In march 2006 a new media arts and electronic music festival took place over three days in Vilnius, Lithuania. The festival featured an eclectic mix of electronic musicians and new media art professionals such as Janek Schaffer, Chris Clark, Frans De Ward and Andrew Coleman (aka: Animals on Wheels) who over the three days gave seminars, talks and performances relating this area of academic music & art.

The festival was my idea 🙂 – When I went to Lithuania during my second year of university, I had an awful lot of fun, however, I also had to achieve some academic ‘stuff’ so as part of my time there, I volunteered in the local New media / arts Centre INTRO situated just over the road from the academy.

I began by organising a few small parties (most events in lithuania are referred to simply as ‘parties’) These were a raging success. One such party was called INTRONATIONAL. The idea was to invite as many foreign exchange students as possible to INTRO from all over Lithuania, in all the different disciplines, to have a big party, to mix the people together and just see how it went down!

I also had free reign of a very slow and old PC conected to the internet. Using this I began what would become a two year drawn out process – organising Balticoco.

I emailed about 100 different organisations in the UK and Europe in an attempt to get them to agree to come and give shows in Vilnius for cheap rates. IE: I sold Lithuania on it’s beauty to organisations who came accross as either politically, socially aware etc… and apealled to them to come and share vibrancy in the area. I emailed Hospital Records, Ninja Tune, Warp, Rephlex – all the labels I could find, that I had been looking at over the previous two years and listening to in the hope they’d allow there better nature’s prevail.

Alas – one such organization replied with interest. c0c0s0l1dc1t1 – an organisation based out of Montreal and Manchester were interested in coming over to do some kind of festival / projec offering the services of sound artists, media artists etc. to give presentations and seminars in their respective disciplines.

Over the next two years, after I had left Lithuania, and even graduated University, I watched as the festival grew from an idea into a reality. Posting requests and information between a contact in c0c0s0l1dc1t1, and INTRO hardly believing anything was gonna happen at all. I wrote press releses for the British Council, phoned Turkey to speak with c0c0, emailed everyday during my lunch times out from my job, wrote to the British Council, made a pain in the ____ of myself to Arts tutors at the Academy in Lithuania apealing for computers and some kind of cooperation between them and INTRO. By the time I had finished uni and spent the first year doing all this for free, chasing what had become by now like a dream – there was no way I was giving up. This event was gonna happen and that was that. By now I was so determined, I would have done nearly anything to make it happen.

It was all worth it in the end, as what I got, for my efforts, was an electronic music and new media arts and education festival, my flight paid for, my accomodation paid for and free meals / booze for the whole weekend, and I can say I was responsible for the conception, organisation and realisation of my ‘dream’, giving something worthwhile back to a place that opened it’s arms to me, and gave me such a fantastic opportunity.

I chilled out over the weekend and talked art and idiocy with loads of almost fictional stars of the electronic music / arts scenes I was interested in. Chris Clark (Clark), Janek Schaffer, Frans De Ward etc… It was an unbelieveable experience. I didnt get paid but who cares? I am remembered as the organiser of this event and that is so much worthier a drive than money.

Thank you to the artists involved, the funders, Vygis (INTRO Manager, partner in organisation), Toby @ c0c0s0l1dc1t1 (third arm in organisation, provider of contact to mass of incredible artists – indebted to for the draw of the event)

The weekend was very special for all involved actually as many of the artists knew each other and were able to really relax and enjoy so much of the event.

pix:

janekschaffer.jpg, chrisclarkcrowd.jpg, andycolemanvj.jpg,

official event site: http://www.stereo.lt

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