It is with great sadness we have to announce the decision to cancel Counterflows Festival 2020 due to the ongoing issues with COVID-19.

Putting international artists through the stress of cancelled flights and being potentially quarantined is just too much of a risk to take given the current situation. On top of this, it feels increasingly irresponsible to be holding social events of our scale given the risk of the virus spreading.

We will be issuing refunds for the festival via Eventbrite right away. Funds should be back in your account within the next 7 working days.

Counterflows is a small grassroots festival and we appreciate the love and support the artists, audience members, supporters/funders, staff and everyone else have given us on this venture.

As a small statement of solidarity, if you want to help support artists due to perform and their respective independent labels, we have made a list of music that is available for purchase on their bandcamp pages

We are working out our budgets at the moment and aim to pay all the artists cancel fees. If anyone is able is able to help boost the amount we give them you can do so by donating to us via PayPal at 100% of donations will be spread equally between the artists.

As it stands we will be focussing our energy on the 2021 edition of the festival, which will be our 10th year anniversary. The plan is to hopefully reschedule as much of the line-up for the 2020 festival as possible, as well as add some additional projects on top. This of course depends on funding and finances, but our fingers are crossed. We'll keep in touch.

Please look out for and support one another during this difficult time. We all need one another more than ever.

Love and strength,
Alasdair & Fielding – Team Counterflows

Original website still available below
A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
2 – 5 April 2020
Various Venues Around Glasgow

Counterflows 2015: introduction

I’ve been puzzling a lot recently over the language we use to describe what we are doing. Language is certainly not the theme of Counterflows 2015, but it could be. All of the artists invited to participate this year of course grapple with this idea, of how to communicate, through music, their ideas. Each has their own specific and highly personal language that they have developed and are developing (surely it must be an on-going process). Is music something different from language? Can we dance to language? Certainly if you read or listen to some of our poets or great orators there is a music created by words spoken.

I am genuinely excited by the international breadth of this year’s festival. It is one of the ambitions of the festival to look outwardly and explore what’s happening beyond our own backyard but as anyone that knows me realises this has to be balanced with supporting what is happening here. This is highlighted by this year’s choice of featured artist. Richard Youngs will stamp his distinctive voice throughout the festival with his Counterflows commission Experiment for Demolished Structures for four voices celebrating his determined creative development. Richard is fearless in his artistic vision. Counterflows bows to this attitude.

With artists from Mauritania, Taiwan, Brazil, Japan, France and many other countries performing in Glasgow in April there will be a glorious Babel of languages at the festival. The language of improvisation can be no better celebrated than with the bringing together of the master musician of Glasgow George Lyle and the New York prince of multi-instrumentalism Daniel Carter. And this year I’m particularly pleased that we have the voice of West Africa represented by the ecstatic singing of Noura Mint Seymali. The music of this area of our planet has been a big part of my musical journey, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, and with the vast sub-Saharan expanses of desert and sky this music simmers with the soul of a fiercely proud people.

Poetry and I (extract)
The sin is that I wasn’t a stone
And the troubles of the world make me sleepless
And I shield myself with poetry
And it keeps me company when I’m far from home
And poetry is my satchel that I will always carry with me
It holds the taste and fragrance of the earth
It holds thickets of prickly branches
It holds palm fronds loaded with dates
It paints all the stories of love in my language
Its colours form the spectrum from grape to dawn
And I said bring the most beautiful of stringed instruments
So the universe may know how music flows.
Mbarka Mint al-Barra (Literal translation from Arabic by Joel Mitchell)

Photo Credit: Murray Kerr

Photo Credit: Murray Kerr