Music festival a Spring success

Composer and bandleader Sid Peacock bought his ever-expanding Surge Orchestra to the Birmingham mac on Saturday 8 April, for a new annual festival celebrating West Midlands' musical and cultural heritage. The event, Surge in Spring, is the start of a new festival concept entitled Grow Your Own, a partnership between Surge, Birmingham City University and mac.

Sid, Surge's curator, already had plans to bring together the friends, musical styles and Birmingham innovators that have meant so much to him and the community's heritage. Surge in Spring featured contributions from the Gospel Revisited Project, as well as free jazz improv from guest musicians from as far as New York. Former Birmingham Conservatoire composition teacher John Mayer was also honoured through the revival of his groundbreaking band Indo-Jazz Fusions, while there were also performances from current Conservatoire students, accordion players, harpists and kora music.

"I tried to find a good mix," Sid said. "Contemporary music can be so much more diverse, and can have so much variety to it when it is freshened up by bringing in different influences and different stories."

Grow Your Own is an initiative of the Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals research project, better known as CHIME. It involves academics and cultural organisations from the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands, and focuses on cultural identity, sustainable urban development, community practice and a collective understanding of heritage.

Want to know more about SURGE?

Click on the blue button to find out information on Sid Peacock's Surge Orchestra, the SURGE initiative, and more information on upcoming festivals and appearances.