Counterflows was founded in 2012 with an aim of providing a platform to a wide array of radical, off-stream and experimental music. Through live events, club nights, discussions, residencies, film screenings and more, we dream up ways that myriad local and international artists, communities and audiences can come together, share ideas, attempt to break down borders, challenge hierarchies, push boundaries and quite simply have a lot of fun in the process.
We aim to support artists who fall between the cracks; who seek new ways to develop music, encounter song, rhythm and sound – who attempt to find space free from the dogmas and clichés of genre and style. We present different artists from a wide pool of backgrounds – from fizzing DIY underground scenes, geographically remote locations to online-based communities – and whose artistic approaches vary radically. Through our on-going programmes we present these artists in ways that highlight the diversity in their approaches, as well as explores the potential common ground between each of them.
“When people talk in reverential tones about Glasgow’s ‘vibrant live scene’ they don’t mean events like Counterflows, though they probably should. All human life is here” – James Hampson, The Skinny
The core of Counterflows is our annual festival; an amorphous live music happening that weaves itself through Glasgow’s most interesting venues/spaces. We present live music as a social, shared and community-based experience, so we use environments that are living and breathing, that present music as more than just a museum-piece or artefact. We use community halls, cafes, art galleries, churches; whatever feels best suitable for presenting the artists – and whatever contributes towards a shared experience that is as warm, inclusive and positive as possible.
“Counterflows disputes assumptions that challenging, thrilling experimental art has to be elitist and or unapproachable … Counterflows offers myriad amenable routes to local and global nirvana” – Nicola Meighan, The Herald
One of the key aims of Counterflows is to increase the potential for artists – not just helping them reach audiences, but also encourage nourishing experimentation and collaboration. In 2014 we started our ‘featured artist’ programme as part of the festival. To use such a term does appear on the surface anachronistic, given our lifelong obsession in breaking down boundaries, hierarchies, and so on… But for us it is really about looking a bit closer at an artist’s work and also about recognising artists that have been pursuing their thing relentlessly over the years and creating something that is theirs alone. Past featured artists – Joe McPhee, Richard Youngs, Zeena Parkins and Ashley Paul – all share the desire to restlessly create new ways to encounter their music, and through the featured artist programme have created new works, presented debut collaborations, played intimate shows, and so much more.
“A festival with radical and inclusive notions about what exactly it means to be a part of the underground” – Oscar Gaynor, The Quietus
Counterflows is curated by Alasdair Campbell & Fielding Hope.
Our extended team includes Oliver Pitt, Tim Matthew, Clare Hoare, Silja Strøm, Tara Pattenden and Gavin Robertson.
We want to thank the community of artists, audiences and various supporters who make Counterflows possible.