COUNTERFLOWS 2016 YOU WERE AMAZING – THANK YOU!
images: Pavel D
Here’s the thing…
As I wandered lonely as a cloud there were no flipping daffodils or things that broke the light of dawn. No, I listened to the sound of Louis Armstrong and Johnny Rotten and wondered who I could talk to about these things…
And now here we are with the most joyous moments of my simple life trundling out in front of my very eyes. What mysteries unfold as musicians gather to play, what nonsense we speak as we communicate our determined attempts at sharing what we feel. I am frozen in endless perpetuity with the idea that we can still create such joy.
So now how to find the words to thank everyone who makes this thing happen, it is an impossible task of course but I will try or in fact we will try as firstly this is a truly joint effort between myself and Fielding.
We would like to give huge appreciation of gratitude to Zeena Parkins who stepped up and was truly inspirational throughout the festival. Her commitment and generosity were evident across everything she did, from LACE, IN PLACE, her talk with the wonderful Frances Morgan and of course a truly magnificent duo with Mette Rasmussen.
It is hard to encapsulate quite all that happened at Counterflows this time around. From Sensational busking in Shawlands’ arcade with the wonderful sonic pranksters Yeah You; to the audience crawling under Ruth’s piano while Zeena created an aural assault with Ebos; from Inga Copeland’s masterly emersion of the CCA theatre in her own world of dystopian but somehow uplifting song structures; to Pat Thomas and Orphy Robinson’s Blacktop special, unrepentant and weirdly soulful (a special mention to Ryan Sawyer for jumping straight into this); Graham Lambkin’s first Glasgow show with Astor that strangely conjured up two men in a shed doing odd jobs and was magnificent; from the opening evening at the chapel where three distinctly different violin practitioners produced a sublime opening evening, Angharad and Laura joined by the great Aidan O’Rourke; from NMO performing their own tribute to sports therapy in The Art School; to the brilliant contribution from LUX Scotland to bring the expanded cinema experience to Counterflows with Florrie James and all, the list goes on and on…
But the small details are important: two young women; Kirstin and Emily from the Women’s Library Young Critics getting involved; our friends from Chennai performing their own community event at New Victoria Gardens (the allotments) to families from Southside; Ranjits’ Kitchen bringing us all that food that disappeared swiftly after the Glad Café show; Ollie Pitts remarkable designs all gold and black and beautiful; Aby Vulliamy’s tribute to Motherhood with her wonderful colleagues (this is not a small thing) and all those excited children dancing, jumping, conducting and smiling as they soaked up the music and the small moment when we realise our ignorance of what really is going on and the commitment of Mark Fell who came up to Counterflows with the idea and whim of ours that maybe something amazing could happen.
One thing we would like to mention is the final concert at Langside Hall. This rates as a very special moment for Counterflows. To highlight the beauty and interconnectedness of all our music is an ambition of Counterflows and by ending the festival with Carnatic music from South India and for it to be celebrated in such a way by the ecstatic standing ovation suggests that we are not completely mad and that maybe we are doing something right. We should not forget to mention Matona and Aine O’Dwyer who started the concert in such a sublime way.
This all only happens through collaboration and there are so many people to thank. All the volunteers that contribute are amazing, but we need to mention some people by name: Gavin Robertson, Alison Murray, Clare Hoare, Silja Strom, Tim Matthew, Stewart Smith, Matilda Strang, Hamish Dunbar, Bryan Jones and Pavel and Alicia who this year were documenting every move. We also have to thank Chico and Tathiana from Novas Frequencias and wish them well and support through what is going on in Brazil, Sonya from EarthSync in Chennai (we can’t wait to get started).
Thanks to all the staff at the Venues who worked so hard to make all this happen: Francis, Ainslie, Kenny and Julie and their team at CCA; Tommy & Ross at Garnethill; Guillame, Joel and all at the Arts School; Rachel and Joe Smillie and all at The Glad Café; the teams at Nice N Sleazys and Langside Hall; Joan Keenan, Brianna and Kevin Bowyer and all at the University Chapel and its wonderful organ, Paul Smith and Clare and their helpful and understanding 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. We are extremely grateful for their belief in what Counterflows is and will be. Creative Scotland, The Goethe Institut-Glasgow, British Council and PRS for Music Foundation have supported Counterflows through its evolution. The Lithuanian Cultural attache Rita who has been incredibly supportive and integral in broadening our scope, also a mention for Glasgow International who, this year have been again supportive. To help with reporting back to our supporters, and to help plan for next year, we have a post-event survey here and would really appreciate 5 mins of your time (and there’s a prize draw if you complete this too).
The journalists who support the festival continuously: Keith Bruce, Kate Molleson, Stewart Smith, Claire Sawyers, Frances Morgan, Tony and the team at the Wire and any others who keep culture out there, probing and challenging the accepted hierarchies.
And then of course there are the artists. It is impossible to express the gratitude I we feel to all of them for risking everything with their creative endeavours. We thank them all for their support of Counterflows. Lastly, there is the audience, you come back and truly make up the Counterflows spirit with such a generosity of passion and commitment. Music is a burning force for good and it is people that make the difference. We bow to all of your trust in Counterflows. THANKS!
Here’s to Counterflows 2017. See you there! Alasdair Campbell and Fielding Hope.