Experimental music as its name implies is an opportunity for artists and musicians to be open-minded and try out new things.
Last weekend, 60 experimental musicians had a chance to test their mettle at a special avant garde concert, 18 hours of music over two solid days, held at The Exploration Place.
“Casse-Tete was really a blast,” said key founder/organizer Jeremy Stewart, who also performed there in his own group, The Transfiguration Good News Band.
It took a lot of people to make it a success, he said.
“The musicians, the volunteers, the sponsors, the donors, the patrons… everyone really brought a great energy to the festival. The level of support we received from the community was really touching especially considering what a unique event it was.”
Does Stewart expect to see it become an annual event?
“It was wonderful for me to see the younger musicians and music students working alongside experienced professional musicians.
“It’s the kind of thing that makes a deep positive impact on a musical community that can be felt for a very long time. I hope to do it again… I have some exciting meetings coming up with prospective partners for next year.”
Casse-Tete started as an idea in 2004.
“My friend Ken Goudsward, who performed as Ken Goudsward’s PARKA on the weekend, told me that [curator] Bob Campbell was looking for experimental music for performances to be held in The Exploration Place’s dinosaur room. While that didn’t materialize, it did plant a seed that was watered later when electronics genius Oro Barton (PG9o9) proposed in 2009 that we do a festival of experimental music. His idea was to heavily feature local performers.”
Stewart liked the idea, he said, but at the time he was working on his master’s degree so he had to put the idea on the back burner.
“I’d been playing in experimental projects with Ken and Peter Stevenson since 2003, including Ken’s Old Heisenberg and Peter’s Pushing The Edge as well as participating in experimental offerings at Two Rivers Gallery related to Barbara Scholz’s shows Destiny and Tempation: I Felt It and Drive By Landscapes with Annerose Georgeson.
“So I’ve been involved in some crazy music here with lots of other local musicians but I thought it was time to link what was going on here with the larger national scene and feature this music in a more focused way for the benefit of the general public.”
What does it take to put on a big show like this? Lots, says Stewart.
“I spent weeks contacting artists and negotiating contracts with them, devising a schedule, finding billets for out-of-town artists, setting up a marketing campaign, media coverage etc. I personally designed the posters, stickers and programs, planning and setting up the tech including a PA and lights, setting up a Indie GoGo crowd funding campaign to help cover costs, finding sponsors and coordinating volunteers to help decorate the space which included original art by Erin Arding and a giant, lit balloon arch.”
Last weekend’s event included Nam Shub (Vancouver), Pigeon Breeders (Edmonton), Stanley Jason Zappa (Oliver via New Jersey) and Mechanics who Can Drive (Calgary/Vanouver).
Some locals include Maple You Know, Anne Harris, Sebastian Ostertag, Jose Delgado-Guevara and The Transfiguration Good News Band.
For more information, visit cassetetefestival.tumblr.com.