Supersonic news


Dear All,

Capsule has been creating work for you, our loyal and curious audiences, since 1999.

We have made the decision to take this year off from delivering Supersonic festival and are setting ourselves a challenge: in a UK with 1,000 festivals how can we keep producing adventurous work that is distinct and groundbreaking? We want to show you something new, offer challenging and memorable experiences, and support artists to achieve their most ambitious work.

We need your help.  In addition to learning and collaborating with other art organisations, businesses and artists, we want to hear from you.

What do you love about Supersonic / Capsule’s work?
Can we make improvements?
What new collaborations do you think we could make happen?
How could the festival grow and change?

Supersonic operates on mixed sources of income, a combination of ticket sales from our loyal audiences, grant funding from the Arts Council and trusts/foundations, and some support from donors. Fundraising can be time-consuming, highly competitive and bit unpredictable, however it would be very difficult (if impossible) to produce work with the Supersonic level of ambition on ticket sales alone, so grant funding will remain an important part of our income. Capsule is a not-for-profit enterprise, which relies on your support, so we are extremely grateful to our audiences, artists and funders.

To ensure that the next Supersonic is the most adventurous and exciting yet, we will use 2016 to recharge the batteries and do things differently. Capsule’s Artistic Director Lisa Meyer is already laying the groundwork for Supersonic Festival 2017, and there’ll be other Capsule activity in 2016, so keep your eyes peeled.

Thank you so much, and we look forward to more exciting music, art, performance (and cake) very soon.

Lisa Meyer, Creative Director


5 Responses to “Supersonic news”

  1. Darren Millburn /

    I think what sums up Supersonic nicely is unlike most festivals where I’m usually scanning the line-up for acts I like and am looking forward to, for me Supersonic has always been as much about the names I’m not familiar with on the line-up equally as it is the ones I know already. Many of the acts that have left the biggest impression on me over the years we’ve been going have been those that I was completely unaware of before seeing them at Supersonic (a good example of that being Hype Williams in 2012). In the early days that meant preparing by checking the acts I didn’t know out on the internet before I went but in recent years I’ve preferred to go in ‘blind’ without doing too much research, as you can guarantee that every year there’s at least one unexpected performance that Supersonic will introduce you to that will take you completely by surprise.

    In terms of improvements I’m genuinely struggling to think of much that could be done to make it better as I think most of the little niggles (like the long queues on the Friday which sometimes led to us missing the first act etc) have been ironed out now, and as much as the Custard Factory always felt like home to the festival the new venue last year worked equally as well. Supersonic has always delivered on the production with the sound on all the stages being spot on every time (which can’t be easy when you are switching from shouty guitar led stuff to internal organ vibrating bass from The Bug), and I’m sure that won’t change. I’ve always enjoyed the stuff shown in the theatre, and if nothing else it was often nice to get a break from the cold and a sit down for a few minutes, so an expanded cinema programme would be nice.

    I’ve love to see some more collaborations with labels, maybe another late-night room takeover with some weird dance nonsense like the Wrong Music one in 2006, which was a massive highlight for me and was partially responsible for me getting obsessed by a whole genre of music for a while (and Twocsinak in The Kitchen remains one of my favourite Supersonic performances of the last decade).

    As for how it can grow and expand, just more of the same please – although I wouldn’t want it to grow too much as I sure others of a similar age can relate to the onset of “supersonic legs” by around lunchtime on Sunday after standing up the whole weekend.

  2. “What do you love about Supersonic / Capsule’s work?”

    Fantastic range of musical genres, experimental/extreme, unafraid to
    take risks with choice of bands/acts in many different ways, yet what
    could potentially be a harsh and unforgiving experience, concert-wise,
    tends to be good-natured, friendly and inspiring. Also, with Supersonic
    specifically the opportunity for audience participation (eg the mobile
    orchestra walking tour, the various workshops) and a well-managed,
    well-thought out experience in terms of venues, music, stalls and so on.

    “Can we make improvements?”

    Of course! I’m struggling to think of specifics, since the positives
    have always held the balance, but venue choice can often be a factor. I
    really enjoyed last year’s Supersonic but I think the combination of
    venues, in terms of layout and how they were linked, made for a slightly
    less cohesive experience overall. That’s a relatively minor point, and
    secondary to the programme content itself though.

    “What new collaborations do you think we could make happen?”

    I’m not sure I’d know where to start. I tend to welcome the line-ups
    where I know relatively few of the acts, since that opens me up to new
    stuff, and I have less fixed expectations about what I’m going to see.

    “How could the festival grow and change?”

    I personally would prefer the things I mentioned in the first question
    to remain fairly constant. I’ve enjoyed the change in scale, over the
    last couple of Supersonics, but can imagine all sorts of curatorial
    possibilities depending on use of other locations/venues.

  3. There may well be 1000 festivals a year but not one as inventive and directional as Supersonic, the creative curating is just awesome and a constant surprise, although we loved Supersonic at The Custard factory, it worked fantastically at the new venue too…the production and sound quality of all the spaces is the best I have heard at a festival, its obvious you really care , and that’s reflected in the friendly bunch of staff and volunteers that we see every year. There is a big Supersonic shaped gap in our calender this year, but we will be there with bells on in 2017!!!

  4. Karen Kavanagh /

    You have got to love your Supersonic! What I love about it is that you always come away with a handful of new bands to mull over and investigate further. This is because Supersonic are not afraid to provide an eclectic mix of fresh and experimental sounds from various musical genres. The choice of venues have always been spot on, the sound quality is perfect and it feels well managed and produced. Away from the main arenas , Supersonic offers varied workshops, merch stalls, yummy food, loads of beers choices (and cocktails!); there is even a gig for the kids, which is a nice touch.
    The only idea for improvement would be to keep it in the Spring/Summer months – so there is more chance of sun (yeah, right?!) to mill around outside. If you can promise some sun, maybe more seating outside (and in) to prevent “Supersonic legs” (to quote Darren M).
    Just keep on doing what you do best….it’ll be sadly missed this year BUT even more appreciated next year!!! x

  5. I second the mention of more late-night takeovers and shenanigans- it definitely felt like things ended a bit too early and taking things into a more electronic/ darker/ dancier/ heavier vein later on would have been great. Even despite my growing age! The later start times this year definitely allowed time for a post-party lie-in too anyway! Either starting earlier (but ending at the same time) or ending later (but starting at the same time) would be cool.

    Looking back, the early lineups with collaborations with the “House Of God” etc. are amazing and really added something extra for late night revellers and a change from straight up “guitar music”! Having multiple stages with a choice of bands, and then a choice of amazing DJs as on top of this was great, and a real change from other festivals where there are swathes of down time while you wait for the next band you want to see come on. Last year’s festival was great, but there definitely felt like there were pockets of “down-time” like this.

    The talks were a really welcome addition to break up the day this time- The John Doran one in particular was excellent! Having more of this would be great- a full lineup of talks/ exhibitions/ films all day/ evening on a seperate stage (or a stage for talks and films each!) would be really welcome to give some breathing room for people over-indulged on music or just wanting to expand their horizons.