Liverpool Sound City festivalgoers had the chance to experience cutting edge music and art projects curated by Edge Hill University staff and students.
After first becoming involved with Sound City in 2013, Edge Hill became Industry Connection Partner in 2015 and this year saw the University bring more creative content to the festival than ever before.
An installation from avant-garde Liverpool music act a.P.a.t.T, commissioned by Edge Hill’s Arts Centre and involving performing arts students, premiered in the festival’s ‘Wider Arts’ area on Saturday 27 May.
The multi-disciplinary installation inside a purpose-built 6×6 metre box hosted four 45-minute performances throughout the day in response to Sound City’s dockland setting, evoking the nearby river and sea. Projections accompanied a.P.a.t.T’s performance inside the box whilst an artist painted the outside as a durational performance throughout the day.
a.P.a.t.T have also been placed in the top 17 acts of this year’s Sound City by website Getintothis which states, “Operatic rock melds into gentle whimsy before the whole thing swells into a chorus of vocal rage as band-leader Stephen Cole falls to the floor raising his arms skyward as all around him – including several of those watching on – sing together howling into the vortex.”
Cathy Butterworth, Arts Manager at Edge Hill University said:
“This project is a great development in our relationship with Sound City, the start of an ongoing collaboration with a.P.a.t.T and one of the ways we are developing the music programme here at the Arts Centre. It was a fantastic opportunity for Edge Hill students to work with a creative, experimental act who aren’t afraid to push boundaries.”
Edge Hill’s first conference of LGBTQ+ music, Music-Queer-Intersections – which explored how the music industry has transformed to reflect LGBTQ+ culture and has arguably been a driving force for social change – held a symposium at the Sound City Festival site.
Spin Me Round, a round-table session paying tribute to Liverpool fashion and music icon Pete Burns, took place on Saturday 27 May. The globally famous frontman of Dead or Alive died last October, aged just 57. His larger-than-life character left an indelible mark, not least on a revitalised Liverpool music scene of the late 70s and early 80s.
Spin Me Round saw his celebrity friends applaud the influence Pete had on Liverpool’s queer scene with his scandalous behaviour, diva looks and potent personality, and the audience were invited to join the conversation. Speakers included Jayne Casey (artistic director and dominant force in the Liverpool punk and new wave scene), Queen Zee (leader of inspired ‘neu-punk’ band Queen Zee and the Sasstones) and Roger Hill (custodian of the nation’s longest-running alternative music radio show on BBC Radio Merseyside).
The latest crop of bands from The Label Recordings – Edge Hill University’s not-for-profit record label – took over the Emerging Talent stage at the festival, also on Saturday 27 May. The Label, which champions the region’s best new music, is led by media lecturer and The Farm bassist Carl Hunter alongside a team of student volunteers keen to get hands-on experience of the music industry. This is the fourth year in a row that Label bands have had their own stage at Sound City, and this year’s line-up included psych-pop singer Ali Horn, guitar band Shrinking Minds, featuring Edge Hill student Liam Evans, Oranj Son, a psych punk band including Edge Hill student Bradley Walsh, and four piece psych-rock band Wuzi.
Edge Hill’s all-female dance troupe, 3rd Edge, also drew the crowds in with their imaginative and energetic performance.