by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog founder
Germany loves rules and regulations. That’s how we build these machines and cars that the rest of the world still pays lots of money for. So it’s been long overdue to write a listicle listing the rules that you should follow to fully and very efficiently enjoy the first highlight of the year, London A Cappella Festival, which happens to take place this weekend at King’s Place.
Rule 1: Be there. True, there is a growing number of vocal music festivals in Europe and all over the world. But London A Cappella has grown into a real gem. No better place and time to hear the best international and UK vocal groups and meet a cappella fans, movers and shakers from all over the world. People to meet: Jessica Hill (Ikon Arts), Costa Peristianis (Ikon Arts), Clare Girard (The Swingles), Oliver Griffiths (The Swingles), Alex Godfree (Voice Festival UK), Tobias Hug (Everybody Needs A Hug).
Rule 2: Talk to people. Actually the easiest thing in the world. Everybody in the vocal music community is more than happy to share his personal musical experience with you. You can learn so much about vocal music in countries from Finland to France, from Italy to the UK, from Singapore to Canada. People to meet: Henry Southern (The Sons of Pitches, UK), Hans Cassa (Montezuma, NED), Danny Ozment (Emerald City Productions, USA), David Longo (Sled Dog Music Group, USA)
Rule 3: Get involved (1). This festival is not only about the “stars” of the scene being admired by a stunned audience. It’s about everybody being involved in the festival buzz. So if you yourself want to perform, become a member of the incredible “Single Singers” project, that offers the opportunity to sing in an instant international choir, that has had performances at several international vocal music events. People to meet: Annemarie Homann (Single Singers co-founder, NED/ITA), Emily May ‘t Hoen (Single Singers co-founder, NED), Hans Cassa (Single Singers, part-time musical director)
Rule 4: Get involved (2). As you might have heard, it’s “all about that bass.”. Well, all (!) the women at LACF have started to adore (and talk about) Club for Five’s Tuukka Happaniemi after their very successful show on Friday night, that’s even more true. But even from the perspective from an envious ex-tenor 1, I have to recommend a group that consists of bass singers only. Founded by The Swingles bass Ed Randell, “Woofer” is delighting the LACF crowds with low-frequency versions of The Bee Gees’ (!!) “How Deep is your Love”, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” (a more obvious choice) and other musical treats slightly below the capacities of the human ear. People to meet: Edward Randell (The Swingles), Kevin Fox (The Swingles), Tuukaa Hapaniemi (Club for Five), special guest Jonathan Howard (The King’s Singers)
Rule 5: Get involved (3) and stay fit. According to a real a cappella fitness luminary, Jonte Ramsten (FORK) “The nerdiest thing one can imagine” is the Vocal Jog. Yes, Jog, i.e. singers or a cappella fans running. I started this out of frustration that I never had a chance to get an impression of the cities I toured to and the lack of time to walk around beautiful places like St. Petersburg, Osaka, Heidelberg or Geneva. So part of this rule is to always bring your running shoes and clothes to every festival you’re visiting. And then move out of your comfort zone and meet for a run even after a great after show party and more festival activities to come. So if you want to be part of that unique (and rather exclusive) community of running a cappella nerds, like the Vocal Jog Facebook page. People to meet: Florian Städtler (Chief Jogging Executive, Head of Pacemaking, GER), Hans Cassa (Vocal Jog veteran, NED), John Buchanan Lau (Vocal Jog veteran, SCO), Liz Swain (singer and choir conductor, UK), Nicholas Girard (husband of Clare Girard, formerly Wheeler ;)
Rule 6: Expect the unexpected. With a line-up that includes classical, children, pop, jazz, rock, barbershop and world music as well as artists, teachers, conductors and attendees from all over the world, opening up and thinking outside your own musical box makes your festival experience richer and fuller. A cappella crowds are famous for not being purist. They love the magic of the human voice and I’ve seen barbershop singers delighted by a dubstep song, pop singers surprised by the variety of jazz harmony and jazz aficionados banging their head to a Singaporean version of an Iron Maiden heavy metal classic. People to meet: Costa Peristianis (Managing Director of Ikon Arts, LACF promoter), Holly Peristiani (Ikon Arts), Jo Eteson (The Swingles, LACF curators), Tobias Hug (Creative Director Vocalmente and LEOsings)
Rule 7: Share your LACF experience. Be it during the festival or in the days and weeks after LACF: Spread the news about the festival, its artists and the community of people who love to sing, listen and create together. So you can either share your pictures, texts, videos or full blog articles via your own social media or via Vocal Blog: We are happy to have you as a guest blogger and give your LACF stories, your group, your vocal music ideas or your music a voice and greater exposure. People to contact: Florian Städtler (Vocal Blog, editor-in-chief, founder), Michel Peters (Acappellazone Shop, Marketing/Sales and Suppliers)
I’m looking forward to your comments on this little LACF guideline – what else do you think we should strictly regulate? Or would you rather have anarchy (in the UK) and elsewhere on Planet A Cappella? Let me know your thoughts!
From King’s Place, London (St. Pancras Room), Yours FSt/Florian
Find more current news and footage of London A Cappella Festival via the following links:
>> Festival website: www.londonacappellafestival.co.uk
>> LACFextra Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/218817361535498/?fref=ts
>> LACF on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonACappellaFestival?fref=ts
>> Vocal Blog Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/VocalBlog
>> Vocal Blog Facebook fanpage: www.facebook.com/VocalBlog
>> Vocal Blog on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VocalBlog