Summercamp – Previewed

A festival not subject to the whims of typical Bank Holiday weather, the inaugural Summercamp promises that and more… 

Sitting watching the rain stream down the windows last Saturday night, the mind wandered to friends spending the weekend in Wales’s Brecon Beacons for this year’s Greenman festival.

Were they camping in the same kind of weather, we wondered, and then shuddered – TDN has seen its fair share of festivals ruined rather than enhanced by the elements, where a heavy military-style poncho isn’t an optional accessory. It’s not really our bag.

Good news for us then that the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend heralds the inaugural Summercamp Festival, all under one roof, at Camp and Furnace. Happily, that’s not all it has going for it either.

“The main draw for many will be some staples of the summer festival circuit”

The main draw for many will, of course, be some very recognisable names and staples of the summer festival circuit. A cluster of the bigger names appear together, one after the other, on the Saturday night; beginning with Ghostpoet (in the very early 7.30pm slot), there follows Martha Wainwright, The Joy Formidable and Mount Kimbie, the electronic-informed duo who have had something of a breakthrough 2013.

Unlike the conventional festival formula, whereby as the night gets older the names get bigger, the evening is closed out by hard core Leeds five-piece, Eagulls, experimental French DJ Roscius, The 2 Bears and Optimo.

Moving into Sunday, the profile of the acts is a little more steady, and lacks any genuinely big hitters – Delphic are the closest to that claim – but with this more even handed approach, the likes of Dutch Uncles, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Wave Machines and the aforementioned Delphic make sticking around from start to finish seem a likelihood rather than a possibility.

Skirting somewhat around a real in-depth look at the whole music offer – only because you know more or less what you’re getting with a glance at the line-up – Summercamp’s appeal goes beyond the obvious, as any new addition to the festival schedule wanting to be taken seriously should.

“We’re intrigued by the Experimental Music School Programme”

Curated by Liverpool Biennial, we’re intrigued by the Experimental Music School Programme. Artists Juneau Projects run workshops which will result in the recording of your own track which you’ll be able to take home on CD; Drawing Paper and The Royal Standard combine to present LINE-OUT, “a series of specially commissioned music performances, which will lead a durational drawing ‘happening’,” while Yuri Suzuki is on hand with workshops fusing robots, sound and drawing.

Our final picks are a pair of screenings boasting live soundtracks programmed in conjunction with FACT.  On Saturday, Mugstar provide the accompaniment to Singaporean artist and filmmaker, Ho Tzu Nyen’s Earth – a painstaking look at what appears to be our home planet in its death throes.

The artist explained that “Earth could be seen as just a film of cycles, cycles of people waking up and sleeping, or dying and being reborn, which would be a manifestation of the most basic way in which I understand life on earth.” Whatever the interpretation of the viewer, we’re pretty sure that with the driving Psyche of Mugstar, they’ve found the band for the job.

On Sunday, Victor Turin’s 78 minute Turksib – documenting the torturous, early 20th century building of the railway linking Turkestan to Siberia – is the subject of the live soundtrack treatment, courtesy of Guy Bartell (AKA Bronnt Industries Kapital), especially commissioned by the BFI.

So there you have it, music, art and film all under one roof (none of which, we’re pleased to report, feels tokenistic), meaning that the traditional and predictable Bank Holiday weather can’t be a factor in our enjoyment of the festivities. 

Summercamp Festival 24th-25th August £33 day tickets/£55 weekend

Posted on 20/08/2013 by thedoublenegative