Threshold 2013

March brings with it the return of Liverpool’s grassroots music festival Threshold. We take a look at what’s on offer…

Next week, Threshold, the city’s ‘grassroots’ festival, returns to the Baltic Triangle. The first two years brought with them praise, near calamity (last year’s festival was set to be staged at the CUC before the venue promptly closed at the last minute) and understandably steep learning curves.

Now in its third year, it will be interesting to see whether a kind of maturity is setting in. Certainly, speaking to those around the camp, there is a sense that 2013’s incarnation will see a level of evolution. Festival director Kaya Herstad Carney certainly couldn’t be accused of circumspection in declaring “we don’t do anything by halves. This has been a joy to piece together and … it’s our best festival yet by a long way.”

Whether or not that turns out to be the case, there’s no real doubting whether or not they do anything by halves, not in getting the most out of Liverpool’s council-designated cultural quarter at least. As co-director Chris (Herstad Carney’s husband) says: “For the first time ever, every venue in the Baltic Triangle will be alive with parties all on the same night. This is what this area is made for.”

That means as well as the obvious choice: multi-space venue that is Camp and Furnace, Elevator Bar, Baltic Creative and The Picket (amongst others) will all be utilised, as well as a fringe event at the Albert Dock, playing host to bands, one-off events and exhibitions among other things (this year, Threshold boasts more than 180 performers and artists).

“Any music festival is judged primarily – and quite rightly – on that, its music offer”

Of course, any music festival is judged primarily – and quite rightly – on that, its music offer. In past years, while acknowledging the G (rassroots) word, Threshold has been something of a hit and miss affair, any given night feeling pretty much pot-luck quality-wise. This year, pleasingly, there does seem to be a ready list of artists who, if not household names, are that bit more familiar.

The infectious electro-pop of Statement Haircut (duo Mikey Stevenson and Darren Reynolds) and the slick, strident guitar-driven singer songwriter Natalie McCool (above) have each enjoyed national (BBC) radio play of late, and are returning acts to the Threshold stage. Also returning will be quintet the Mono LPs and Paddy Steer, who almost certainly represents one of the festival’s more eccentric (in a good way) draws. Steer, who has created a new piece especially for Threshold, entitled Three Pronged Audio Bath, will be joined by electronic pioneer Graham Massey and the Cinematic Orchestra’s John Ellis (Full lineup).

But of course, the modern day festival must provide much more than simply live music, and it is in this area that Threshold have proven themselves adept in the past, last year’s panels offering particularly interesting and useful diversions. This in mind, there seems to be an increased and more varied emphasis on expert talks and discussion this time around. Team members from Sea Odyssey give behind the scenes insight into what it was like to work on The Giant Spectacular, while you can also hear from adventurer Graham Hughes and get a singing master class from Sense of Sound creative director Jennifer John.

One event that should prove popular involves Paul Du Noyer, author of Liverpool: Wondrous Place, who will be in conversation with Mike Neary about his best-seller. For anybody who has read the book, you’ll know that it features Du Noyer’s Top 100 Liverpool Songs. On hand to perform a selection of tracks from that list will be Natalie McCool and Thom Morecroft.

There is also a film programme featuring the Danish band Efterklang’s album movie, The Ghost of Piramida (directed by Andreas Koefoed), the First Take Short Film Programme and a screening of the Lift-Off Film Festival winner, as well as exhibitions (including a site-specific installation from Robyn Woolston) which we’re promised will be the festival’s most impressive yet.

The Threshold team are certainly talking big ahead of this year’s festival and it will be interesting to see if they hit all their marks, and what that means down the line. Time will tell.

Threshold 2013 takes place over the weekend of March the 8th, 9th and 10th Weekend Tickets: £20, Student Weekend Ticket: £15, Friday Tickets: £10, Saturday Tickets: £10, Sunday Tickets: £5

Liverpool: Wondrous Place and Efterklang: The Ghost of Piramida require separate booking.

Posted on 28/02/2013 by thedoublenegative