That High Zero Festival, an annual multi-day concert of improvised and avant-garde music, has existed for 20 years speaks to the Baltimore music scene’s embrace of the experimental. To mark two decades, organizers are planning to take the show on the road in September.
“We’ve been talking about the tour for a few years,” says Andrew Bernstein, a member of the non-profit High Zero Foundation that puts on the festival and other shows. “We liked the idea of sharing what we do in Baltimore with other communities and also the idea of a more intense collaboration between Baltimore musicians those from another city. The 20th anniversary seemed to be a good opportunity to make this grand gesture.”
To cover artist fees, renting venues, transportation, lodging and production costs, the festival has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $5,000–a fraction of their overall budget–to bring the festival to Chicago, from Sept. 14-15, and New York, from Sept. 19-20. In both shows, the musicians will play music with artists from the host city.
The mini-tour culminates with two days of music in Baltimore, on Sept. 28-29, at Theatre Project, featuring such notable players as pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, spoken word performer Stephanie Barber, instrument inventor Neil Feather, drummer April Camlin and hip-hop musician Wendel Patrick, just to name a few.
Rewards for donations range from social media shoutouts to CDs to lessons in musical performance or festival organizing.
Here’s M.C. Schmidt, of the experimental electronic duo Matmos, to explain more as he attempts to make autonomous sensory meridian response music with the help of a cat.