Video still the music star
Simon ParkinFrom Michael Jackson's Thriller, the music video has come a long way and now technology has put it into the reach of the most humble local band. Norwich Music Video Festival aims to highlight some of the best - and worst. SIMON PARKIN reports.Simon Parkin
From Michael Jackson's Thriller, the music video has come a long way and now technology has put it into the reach of even the most humble local band. And Norfolk Music Video Festival aims to highlight some of the best - and worst. SIMON PARKIN reports.
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Music videos have come a long way since Video Killed The Radio Star by novelty popsters Buggles became the first song ever played on MTV in 1981.
From multi-award winning extravaganzas like Sledgehammer - which saw Peter Gabriel lying stock-still under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while plasticine modellers got to work - to simple but hugely effective videos like that for Johnny Cash's Hurt, it's an art form that has spawned a whole industry.
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And where once the video was only possible for high profile acts whose record labels were willing to stump up the substantial budget required, the advent of cheap cameras, home editing technology and a ready outlet on the likes of YouTube and Myspace mean it is now in the hands of any band.
Arguably the only barrier stopping any band from producing a memorable video - from established artists to the most humble local act - is there own imagination.
That's the message that will be heard loud and proud at this year's BBC Norfolk Music Video Festival, which aims to enthuse both artists and the general public. It is an opportunity for film-makers and musicians will get their work seen and heard by thousands of people.
The festival proper will run from June 28 to July 10, but it kicks-off next week with the first events in what promises to be even bigger and better than last year's event.
Adam Buxton, BBC 6Music presenter and Norfolk resident, will be presenting a special edition of his Bug events, which mix the latest music videos with comedy, and Norwich band The Lost Levels will play an intimate gig.
There will also be a master class by the founder of the Radar Music Videos website, workshops for media students and a string of acoustic library gigs.
BBC Norfolk Introducing producer Gary Standley, who is putting together the event, said: 'We're incredibly lucky to get someone like Adam Buxton on board - his Bug shows at London's BFI Southbank normally sell out of all 700 tickets so to have him write a one-off feature is a coup.
'We're also delighted that The Lost Levels will be performing for us - they're a talented band and took part in last year's festival when it was only open to local acts.'
This year the festival has opened its doors to acts from across the UK for the first time. Last year, it focussed on the best new music and videos from the Norfolk band scene alone.
'The submissions last year were so fantastic, and from such a small area of the country,' said Gary. 'The aim this time has been to get as many up-and-coming acts as possible on the big screen, covering all areas and genres.
'There is so much great new music being made in the UK and some outstanding videos to support them. The truth is, however, many of the best acts and best videos go unseen and unheard. The festival will display the talents of both film-makers and musicians.'
Submitted films will be shown in the 'Video Vault' in high definition on what is Europe's biggest permanent digital screen at Fusion, inside The Forum.
'Norwich boasts one of the best new music scenes in the country and the largest digital display screen in Europe, so it's no surprise that it has become the natural home for an event now drawing interest from all around the country,' added Gary.
As well as watching submitted videos, this year's event also offers the chance to try your hand and learn about the industry from the professionals.
Caroline Bottomley, who launched the respected Radar Music Videos website, will give a talk on the commissioning and promotion of videos on July 8.
BBC Norfolk Introducing, who goes out on BBC Radio Norfolk, between 7-8pm each Friday, will be hosting three free acoustic gigs in the Millennium Library on June 30 and July 2 and 8.
And those interested in or studying media can also see how not to do it with staff from BBC Voices, who have clocked up the hours trawling the best and worst videos in preparation for the festival.
Ryan Stone, creative director of Norwich-based Lambda Films, which submitted videos to last year's festival, and whose video for the Kabeedies single Jitterbug has won them acclaim, said: 'As well as supporting the local music industry, it allows us to experiment and get a little more creative with our productions - everyone benefits!
"We're really proud to be part of the BBC Norfolk Music Video Festival and to see so many people actively enjoying our videos."
t The festival runs from June 28 to July 10, Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm, at Fusion in the Forum, Norwich. Free admission.
t June 16 - Adam Buxton's Bug, 8pm, �14, 01603 630000.
t June 19 - The Lost Levels with support from ex-Gene frontman Martin Rossiter's new band Call Me Jolene in The Curve, Forum, �8, 01603 805050.
t June 30 - Want To Make a Bad Video? Workshop for students at 10.30am-2.30pm. Sessions are free but reserve places on 01603 617411.
t July 8 - Caroline Bottomley, from Radar Music Videos, hosts a video masterclass, 3.30-5.30pm, free admission but spaces limited. Book on 01603 617411.
t Acoustic sessions at the Millennium Library, June 30, 12-1pm; July 2, 7-8pm, to be broadcast live on BBC Norfolk Introducing. Also July 8, 5.30-6.30pm. Free admission.