Breaking the Sound/Art Barrier

Friday 10 to Sunday 12 April 2015 is the debut weekend for a new kind of festival in Blackpool organised by Must Die Records in the shape of Other Worlds: Festival of Experimental Music and Sound Art. It’s the brainchild of Carlito Juanito and Rick Thompson and I met up with them to find out what exactly we should expect.

The full line-up includes 18 experimental onstage musical acts, four interactive workshops and two installations taking place in venues across Blackpool including: Bootleg Social, The Club Above (West Coast Rock Cafe), Central Library, Grundy Art Gallery, The Old Rock Factory and Abingdon Street Studios. The most well-known act is Krautrock Manchester collective Gnod whose “head-spinning, mind-bending, bowel-shaking” live shows have developed a healthy cult following.

Lee Patterson
Lee Patterson

By Carlito and Rick’s own admission, Sound Art is something of a niche market and some of what’s on offer will be at the surreal end of the spectrum – for example one act will be “burning peanuts, recording the sound and then amplifying it for everybody to hear” (it’s Lee Patterson if that’s your thang).

However, for those who are dipping a toe into this auditory water for the first time, they recommend attending a workshop or two which they assure will be “jolly, accessible and mind-expanding”. The full programme is on their website and attendance is free (i.e. you don’t need a writsband) but numbers are limited so places for these must be booked in advance.

Dan Fox will be providing Sound Walks on Saturday 11 April at 11am, 1pm and 3pm starting at The Old Rock Factory. Octopus collective from Barrow-in-Furness will be offering you the chance to play one of their home-made breadboard guitars – with a mallet! Just drop in to Central Library any time between 11am and 3pm.


Alternatively, turn up with your smartphone, tablet or laptop and, via a closed network, play along with an interactive performance led by Tim Shaw and Sébastien Piquemal’s Fields – also on Saturday at Central Library and connected to Capriccio’s offering of interactivity too.

In trying to define the programme, Rick and Carlito suggest that Friday will be more experimental, Saturday will be noisy and interactive and Sunday will be suitable for nursing a hangover to. The festival has been sensitively programmed so that attendees can see everything during the course of the weekend.


In organising Other Worlds, they hope that “everyone has a good time, that local audiences have the opportunity to be introduced to something new and that maybe some people might come to Blackpool and have their perceptions of what the town has to offer changed a bit. It’s not all serious and glum – some of it is very funny – some of it’s just brilliant – some of it you hear and think bloody hell that’s just blown my mind – and that’s really what we hope – we hope that everyone who comes has at least one moment of mind-blowingness”

LeftCoast, who have supported the event, will be hosting a kindred-spirit event as part of their ongoing free-to-attend Golden Section programme on Thursday 9 April from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at Grundy Art Gallery with sound recorder Chris Watson. To officially open the festival on Friday, Bomi Seo’s band Tirikilatops and cross cultural collaboration between Korea and the UK will be playing.

Tickets cost just £25 for the whole weekend (£20 for locals) although day tickets start at just £8 and attendance at workshops and installations is free (but must be booked in advance). Visit their website for all ticket bookings:www.otherworldsfestival.co.uk


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    Melanie Whitehead is the Creative Director of The Old Electric, Blackpool's newest theatre. She previously worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

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