Celebration at 360 Degrees

Issue 01/15

Festivals have become powerful tools for communication and creative exchange that overstep the borders that delimit them.

Contemporary creation can be divided into two distinct categories, sharing and celebrating, as established in the making of art works in all genres—music, performance and painting. Yet the fact of making an announcement, of celebrating with other people and communicating one’s knowledge and work processes to a group of people is the most exciting news for avant-garde art. And I say exciting because it instead of being proclaimed before an audience, thanks to social networks it is now made known before millions of people sitting in their own living rooms.

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Doug Aitken: Sleepwalkers, 2007. Creative Time & MoMA~The Museum of Modern Art, Nueva York

This is the idea behind new festivals, that urges cities to prepare, organise and enjoy them, and enables them to be celebrated even by those who aren’t physically present—thanks to hashtags they can be experienced live.

Festivals have become powerful tools for communication, creative exchange and social interaction even beyond their actual venues. They are responsible for changing the way many organisations work, updating them and encouraging them to redefine what we understood to be physical and perimetric. And that’s a good thing, because the festival experience begins even before your ticket is punched, months and months before the band, the drama company or the lead singer in question are announced.

Anti Sala: Unravel Ravel, 2013. Pabellón de Francia, La Biennale di Venezia, Venecia, Italia

Anti Sala: Unravel Ravel, 2013. Pabellón de Francia, La Biennale di Venezia, Venecia, Italia

Suffice it to think of the last two SOS 4.8—Estrella de Levante festivals, which marked a turning point that seems to suggest a new conception of the music festivals held in Spain. Iván López Munuera was hired to direct the visual arts section of a purely musical event, and the representatives of the different media seemed to show a greater interest in the lectures and artistic interventions presented exclusively during the event than in the bands themselves.

This maxim may be exaggerated, but perhaps time has come for affirming music festivals as ideal venues for placing artistic creation in the service of mass audiences. In his first year as artistic director, Munuera counted on artists such as Jorge López Conde, Equipo Palomar and Humberto Vélez, who were among those who shared the space designed by C+ Arquitectos group run by Nerea Calvillo. Music, visual arts, architecture and social networks followed one another while the rest of the audience danced to the sound of Damon Albarn, Pet Shop Boys and The Prodigy. And this is sums up the ‘360 Degrees Festival’ that celebrates and shares all sorts of disciplines.