Venn Festival is three years old this year. If you follow the playground adage of “first the worst, second the best”, this will be the Venn with a hairy chest. A festival with a hairy chest is not all that much of a proposition, but to peruse the line-up, would suggest this year will be ‘third time lucky’, so delectable is the extensive list of bands, persons and machines involved.
Taking place from the 2nd through the 4th of June, events are held in a fair smattering of venues across the Stokes Croft area of Bristol. Saturday is the all-day and all-night affair, whilst the Friday and Sunday are, respectively, opening and closing evening events. Alongside all the gigs for you to gawp at as an audience member, there are free workshops (all encouraging you to make some experimental sound yourself), art exhibitions, Venn radio, picnics, culinary conventions, DJ mix competitions – all in all a rather busy weekend.
Musical policy at Venn is incredibly varied – the space of a few hours could take you from modern classical composition, to off kilter pop-music, to minimal techno, thrash-punk, acoustic folk and back again. One common link is the desire to innovate, experiment or excite – definitely no hype bands here, certainly one of the most diverse festival line-ups, both sonically and geographically. Reading the programme will not be a case of recognizing names, but rather taking note of the most interesting descriptions, taking risks and listening to things you have no preconceptions of.
Still, there are certain things that I for one advise you not to miss:
Friday @ St Georges
Achingly poised classical compositions, both very modern and very timeless. Through an often minimalist medium, sentimentality, emotion and warmth are drawn out. This event will see material from a new album aired, along with material from past albums The Blue Notebooks and Memoryhouse.
Saturday 6pm @ Cube Cinema
Hailing from Sweden, expect dream-like drifting, spell-binding hidden melodies, sleepy aesthetics. A blend of acoustic instruments, field recordings, found sounds and electronics, somewhat in the vein of The Books, but giving each individual part much more room to breathe. This promises to be a tenderly soft start to Saturday evening.
Saturday 9.30pm @ Casablanca
Oddball pop music, so lo-fi it borders on no-fi. Melodies both oddly familiar and strangely frightening are surrounded by recording buzz and muffled tones. On record it sounds as if chart hits and advertising jingles have been recorded through a king-size duvet, what it will sound like in live performance is worth investigating!
Saturday 1am @ Casablanca
All the way from Berlin, two femme fatales make a mess with digi-harcore-trash-punk. They have toured with Sonic Youth, which, let’s face it, is nearly always a mark of something special.
Sunday @ Trinity Centre
Once at the frontline of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, now stood alone. Euros Childs can be simultaneously perplexing and funny, sing-along and surprising. A comparative local being from just o’er the river Severn, Euros Childs will be a light touch to end a weekend of intense musical exploration with.
And furthermore, these could also be highlights:
65daysofstatic, Baba Zulu, Chora, Chris Corsano, Vashti Bunyan, Fog, Kid Carpet, Knowledge of Bugs, Male, Nettle, North Sea Navigator, Scion, Tetine, The Chap, Toolshed, V/Vm, Volcano the Bear.
Ticket information and comprehensive listings can be found on the festival website, Here.