Brighton Festival 2010

Unfortunately due to exam peril, i am unable to attend any of the events going on in this years Brighton Festival. Last year I volunteered and invigilated some of the Anish Kapoor sculptures situated around Brighton, which I really enjoyed. This is a piece about the 2010 Brighton Festival, printed in the April issue of the Verse.

Brighton Festival 2010

Each year, Brighton Festival is always an unexpected, spellbinding experience. There is always a guarantee that the programme is going to contain a few hidden gems sandwiched between a sea of unknown cultural delights. Legendary artist and creative muso Brian Eno will curate this year’s festival so it is no exception, boasting 113 events, 16 exclusives and eight new commissions.

Eno is most well known for his involvement in the Glam Rock band Roxy Music in the early 70’s, most famous for the song Love is a Drug. When he left the band due to disagreements with the lead singer Brian Ferry, Eno embarked on his own solo projects, pioneering the beginnings of experimental electronic music. Many call him the inventor of the ambient genre, while others praise him further by calling him the father and an inspiration to anyone dabbling with a synthesiser. He has worked on albums for U2, Coldplay, Talking Heads, Grace Jones and Paul Simon among many others, although his management call him a ‘sonic landscaper’ rather than a producer. He hasn’t just stuck to music either. He also writes for the Observer and Prospect magazine, as well as working on many other multimedia projects.

The most famous of these is 77 Million Paintings, which is going to be situated in Fabrica for the duration of the May festival. This work, created in 2006, features geometrically arranged slides and light projections, constantly changing. Described by Eno as ‘visual music’, every viewing experience will be different due to the 77 million combinations. The church setting makes the viewing experience even more sacred. Fabrica are even installing sofas so you can make yourself comfortable; you may get transfixed for hours.

While this is one of the few free events being put on this year, it will undoubtedly be the most accessibly spectacular and is not to be missed. The only other free events take place on the final day of the festival, Sunday 23rd May. This will involve a family orientated street art and performance afternoon by Urban Playground at the Marina ending with a firework show, and a night-time circus extravaganza at The Level by No Fit State.

But what is Eno himself like? After watching a few documentaries and being lucky enough to hear him talk in the flesh, I can only describe him as intellectually stimulating yet challenging, captivating yet tangent travelling. Eno has said that Brighton is a special city that has a citizenship unlike any other in the UK, and he “wouldn’t have wanted to curate a Festival in any other city.” He has also said that the eve of his 62nd birthday “will be the greatest evening of his life”, when Afrobeat perform on the 14th May (Dome). His other personal highlights include: This is Pure Scenius! a four and a half hour experimental improvisational collaboration featuring Eno, Karl Hyde of Underworld, Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams; This is Acappella! a celebration of non-instrumental singing featuring Reggie Watts, as well as two talks that he is hosting himself on the on a variety of subjects that will flow into each other.

Eno has purposely organised events by groups and performers that you are bound to have never heard of before, so you arrive with no preconceptions of what to expect, forced to surrender yourself to an experience that you do not know where you will be taken.

Eno facts

Has made his own app for the iPhone for you to create your own experimental music, called Bloom.

He scored the music for Peter Jackson’s My Lovely Bones.

Eno created the music for the amazing PS3 game Spore.

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