Where should I go for arts/electronics/performance stuff?
April 30, 2008 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out what to do with some travel money! Specifically interested in arts / electronics / performance festivals, but any suggestions are welcome.

As part of a grant I received, I have a not insignificant amount of money that I have to use specifically for travel. The grant is specifically for theater, but the travel doesn't necessary have to be. My interests are pretty wide-ranging, but I'm definitely interested in performance and technology.

Things I've thought of:
- Las Vegas! (Seriously.)
- Disney World! (Also seriously.)
- Ars Electronica! (But, is this a reasonable thing for me to go to, as an english-only speaker?)
- Venice Biennale!

Have you been to any great festivals? Or places that were awesome?

Thanks in advance. You all are awesome.
posted by hapticactionnetwork to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well someone has gotta mention it: Burning Man, the mother of all arts happenings and also a "festival" that's been the subject of academic research and is chock full of art installations, performances, and technology.
posted by donovan at 6:18 PM on April 30, 2008

Yeah, I was going to say Burning Man too. But I think your original list is cool, too. The glaring omission, however, is the Edinburgh Festival - lots of hoity toity theatre all over town. It runs almost concurrently with the Edinburgh Fringe, which is about 200x bigger than the official Festival, and as the largest arts festival in the world. It runs the gamut in performance - from plays to stand-up. It is also a damn good time.

I can't imagine any single place where you could see more of what you're after in a wider variety, in fact.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:36 PM on April 30, 2008

The National Storytelling Festival isn't until October, but it's well worth the trip. It is held in the oldest city in Tennessee and has been going on since 1973. 35 years! Some of the best storytellers in the nation show up for this. The leaves will be in full flame by then too! The ghost stories are the best in my opinion.

Over thirty years ago, a high school journalism teacher and a carload of students heard Grand Ole Opry regular Jerry Clower spin a tale over the radio about coon hunting in Mississippi. And the teacher—Jimmy Neil Smith—had a sudden inspiration: Why not have a storytelling festival right here in Northeast Tennessee?

or you can show up for Twenty-two of America’s best-loved storytellers will be Tellers in Residence at the International Storytelling Center in 2008 – one per week for 22 weeks from June 3 – November 1.
posted by meeshell at 6:47 PM on April 30, 2008

Yep: Edinburgh. Luvvies 20-a-flat, venues the size of sheds. This late, you won't have a chance of finding anywhere with a roof to put anything on yourself, but that doesn't generally stop people. You'll see performers who'll never make it across the pond, and ones for whom you'll be able to say 'I saw them play in front of six people and a bored cat'.
posted by holgate at 6:52 PM on April 30, 2008

here's a video about how it started the storytelling festival that is
posted by meeshell at 6:53 PM on April 30, 2008

Mutek, in Montreal, May 28 through June 1.
posted by zsazsa at 6:59 PM on April 30, 2008

This late, you won't have a chance of finding anywhere with a roof to put anything on yourself, but that doesn't generally stop people.

I've just put down a deposit on a two bedroomed apartment within walking distance of the City Centre for the second week of the festival -- near to Arthur's Seat, judging from the map. It cost me £500 for the week though that's definitely at the cheaper end of what you'll pay.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:36 PM on April 30, 2008

Oh, sorry, holgate, I've just figured you were saying that he wouldn't find a venue. I thought you were saying he wouldn't find somewhere to stay this late.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:38 PM on April 30, 2008

Siggraph is in LA this year
posted by nimsey lou at 7:45 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oregon Shakespeare Festival...all kinds of artsy fun and games, it's not just for Shakespeare anymore! And it goes about 9 months out of the year.
posted by mumstheword at 8:18 PM on April 30, 2008

Electro-Music, August 14-16, 2008, Kingsport, Tennessee. I went to the first Electro-Music outside Philadelphia a few years ago - it's a small, friendly, very nerdy celebration of electronic music.

Artbots 2008, September, Dublin. Should be great tech-art stuff, but it's more an exhibition than a conference.

I haven't been to Ars Electronica, but I've heard that you can get along pretty well with English. In fact, I remember reading on their site that English is the official language of the festival, though I can't find it now. I went to ISEA in Rotterdam a few years ago and it was just about all English.
posted by moonmilk at 9:53 PM on April 30, 2008

Brisbane Festival's coming up in a couple of months.
posted by divabat at 10:44 PM on April 30, 2008

Savannah Film Festival?

I hate to venture off-topic, but what grant is this?
posted by thebrokenmuse at 11:43 PM on April 30, 2008

Sonar in Barcelona, Mutek in Montreal, Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, etc.
posted by atomly at 6:28 AM on May 1, 2008

A good starting point would be Rhizome. They have a calendar function and usually provide a ton of links to contemporary, digital, art.

Also, coolhunting.com might be worth getting through to see which events they've highlighted in the past
posted by monocultured at 10:10 AM on May 1, 2008

Thanks for the great answers, everybody. There are a lot of great suggestions here. For those of you wondering, the grant is Theater Communication Group's New Generations: Future Leaders grant. It's kind of a weird grant, but I totally recommend it to anyone who's working in theater and has a relationship with a theater already. There's more info here.
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2008

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