational medium that, in certain contexts, has the ability to offer alternative notions of place and identity.  Anne described the way in which jazz festivals offer audiences a means of encountering things that are outside their everyday experience and also argued that the view of jazz as ‘high brow’ (or difficult) did not play out in reality once audiences engage with the music first hand.  Festivals in particular can encourage people to take risks or to sample things that are unfamiliar; in this respect, jazz festivals really do offer access to another place where people can feel differently about both the music and their environment.

Click below to hear an audio recording of the event:
Another Place? Why Jazz Festivals Matter by Tony Whyton

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Another Place? Why Jazz Festivals Matter

Sep 26 2010 Published by under Events

Join us for ‘Another Place? Why Jazz Festivals Matter’ at the London Jazz Festival 2010.  The public event, held at the Barbican Centre in London on 21 November, will be the first of five Rhythm Changes panels designed to explore key research questions with industry professionals. The event listing can be found at:
http://www.londonjazzfestival.org.uk/events/2010-11-21/another-place-why-jazz-festivals-matter
More details to follow once the panel line up has been confirmed…

 

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Festivals and the dynamics of culture

Jun 29 2010 Published by under Events

During the Live! Singapore event in June, I participated in some interesting panels with international festival organisers and arts professionals on the state of jazz.  During the event, it became clear to me how timely the Rhythm Changes project is and how the project research questions tie into so many issues that are of direct relevance to jazz programmers today.  For example, how jazz festivals and venues feed into the transformation of scenes and societies, how they can reinforce a sense of civic pride, how jazz events can act as a catalyst for social change etc., are key questions not only for the Rhythm Changes team when examining the dynamics of culture but also for festivals and venues, especially at a time when the value and contribution of jazz to society is often downplayed or misunderstood.

As part of my presentation on programming, I argued that the magical and essential thing about any successful festival or venue is the relationship of music to place.  What makes a festival unique are its surroundings, circumstances and the way in which its programming works within these settings.  At their best, festivals can act as catalysts for change, transforming everyday spaces into magical worlds or encouraging people to see their environment in a new way or, indeed, they can make us think about the new possibilities our everyday surroundings can open up. 

Jazz programming can serve to galvanise communities and feed into a sense of civic pride.  It can also help us to experience things that wouldn’t normally occur on our doorstep.  Indeed, programmers offer audiences positive experiences of diverse cultures and demonstrate firsthand the benefits of cultural collaboration and exchange.  In this respect, international jazz programmes have the potential to go beyond the performance to provide audiences with a new and inspiring cultural experience.  Successful programmers tend to capitalise on this, encouraging the reception of jazz as a lifestyle choice.

One of the critical tensions at play within the increasing internationalisation of music programming and the growth and domination of artist agencies and touring schemes, is the question of how programmers differentiate themselves in a market where the same international acts tend to prevail, and touring schedules of musicians with fixed offers tend to overwhelm programming models.  The ‘one shoe fits all approach’ might have some benefits to local jazz scenes, giving people in remote parts of the world a rare international experience (believing we are hearing the same things as people in New York for example), but the homogenisation of programming should be treated with caution and misses the opportunity to create special and innovative events and unique festival experiences that celebrate place and the unique characteristics of scenes.  Arguably, a festival that just accepts artists who are performing the same repertoire in a number of different locations is not a festival but a promoter or booking agent who facilitates touring and groups a series of unrelated events together under the brand of a festival.  The critical tension between the global, the local and the politics of place is of central importance to Rhythm Changes.

Within the Rhythm Changes project, we are also interested in how cultural policy and state subsidy informs the development of jazz scenes and will be using our project to demonstrate why jazz works in certain settings and not in others, highlighting the integral link between art, politics and the dynamics of culture.  In my recent visit to Maijazz Festival in Norway, for example, I was interested to observe how the programming for the event said as much about jazz as it did about the city’s desire to showcase its own talents and civic aspirations – to show off the Stavanger region and to demonstrate that it was an international player capable of welcoming acts from around the world to participate in the event.  This experience showed that programming is as important to politicians as it is to arts professionals and audiences, and that successful programmers are becoming increasingly aware of the far-reaching implications of their events.

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