Exploring Festival Performance as a 'State of Encounter'

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Facebook Tales

At shambala last year, i got cleansed by a geisha, whereby i got taken into the back of a tent all screened off, performed various poses and got offered a shot of tequila by a geisha, she then asked how naughty i had been on a scale of one to ten, i said seven, then she inspected my pupils and sain it looked more like a ten and that i had been very very naughty probably past ten, then took a huge wooden paddle off the wall and spanked me! Brilliant. Also at last years shambala there was a priest with a mobile confession booth that chased people around and into it and got you to confess your sins and such

There is the pixie experience at glasto years ago, an old old hippy with a big beard was wondering around a camp fire saying have you seen my pixies, people thought he was just being annoying and stuff, then he dissapeared, a few minutes later HUNDREDS of people dressed as pixie rock up and cause general chaos, toke of spliffs, sip peoples beers, cause calamity and madness then disappear again...bloody brilliant.

At camp bestival there were lost tourists, tent in one hand, map in the other doing a synchronised tent dance and asking people for help in foreign languages, there was also some very surreal performance in the woods whereby people half dressed as animals were asking if the recount had happened, if you had cast your vote, if you had been to the village meeting, as you walked further round you got to the village meetin and it was revealed thst the votes had been recas for the village cake-baking competitin (the secret is lots of baking powder, not much flour), then we were invited into a shed and the meeting took place, we were asked to create the agenda and went through different things, everyone assumed a character and went along with it long after the actors had left to get tea and biscuits. Andrew Roberts

Glastonbury 2007 - Me and my friend were interrupted from our meander upto the Avalon field by a group of 3 or 4 elaborately dressed festival-goers (I can't remember what they were wearing but I'm pretty sure they'd all stuck to a particular theme), one of whom informed me in a serious, business-like tone: 'Excuse me, we are currently administering botty-smacks... we were wondering if you were at all interested?' Sure enough, they were all carrying whips. What else can one do in a situation like this at Glastonbury, than react like this is the most normal occurence in the world? 'Why yes of course' I replied. They asked me how strong it should be; I replied 'moderate'. After it was done they thanked me and I thanked them, off we both went and we never saw them again.

Something really funny happened whilst waiting for Bon Iver to come onstage at Glastonbury this year. It was a gorgeous Saturday evening in the Park Field (by far the prettiest of all the Glasto stages, not to mention with the best bands too); the crowd was buzzing but relaxed, most sitting down with campfires going, excited but in no rush for the band to come on. The soundcheck was going on onstage, and I'm not sure who in the crowd started it, but someone decided it was a great idea to cheer the sound guy every time he tested the microphones. It caught on in a big way, and before long the whole crowd was cheering every '1,2,1,2' that he uttered. It went on for about 15 minutes, it must've been really annoying for him... but I won't ever forget the atmosphere of the crowd before that gig - it was so playful and relaxed and almost triumphant. I'm not sure who was performing really, but it was so cool to see the joke spread across the whole crowd and to feel everybody participating. Lauren Thacker

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some Facebook Tales...

When I went to Glastonbury last weekend, me and my friend Sophie witnessed a man dressed as what I can only assume was a yeti. It lent itself well to the costume that he must have been close to seven foot tall, and it was a very warm day and this was one VERY hairy and wholly insulating costume. Me and Sophie decided that it was only right that we go up behind him and give him a big hug. We lingered for about 10 seconds to make sure we got some good huggage. No words were exchanged but he really didn't seem all that surprised. - Lauren Thacker 2009

Had a good one at beat herder, a guy was dressed as a fortune telling booth (photos to follow from james) he undrew the curtains from in front of his face and told me the winning lottery numbers (which i've now forgotten) and not to take the next job i found. he also had a rather fetching crystal ball - Ali Campbell 2009

A memorable encounter for me was at Glastonbury last year. A group of about 10 young guys had all bought identical (not too unpleasant) fancy dress costumes and were walking through the festival in a generally jovial manner. There wasn't a greata deal ofperformance occurring, other than synchronisied beer drinking. However, it was the choice of costume in the context of a field and their general ambling gait that made the vision so memoroble and enjoyable. They were al dressed as cows. The general herd like behaviour of men drinking beer at a festival was acknowledged and amplified. Deborah 2009 - Urban Angels Circus

Every year (for the past 3 anyway) at the big chill there have been a group of mates (about 15) who turn up as an ensemble and maraude around the festival site all hours under the sun and moon!this year all but one was dressed up as a leopard and just one of them was dressed up as a zebra...occasionally you would spota large group of leopards in the distance inevitably chasing the zebra!partied pretty hard with those guys on the last night and apparently big chill pay for their costumes,makeup and tickets and they just turn up and have a good time - they're not even a company or anything, good stuff!I'll search youtube and photo forums to see if I can find anything... Luke Brinsford 2009

Clubbing Together

9 October 2008
Lecturer Rebekka Kill's love of DJ-ing and popular music led her to build links between academe and Britain's vibrant creative industries

I used to live a double life: I had two careers that I deliberately kept separate. I was worried that if I came clean it would be a disaster both personally and professionally.
During the day, I was a lecturer working across a range of art and design disciplines. By night, I was DJ-ing regularly in venues around Leeds, working with bands and performers, promoting club nights and dabbling in fanzine writing. A few close colleagues knew about my dual existence but most people didn't - and I wanted to keep it that way.
About four years ago I started working at Leeds Metropolitan University in the fine art department and something changed. I became frustrated with the duality of my life: after a decade I was tired of burning the candle at both ends and I decided it was time to confess.
I have been collecting vinyl records since I was 12 years old. By my early twenties, people were asking me to bring records to parties and I would play them. I have DJ-ed in most bars and clubs in Leeds, including a residency in a very large club on a Saturday night. I've written for and project-managed several independent publications and I've co-promoted a night that showcased bands from all over the north alongside contemporary performance art.
The main reason I kept all this quiet was to do with institutional perceptions of academic integrity. How could I be taken seriously in the university while I was also disco dancing with the kids nearly every weekend?
Once I had made the decision to "come out", I needed a way to do it. I knew that some colleagues would feel challenged by what I was doing, so I needed a strategy.
Firstly, working with performing arts staff, we developed a new interdisciplinary art and performance undergraduate degree that also included materials on DJ-ing and events management, popular music and club cultures.
Bringing these activities into a curricular context was the key. Then a secondment opportunity came up at work. We have a scheme called "Using Your Talents to the Full", and it sounded ideal.
I wanted to merge my two professional lives. I was also interested in creative enterprise, in the relationship between curriculum and the extracurricular, and in engagement, both student and community.
The aim of my secondment was to build partnerships with the local cultural community, and in parallel I started to write and publish material on art, events and performance practices in clubs and at music festivals.
My first, most successful, and currently most well-developed cultural partnership is with Festival Republic, the promoters who run the Reading, Leeds and Latitude music festivals and help run the Glastonbury festival.
This summer we took 150 students to work at both Leeds and Latitude. Working across ten different projects, some students had internships of up to five weeks, some took on skilled roles such as stage and film crews, while others worked in semi-skilled or experiential roles such as our Helpful Arena Teams. There were Leeds Met students everywhere! Some students were assessed through work-based learning frameworks while for others the experience added to their portfolio or CV. Some came as volunteers simply because they wanted to be a part of it.
The future of universities lies in partnership; it is not just about donations and brand identification. Cultural partnerships are something that we can all engage in, especially during the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
We need to acknowledge that British culture is one of our biggest strengths as a worldwide educational destination. Academics are good at being portfolio thinkers: juggling lots of different projects, teaching and management responsibilities. We all have a cultural interest, whether it's music, theatre, dance or family history.
Post secondment, I now have a very unusual contract: half academic, half projects and partnerships. I have two other major and several other minor partnerships in the pipeline, I'm writing a new MA in creative enterprise that draws on my professional experience and I have recently been given Arts and Humanities Research Council funding to set up a research network called Festival Performance as a State of Encounter.
My type of contract is likely to become more common because universities are changing; our boundaries are blurring. We all need to look to the future, to think strategically about student and community engagement, and to work across curricular and disciplinary boundaries. This strategy not only adds value to the student experience, but also lifts us out of the daily grind, feeds our passions and develops us as individuals.
Postscript :
Rebekka Kill is senior lecturer in creativity, enterprise and engagement at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Researchers seek input of festival goers.

As Britain once again prepares itself for the Festival season, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is calling on festival goers to capture their memories of this summer’s festivals in photography, video and sound - to become part of an exciting new research project.
Anyone who has ever been to a festival will know that as well as the main programmes of bands and DJs, the festival experience also provides numerous delights in the form of informal and un-programmed performances. Theatre, circus, music, puppetry, comedy, magic, drama and dance are just some of the sideshows that one might expect to see pop-up spontaneously - even at the smallest of festivals. Now a team of researchers from Leeds have are being funded by the AHRC to investigate the impact that these spontaneous and un-programmed performances have on festival goers, and the extent to which these performances are integral to the overall success of today’s festivals. Alice Bayliss from the University of Leeds, who is conducting the research, says, “We’re exploring improvisation and space, storytelling, and the role of electronic media such as mobile phones and the internet in creating lasting festival memories.”
In order to gather and record information from as many festivals as possible and from as many different perspectives as possible, the team has set up a Facebook group and is appealing to festival goers to upload and share pictures, videos, sound bites and stories about performances that surprised and amazed, or interrupted their festival experiences. Alice says, “Whether you’re off to a massive organised event such as the Glastonbury, Reading or Leeds festivals, or you’re attending one of many smaller festivals or fairs that have sprung up in the UK and Europe over the last few years, we would like to learn what these un-programmed and unannounced performances meant to you.”
In order to submit photos, videos, sound bites or written accounts, festival goers first need to join the team’s Facebook Group – ‘Festival Performance as a State of Encounter’. Alice says, “Once you’ve joined the group you will have the chance not only to submit your festival memories, but to view other people’s memories as well.”
The team hopes that, in the long run, the project will enable them forge better links between academia and the festivals industry with a view to supporting festival performers and performances and recognising their importance.”
Alice concludes, “At the end of the festival season in September we will be holding a workshop and inviting members of the public to come along and talk to us, and each other, about their festival experiences. It’s another way for people to get involved in our research. We will be putting details of the workshop up on the Facebook Group as soon as a date has been announced.”
Notes to the Editor
1.) The research project, called ‘Exploring Festival Performances as a State of Encounter’ is part of the AHRC’s Beyond Text, a strategic programme which aims to generate new understandings of, and research into, the impact and significance of the way we communicate. More information on Beyond Text and all the projects in the programme can be found at
2.) A comprehensive list of UK Festivals can be found at:
3.) About Arts and Humanities Research Council- Each year the AHRC provides approximately £102 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,350 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute over a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.

South By Southwest Festival - March 2009

SXSW – a Twitter Narrative

packing for texas - passport, flight details, clothes- what else? Mar 17th from web

tried to check in on-line, 4 2nd time today - won't work!! grrr. About 2 book taxi 4 6.15am - ouch. Getting very very excited tho' Mar 17th from web

getting my head straight about what I'm actually meant 2 b doing in Texas. 1.developing AHRC project.2.investigating internship opps.. Mar 17th from web

@carolinebonser pack, pack, pack - don't forget ur passport! Mar 17th from web in reply to carolinebonser

off 2 bed in a mo - will try n update tomorrow - but a crazy journey 2 do! Arrive in Austin @ 2am GMT...Mar 17th from web

waiting 4 taxi, then train 2 manchester airport, then 2 planes (changing atlanta), then bus 2 hotel -if I got a boat it's full house! Mar 17th from web

At manchester airport, bags in, 90 mins til boarding. Airports r strange liminal versions of the world...Mar 18th from txt

Still in the airport. Getting bored now - plane delayed. Feeling like i'm missing out on something. Mar 18th from txt

Boarding now 4 atlanta. Wondering whether my fear of flying is rational... Mar 18th from txt

arrived in hotel in austin. very tired but registration open til midnight - wanna go 2 town 2 check stuff out. Mar 18th from mobile web
Hitching a lift into austin with 'that petrol emotion' - remember them? Mar 18th from txt

At mohawk 2 watch 'the chap', very tired but want 2 c a uk band. Might go random after. Picked up conference bag - quite heavy- freebies ...Mar 18th from txt
Great band - thinking about performing indie-ness....Mar 18th from txt

Apparently, art, art, art don't make no rave, dave. Proper songs about girls and clubbing...bit klaxons, bit pixies...Mar 18th from txt

decided 2 finish night at british embassy - boring band tho...Mar 18th from mobile web

Beautiful sunny day in Austin. Looking forwards to Quincy Jones' keynote at 2pm...Mar 19th from web

Quincy jones is 76! 'when u get over the hill, that's when u start pickin' up speed’. I didn't realise how many famous songs he'd written. Mar 19th from txt

Quincy jones' recurrent theme is people who r able 2 'see round the corner'....interesting - means confidence, future focus, risk taking. Mar 19th from txt

Quote, 'not one drop of my worth depends on ur acceptance of me.' - feeling quite emotional - a great speaker. Mar 19th from txt

At festivals panel. U need 3 years to recoup financially. mix of profitable n cic orgs. Food etc, line-up, politics, audience, aesthetic. Mar 19th from txt

Found some boys in mouse make up. Who were mousing up other people 2. They said 2 look out 4 aliens n 2 go 2 21st st tmrw. Bingo. Mar 19th from txt

At auditorium shores stage - feels like a 'real' festival here. Grass, camping chairs - no wellies tho. 25C in march....Mar 19th from txt

Watching a 70s funk band sing about foot fetishes..herman dune next... Mar 19th from txt

Herman dune much reduced line-up - ok but not overexcited...Mar 19th from txt

Take it all back. Herman dune great - got uke out. Buffalo billiards is a fabulous venue...this festival is full of so much opportunity. Mar 19th from txt

At casiokids-great norwegian band. Got some pics of audience performance en route. Little boots, peter bjorn n john later- if we can manage. Mar 19th from txt

Watching little boots-not much different from goldfrapp-lots of people here tho'. Got a couple of good pics on way-crazy 7ft soldiergirls! Mar 19th from txt

Victoria heskith is sooo annoying. Went 2 c that petrol emotion - good fun, nice boys. Overtired again now..Mar 19th from txt

Another hot and sunny day. We've gone totally nocturnal. Up til 3.30am here, 8.30am gmt, sleeping til midday. Gonna b hard 2 readjust... Mar 20th from txt

Waiting 4 the shuttle bus 2 downtown with a load of middleaged men in cowboy hats with battered guitar cases. We're off 2 the IHOP 4 brunch. Mar 20th from txt

Just sorted out some great internships at international music industry week show at earls court in june-events stuff and music stuff. Mar 20th from txt

Found street statue, and a marching band dressed as rabbits/elephants etc. Caroline doing some street shots of 6th from restaurant balcony. Mar 20th from txt

Back at aussie bbq, had a pedicab ride, birds of tokyo on-bit 2 metal 4 me. Shd meet some aussies-good 4 winter fests-no energy today tho.Mar 20th from txt

scottish showcase at la zona rosa-arts council funded-we were promisd jetpacks on, danananackroyd next, then camera obscura, stop 4 a bit. Mar 20th from txt

Danananackroyd r bit like pulld apart by horses w audience participation and bouncing around. They just asked if anyone was 'life blogging'!Mar 20th from txt

Repeat after me, 'must stay awake til devo- only 3 more hours' Mar 20th from txt

Camera obscura r like a boring version of belle and sebastian. zzzzzz Mar 20th from txt

At austin music hall, 4k venue. Datarock on, fantastic but very loud. Loads of people in devo flowerpot hats-got a couple of pics...Mar 20th from txt

Datarock taking shirts off-it's a moobfest! Caroline appears 2 b sleeping thru this one, must b 150db-hilarious...Mar 20th from txt

So, that was Tricky-a study in taking urself 2 seriously-bit dull. Devo in 20mins, need 2 last til 'whip it' n then might need 2 crash.Mar 20th from txt

'whip it good, whip it real good' - worth waiting 4. Mar 20th from txt

@spygirlc good 2 meet another educatorMar 21st from txt

On way 2 yorkshire showcase at latitude 30.Mar 21st from txt

Watching talk 2 angels, eaten miniature toad in the hole. interviewd 4 british music embassy documentary. flyering 4 beyond text later .Mar 21st from txt

@kateholderness devo were amazing, loads of vj-ing - u cd buy the hats 4 30doll -tempted...Mar 21st from mobile web

paul marshall, up next, ex leedsmet staff- nice boy...Mar 21st from mobile web

Seen paul marshall and rollo tomassi. Chatted with darren, organiser, about performance opps, vol opps- meet back in leeds 4 proper chats...Mar 21st from txt

Sky larkin n wild beasts now. Met nice woman from uk who can sort perf. visas 4 2010. Gonna nap b4 tonight-need 2b withit 4 afterpraties Mar 21st from txt

Woken up after siesta. No idea what time or day it is. Probably best...Mar 21st from txt

Had huge texmex at iron cactus-watching theoretical girl-v good. 2 many options at 10...Mar 21st from txt

Ended up at pj harvey-big queue, moved fast tho'-huge venue in a car lot. Caroline snapped a couple of batman and robin ont way. Mar 21st from txt

Hilton garden creekside 4 proclaimers. Posh hotel lobby-sit down gig-cute. Forgot 2 say-bought a gorg red pleather coat 4 $7 yesterday...Mar 21st from txt

thinking about contexts 4 performance-our next funding bid-in relation 2 sxsw. love 2 do something here to do with drinking yorkshire tea..Mar 21st from mobile web

Spinto band r fab-kazoos, hell yeah. Going 2 afterprattie with peeps who give out free cigs next. Loads of pics of people with signs today..Mar 21st from txt
on bus 2 hotel-no party in me however deeply i dig. day off tomorrow. gimme thumbs up or @ message if u been following. Mar 21st from mobile web
It'd be great if you could all give me a thumbs up (facebook), or an @ message (twitter) if you've been following.. ;) Mar 22nd from web

Epic journey tomorrow. austin-atlanta-manchester-belfast. If uv followd me@sxsw & haven't done thumbs up on facebook or messagd-please do; Mar 22nd from web

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome to the Blog hope you enjoy the new feature

Welcome to the Blog hope you enjoy the new feature

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Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.