10 years of Super Sonic Festival

Ambitious Birmingham arts festival celebrates 10th year.

This month Digbeth will once again vibrate with strange, wonderful sounds as the Custard Factory hosts Supersonic, one of the UK’s most distinctive, dynamic, experimental and multi-disciplinary arts festivals. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the festival has grown from a one day event into an internationally renowned weekend of music, art and more. In 2012 it will yet again secure itself as an integral part of Birmingham’s cultural offer.

Festival organiser Capsule has gained a reputation as a dynamic arts producer with a unique vision and strong track record for delivering ambitious projects. This year will be no different with a celebratory weekend working with Supersonic alumni and emerging artists to celebrate the achievements of the festival thus far.

Taking place over three days, Supersonic attracts 4,500 people over the weekend and includes 3 stages of live music and performances, a related film programme, exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, a market place and a tea room. Supersonic has an economic impact of £1.8 million on the local economy [based on 2009 figures] and consistently sells out a number of hotels in the city over the festival period. Audiences come from all corners of the UK, Europe and further a-field to attend the festival.

Lisa Meyer, festival co-director said:  ‘We’re delighted to have reached this milestone year, a decade of producing Supersonic is really quite an achievement in these challenging times. We have continued to evolve the festival in terms of our ambition and its reach, working with both past festival alumni and also championing new talent as well as bringing on new partners both nationally and locally. Core to our vision is providing a completely unique experience of the highest quality for our audience and that’s why we are able to attract people from all corners of the UK and further a-field by way of showcasing the city.”

The festival will not only bring music from era-defining, up-and-coming and local musicians such as Oxbow Orchestra, Merzbow, KK Null, Nicholas Bullen and Six Organs Of Admittance to the second city.  Supersonic 2012 is proud to feature a series of panel discussions exploring the optimum ways of making, enjoying and performing music, the UK premiere of Vinyl Rally, an immersive video racing experience, as well as an extensive film programme and a series of gigs designed especially for youngsters in mind:

Vinyl Rally

  • Vinyl Rally – A unique large-scale video racing simulated experience. Race a remote controlled car across a track constructed from disused vinyl records. A stylus attached to the bottom of the car emits sounds fed back to the seat of the player. Navigate the course from the vehicles’ point of view from wireless spy cameras mounted on the car and viewed on immersive 50 inch flat screens. An intense audio, visual and physical experience. http://dualplover.com/vinylrally/

Supersonic are proud to present the UK premiere of Vinyl Rally from Australian artist Lucas Abela, who will also be performing at the festival as Justice Yeldham and contributing to the panel, Counting In: The Art of Listening.

  • Reverse Karaoke – a collaborative installation by Kim Gordon (founder member of alternative American rock band Sonic Youth) and artist and musician Jutta Koether which will be situated in art space Eastside Projects over the festival weekend. Consisting of a painted Yurt style tent housing a rehearsal set-up with guitar, microphone, bass, and drums and a basic PA system, visitors are invited to play the instruments and record their own music along with a pre-recorded vocal track of Kim Gordon’s voice. The track is recorded live by a sound engineer who burns two CD copies of the track, while the visitor(s) decorate two CD sleeves using materials in the gallery. One copy of the CD becomes part of the piece itself on display in a record box, and the other the visitor takes home.

Kids Gigs


  • Kids Gigs – the annual programme of big sounds for little people returns! Aimed as an introduction to experimental music for children and their families, the gigs will feature Flower/Corsano Duo (www.cor-sano.com) and Islaja (http://islaja.com).

Corsano, one of the most exciting improv percussionists in the world teams up with multi-instrumentalist, free psych player Mick Flower on strings. The young audience are guaranteed to dance the afternoon away! Islaja will bring her unique vocal style and playful DIY approach to music composition to delight audiences. Each gig will include an animation workshop by artist duo Juneau Projects www.juneauprojects.co.uk

  • Counting In: Art of Listening – Bringing together artists, academics and industry professionals, this half-day panel discussion is an opportunity to explore how artists and producers can best stage work, how audiences can be best encouraged to enjoy it and how we can all become better listeners. Guest panel members include Frances Morgan, deputy editor of The Wire magazine, Simon Hall – composer, sound engineer, trombonist and Assistant Head of Music Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire, Irene Revell, Director of arts organisation Electra (www.electra-productions.com)who curate, commission and produce projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts, and notorious sonic artist Lucas Abela (a.k.a Justice Yeldman) who presents Vinyl Rally at Supersonic.
  • Other events during the festival include:

–          Screening of the Bruce Lacey Experience, a new documentary by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller and his sometime accomplice Nick Abrahams.


–          DIY film making with Super8 cameras with Imperfect Cinema (http://imperfectcinema.com)

–          ‘You Can Be You’ – with Penny, Jarboe, Eugene – panel discussion offering an insight into some of the hows and whys of maintaining an independent spirit whilst on the very edge of the avant-garde – featuring a number of maverick artists.

More information and the full Supersonic Festival line up can be found at www.supersonicfestival.com

19-21 October
Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK

Weekend Tickets  – £80 + booking fee
Friday £20 |Saturday £35 |Sunday £35

Tickets available from www.theticketsellers.co.uk

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