Festival Cultures: Media, Place, Music conference, University of East Anglia, 22 May


EDP report Big Weekend

Friday 22 May, UEA, Norwich, 10-5 pm, Thomas Paine Study Centre

With origins going back to the Radio 1 Roadshows that toured nationally each summer in the 1970s, the annual BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend is a free pop festival held in a different city in the UK each year. This year it is in Norwich, 23-24 May. According to the BBC, it is ‘the UK’s biggest free ticketed festival’, a live music event also broadcast on Radio 1 and 1Extra, and BBC3.

Also happening in May (8-24) is the annual Norfolk and Norwich Festival, a major multi-arts annual event for the East of England, presenting theatre, music, art, literature and more. The festival is among the oldest arts festivals in the UK, dating back originally to 1772.

To mark and to critically interrogate the correspondence of these occasions, an academic and industry symposium is being held at the UEA. It will feature academic speakers from media studies and popular music studies, from industry, from the media, and from festival organisations.

Speakers and features already confirmed (others to be added):

  • Prof Tim Wall Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies, Birmingham City University – keynote address: ‘Radio One on the Road: creating that festival spirit for live radio broadcasts’
  • Bob Shennan Controller of BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, and Director of BBC Music, will close the conference in a Q&A with Prof Wall
  • William Galinsky Artistic Director, Norfolk and Norwich Festival
  • John Cumming Director, EFG London Jazz Festival
  • Ben Robinson Director, Kendal Calling festival
  • Dr Chris Anderton Southampton Solent University, author Music Festivals in the UK (2016)McKay The Pop Festival lo-res cover
  • Prof George McKay AHRC Leadership Fellow, UEA, editor The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture (2015)
  • Roxy Robinson Leeds Beckett University, author Festival Culture and the Politics of Participation (2015)
  • East Anglian Fairs Archive 1972-1986 rural alternative festivals scene.

Areas to be discussed include:

  • Popular music and festival
  • BBC as promoter and commissioner of (live) music
  • The role of festival in the construction of regional cultural identity
  • Cultural festival as event; making a festival happen
  • Multiplatform: media / music / digital crossovers
  • Festival history and memory

An exhibition of archive photographs and materials from Fairs Archive will be on show thoughout the day, hopefully in the archive’s yurt.

Attendance is free, but prior registration is essential. To register go to Eventbrite.

For further information contact Rachel Daniel, AHRC Connected Communities administrator, r.daniel@uea.ac.uk

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