SCHEDULE (AUGUST 26)
1. Welcome and Introduction (9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. EDT)
– Ajay Heble | International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, University of Guelph | Canada
– Eric Fillion | Queen’s University | Canada
2. A Reflection on Curating for Change (9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. EDT)
Chair: Pam Patel (MT Space & Impact Festival)
“There Will be Trouble”
– Amitesh Grover | National School of Drama | India
In this presentation, I approach festival-making as an act of framing a temporary history of the present. I will use as example my curation of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (2020) to discuss the possibilities and challenges of a program that critiqued mainstream ideas on citizenship and patriotism, nationhood and freedom, migration and human rights. Through this example, I hope to explore the act of festival-making as the making of a public that upholds culture’s power to acknowledge and embrace the tumult that seethes under state and social censorship.
3. Placemaking Between the Local and the Global (10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. EDT)
Chair: Carey West (Critical Studies in Improvisation, University of Guelph)
“Participation Power: Festival Culture in the UK”
– Roxy Robinson | From the Fields | UK
The spread of UK music festivals has exploded in the last 2 decades. Across the country, hundreds of “boutique” gatherings have emerged, drawing hundreds of thousands of festival-goers into the fields. Why has this happened? What led to this change? Participation Power: Festival Culture in the UK uncovers the dynamics that led to the formation and evolution of the modern festival scene. This talk examines the emergence of key trends, with a focus on audience contribution and creative collaboration in festival-making. Taking an in-depth approach to examining key events, including the fastest growing independent music festival in recent years (Hampshire’s BoomTown Fair) the market is shown to have produced a scene that champions co-production and the democratization of festival space. A vital talk for anyone interested in British festival culture.
“The Alchemist and the Festival: What about Fleeting Urban Cultural Policy?”
– Jonathan Wynn | University of Massachusetts Amherst | USA
In an age where museums outnumber Starbucks and McDonald’s combined, America’s institutional culture is at a crossroads. Drawing data from two research projects—primarily from a three-city comparative study of music festivals in Austin, Nashville, and Newport—this talk introduces some key ideas for thinking about an urban cultural policy that is not based upon concrete culture, but rather fleeting, or “liquid” urban culture at both the small and large scale. Discussion then moves to a comparison between cultural policies in the U.S. and those in Europe and Canada.
“Countering Hate with Beauty: Demonstrating without Demonstration at Festivals”
– Marie Zimmerman | Hillside Festival | Canada
An examination of artistic and operational programming that works to bring about social change in an environment of celebration.
4. Michel Levasseur and Ajay Heble: In Conversation (11:30 a.m. to noon EDT)
Chair: Frederique Arroyas (School of Languages and Literatures, University of Guelph)
– Michel Levasseur | Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville | Canada
– Ajay Heble | International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, University of Guelph | Canada
5. Staging Difference and Diversity (1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT)
Chair: Joe Sorbara (Critical Studies in Improvisation, University of Guelph)
“Moving beyond Parity: Gender Equity in Festival Programming”
– Hannah Burgé Luviano | Queen’s University & Humber College ITAL | Canada
Festival program managers and artistic directors make difficult programming choices all the time. To select one means necessarily not to select another. In recent years, music festival programmers have looked to facilitate gender equity in their artist/bandleader bookings by booking equal numbers of men and women headliners. However, this does not constitute gender equity but rather, reinforces unequal power dynamics across the various festival roles. In this presentation, we can discuss whether parity actions will build equitable festivals. And I will discuss power dynamics in an equity pedagogical framework (Gorski 2016, Thomas 2020), calling on my experience as a team member for Humber College’s Artist and Producer in Residence 2021, 2022 seasons. Several findings from policy consultations on the recently passed City of Toronto Music Strategy 2022-2025, may foster a few ideas to help programmers move beyond parity towards a new equity model in festival programming.
“The Hellfighters Come Home: James Reese Europe’s Europe’s 369th Infantry Regiment and Spectacles of Belonging”
– Kristin Moriah | Queen’s University | Canada
The theater of war has many stages, each space produced by performances of aggression, masculinity and citizenship. Performances of citizenship and gender were always implicated in black military participation during WWI, but those performances were not always directed by black subjects. And so, in this paper I examine black military bands in World War I and the life of Lt. James Reese Europe. During WWI military bands populated by African American soldiers were a smash hit on the European continent, satisfying the bottomless European appetite for black performance and providing distraction from the horrors of the war to end all wars. James Reese Europe’s band was the most famous of these musical groups. They were the first to step into France, as it were. Lt. Europe’s 369th Infantry Regiment band docked in France on January 1, 1918, famously playing a jazz rendition of “La Marsellaise” upon their arrival. Europe’s ragtime band was “the official representative of the U.S. Army and, by extension, the American nation” (Williams 166).
Directors like James Reese Europe were ever vigilant of the ways their coordinated displays of black masculinity could be absorbed into standard and ubiquitous minstrel narratives. Seemingly innocuous details could derail an entire show. For example, in a parade in which “some of the men carried broomsticks instead of rifles. The men with broomsticks were told to march in the middle of the formation, where their lack of proper equipment would be less conspicuous (Nelson 2). This positioning not only camouflaged the lack of adequate funding for military equipment, it literally shielded marchers from association with professional black minstrels. Broomsticks had long been a common prop in minstrel shows; were used as drum substitutes in Southern ring shouts (Rosenbaum 37); and were thus antithetical to modern performances of black respectability. And yet, such positioning could not always subvert dominant perceptions. Black bodies claiming public space were always conspicuous and hesitantly received.
And so, in this paper, I examine circulation of embodied black masculinity, or how masculinity accrued cultural capital, and an increasingly firm sense of the way African American performance defined America, and led to a more enthusiastic public reception at the end of World War I. I focus specifically on the “Harlem Hellfighters homecoming parade, a celebration akin to a festival that was “a spectacle like nothing New York had ever witnessed” because, among other things, “it represented an impressive display of the potential of civic interracial democracy on the grand New York stage.”
“Colonial Cultural Construct around Charitable Giving and the Arts”
– Marva Wisdom | ArtsEverywhere | Canada
This paper examines the colonial cultural construct around charitable giving and its relationship to the Arts (music, visual arts, writing), especially where the intended outcome is to advance social justice and bring about strengthened connections and deeper understanding of our common humanity.
6. Dance, Music, and Festivals (2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT)
Chair: Melissa Noventa (Cultural Studies, Queen’s University)
“Historical Gestures as Text, Movement As Resistance”
– Charmaine Headley | COBA, Collective Of Black Artists | Canada
– Kevin Ormsby | KasheDance & Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario | Canada
This collaborative proposal considers the role festivals play in exploring methodologies for understanding Cultural, Diasporic and Equity Studies identified through a qualitative approach, using existing research, narratives and lived experience through the lens of dance / movement instruction as a gateway to unpacking embodied legacy of identity and solidarity in the diaspora. The paper will be grounded in and speak to festivals as formations and creation of intra-dimensional spaces where choreography converses with music via various pedagogical approaches. Festivals as sites of addressing the concept of “home” in the diaspora, creates and shapes diasporic intimacies in and through conscious solidarities. The proposed will be a physical embodiment workshop to demonstrate the physical embodiment intricate lineage to music.
7. Experimentalism, Transformation, and Festival Culture (3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT)
Chair: Ellen Waterman (Research Centre for Music, Sound, and Society in Canada, Carleton University)
“Facing the Strain: Curating Change for Our Times”
– Peter Burton | Arts in the Margins | Canada
My presentation will be based on personal experience as a cultural organizer and will focus on how models for curating change which were established in the early 2000’s by music festivals such as the Suoni Per Il Popolo are currently being reimagined and reconfigured in response to a host of powerful cultural, economic, environmental and technological forces which are radically and rapidly transforming musical presentation landscapes as well as society more generally.
– Chris Worden | Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph | Canada
Arts organizations are attempting to widen the scope of opportunities for members of underrepresented groups, and arts councils have increasingly emphasized equity metrics in the funding applications and reports on which many arts organizations depend. Arts programmers are important players in navigating these equity concerns. Based on interviews with programmers at publicly-funded arts organizations (including music festivals) in Southern Ontario, this presentation will discuss how these programmers and their organizations address equity concerns in their programming and administrative structures. It will address the factors that influence how they perform their roles, and the tensions they encounter as they engage in complex practices of aesthetic judgment and civil responsibility.
8. Alan Greyeyes and Candice Hopkins: In Conversation (4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. EDT)
Chair: Marie Zimmerman (Hillside Festival & International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation)
– Alan Greyeyes | Sākihiwē Festival | Canada
– Candice Hopkins | Toronto Biennial of Art | Canada
9. Keynote (7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. EDT)
Co-hosted with IF 2022, a music festival presented by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (join us here to listen to the keynote)
Chair: Michael Heller (Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh)
“The Creative Response: Art & Resistance”
– Patricia Nicholson | Vision Fest – Arts for Art | USA
– William Parker | Vision Fest – Arts for Art | USA
To register: whatmusicfestivalsdo.eventbrite.com.