Passion has practical side, say Noise! fest organizers


Noise! Festival featuring Xome, griefer, CTSL, Worker and more

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When: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. (doors at 7)

Where: Open Space (510 Fort St.)

Tickets: $15 (weekend pass) at Ditch Records and Talk's Cheap

More information:

The annual Noise! Festival has paid for itself two years running, a considerable accomplishment given a foundation that is built upon "atonal skronk" and "outsider freakout" music.

That the annual event is celebrating its 10th year of ear-piercing noise-making this weekend is a testament to all involved, from the the audience to the performers on stage. "Part of how we're able to do this is that so many of the performers are stoked to be here," said festival codirector Eric Gallipo.

"The performers are the audience as well."

The underground festival eked out of the loss column for the first time in 2010, eight years after its inaugural run.

The small profit was a boon to Gallipo and his coconspirator Ron Brogden, friends who were the festival's shepherds during its lean years. The pair ingested losses when necessary and worked overtime in order to bring the festival back each year for another edition.

Now, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, Gallipo is proud to say the commitment paid off. "It's still a lot of time for the two of us, and it's a financial risk. We usually barely squeak by, but Ron and I and the other people who are involved are passionate about it."

Passionate, indeed.

Neither of the Noise! Festival directors get rich from producing the event, nor do they get famous. That, of course, isn't their intention. But their dedication to the genre of noise, a genre that does not adhere to popular songwriting elements such as rhythm or melody, does comes from a natural place.

Gallipo's own project, CSTL, is scheduled to appear at the festival on Saturday while Brogden's griefer plays Friday.

They are but two of the more than 30 acts from North America slated to appear, including ones from as far away as California and Illinois. Among the highlights is Sacramento "harsh noise" act Xome, Vancouver artist Worker (who plays scrap metal as an instrument) and Edmonton's Skrunt Skrunt, which creates software-generated music set to images of classic video games.

There's something for everyone at the festival, according to Gallipo.

"Just about anybody could come down to this. Even though it's loud, it's really interesting. It's pure. There's very little ego. With noise, everyone has their own original take on it."

Gallipo and Brogden were in Oregon last week for Portland's noise festival, one of the few of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Along with similar events in Eugene and Sacramento, the Victoria festival is regarded as one of a shrinking number of annual events centred on the noise genre.

Prominent noise festivals in New York and Seattle were scrapped recently, Gallipo said, which ups the pressure on his Victoria to perform. He's up the for the challenge.

"We're incredibly consistent. There's never off nights," he said.

"It's like we're giving back to that community we're a part of."

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