Supersonic Commission: British Library Sounds



Open call for British Library Sounds Commission

To be premiered at the Supersonic Festival

Deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 27 March 2015

Commission dates: April – June 2015


Supersonic Festival, Birmingham, June 11 – 14 2015


Supersonic Festival are delighted to be partnering with the British Library to offer an opportunity for an artist to develop a new work as part of the festival programme in June 2015. The successful artist will have the opportunity to work with selected material and their associated documentation in the Library’s archive to create a new work culminating in a performance or an installation at the festival, as well as being archived within the British Library’s sound collection.


This commission will be presented at the Supersonic Festival, 11 – 14 June, the UK’s premier experimental music and arts festival. Its international reputation and multidisciplinary programme draws audience, artists and industry professionals from across the globe ensuring a great showcase for this new work. For more information on the festival visit


The British Library is home to the nation’s sound archive, an extraordinary collection of over 6.5 million recordings of speech, music, wildlife and the environment, from the 1880s to the present day. It has recently launched the Save our Sounds programme which is a major digitisation project to preserve the nation’s sound heritage


For this commission, selection of wildlife and environmental recordings from the collection will be made available and will include, among other things, the songs & calls of British birds, the soundscapes of natural habitats such as woodland, marshland and the British coastline, and a range of environmental recordings covering weather, waves, streams, rivers and more. Additonal content from other curatorial areas may also be available, subject to availability and rights clearance
More information on the collections can be found at


The selected applicant will receive a £750 fee for the development and performance of the commission. They will receive mentoring from the Supersonic team and an introduction to the collections from the British Library’s Curator, Wildlife and Environmental Sounds.


How to Apply:

To apply please send a proposal that includes all of the following:

Your name, contact details and website address.

A short statement explaining why you want to undertake the commission and what you hope to gain by working in this context (300 words max). Also tell us about two pieces of recent work that you are most proud of (200 words max) please save these documents together as a PDF or .doc file.

Evidence of your current work in the following form:

2 x links to your work uploaded to Soundcloud or You Tube/Vimeo.

Please send to [email protected] with ‘BL_SS commission’ in the title
Email attachments must not be larger than 5MB. Application is by email only.

Deadline for applications: 27 March 2015


We need you!


“I volunteered at Supersonic as it seemed a great way to meet people & see plenty of the bands on the roster.

I had a cracking time working with the other volunteers, and meeting some lovely people (Michael Rother was a treat). Plus, Capsule really deserves our help as they consistently puts on some of the best live shows around.”
Ben Martin – volunteer 2010


Capsule’s internationally renowned festival runs 21-23 October 2011 and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved as a volunteer.

We need a dedicated team of volunteers to help deliver Supersonic over the festival weekend (21-23 October) and also in the run up to the festival (early October onwards).

The festival is small enough for everyone involved as a volunteer to gain an overview of how the festival works, and to give real input and value. We expect a minimum of 12 hours over the festival period in exchange for a weekend wristband.

In addition to festival volunteers, we are also seeking a small team of professional quality photographers to help us document the festival.


If you are interested in volunteering for Supersonic Festival, please click here to download the application form.

Completed application forms should be emailed to volunteer[at] before Friday 23 September 2011. Please mark in the subject line of the email VOLUNTEER or PHOTOGRAPHER.

The first volunteer meeting will take place on Monday 26 September, 7pm where you will be able to find out more about the festival and meet the team.

NB/ unfortunately we can only consider applicants who are 18 years old and over.




Opportunity to be in a film


Photo by James Robinson crowd Supersonic 09


EPIC, a new short film is the first music documentary to turn the cameras away from the performers, focusing purely on the people who are the very reason for their existence… the audience. It will celebrate the live music experience as a rite of passage, a bonding experience, an obsession, a job, a trip down memory lane and in some cases… a near-religious experience.

Epic is a one-off production for Film Four and may be filming at Supersonic Festival. The film – a homage to the live music experience – offers gig-goers a chance to have their perfect gig experience immortalised on film. The film will premiere at a red carpet screening at Abbey Road Studios.

The production team are putting out a call to anyone going to Supersonic Festival 2010 who would like to be in the film. They are particularly interested in hearing from anybody…

Who has never seen any live music before – aka first time gig-goers

Who is seeing their all-time favourite artist

Who is a friend of the band and has Access All Areas

Whose job it is to review or photograph the gig

Working at a the venue – as security, on the bar etc.

Working for an artist – as a roadie or another member of their entourage

Anyone interested in being involved with the film should email [email protected]

or Tweet us @Epicthefilm