To say thank you for your support of Counterflows 2014 doesn’t really capture what it means to me that so many people came out over the weekend to really get involved with what sometimes gets labelled as marginal. There was nothing marginal about The Space Lady’s dreamy sound world drifting across the amphitheatre of the Queen’s Park Bandstand to 300 people made up of young & old, families and friends, dogs and even a wonderful UFO moment just before The Space Lady opened up (the sun even came out), or to Joe McPhee’s opening solo slot for the festival with 400 revellers hanging on to every heart felt note and even call-and-responding to his final salvo, an almost rock & roll riff from the deepest annals of the music’s history.
There were so many beautiful moments that captured the Counterflows spirit: Aki Onda and Akio Suzuki mesmerising us all in the amazingly atmospheric underground carpark, Ela Orlean’s & Maja Borg’s tender collaboration (who thinks art can’t say something and still be brilliant), Heatsick’s totally ridiculously absorbing 4 hour long Extended play through lavender haze with Golden teacher (and we all danced till dawn) but the person that really epitomised what the festival is about was of course Joe McPhee. His spirit of adventure and generosity straddled the whole event. Performing un-programmed with the young Whilst musicians on Friday, talking candidly with Brian Morton about racism on Saturday afternoon, adorned with shades and attitude at Heatsick’s Saturday night mash up and finally coming full circle to end the festival with his friends the masters of 21st century improvisation.
So with all this slipping passed and into my faltering memory I would like to thank all those that made it happen. As I have said on many occasions, Counterflows is about collaboration and could not happen without it. Thanks to Fielding Hope, Gavin Robertson, Alison Murray, Tim Matthew, Bryan Jones, Stewart Smith, Hamish Dunbar, Suzy Glass and Clare Hoare who are the Counterflows soul. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped so graciously this year. Thanks to all the staff at the Venues who worked so hard to make all this happen: Francis, Luke & Ainslie and their team at CCA, Tommy & Ross at Garnethill, Sukaina and the team of artists at the carpark, Liam & Joe at the Arts School, Joe Smillie and all at The Glad Café, Marie Davidson at the Queen’s Park Bandstand Arena, Paul Smith and Clare and their wonderful staff at Saramago.
Of course none of this would happen without the funders, people who don’t always get the best deal but who work as hard as any of us in these strangely politically pressurised times. I am extremely grateful for their belief in me and what Counterflows is and will be. Creative Scotland, The Goethe Institut and PRS for Music Foundation have supported Counterflows through its evolution.
The journalists who support myself and the festival continuously: Keith Bruce, Kate Molleson, Nicola Meighan, Malcolm Jack, Frances & Tony and the team at the Wire and any others who keep culture out there, probing and challenging the accepted hierarchies.
And lastly of course there are two groups of people that without them Counterflows is really nothing. That is the artists and audience. I won’t list all the artists here. There are too many of them but their commitment to what they do and their generosity of spirit is just amazing. I dearly thank you all. As for the audience, I don’t know you all by name but I’m getting there. You just get it, you know what is going on and I am humbled by your support.
Here’s to Counterflows 2015. See you there! Alasdair Campbell