Bucking Trends, the Milwaukee Noise Festival Expands
“With the acts that we booked this year, we needed some extra space because the Borg Ward wasn’t going to be big enough,” festival organizer Peter J. Woods says of the venue change. “This will be the eighth year that I’ve either ran or helped organize the festival, and it was beginning to feel like we were putting on the same festival each year, so it was about time for a change. Five years of the same thing is a lot. And with other noise fests around the country dying out, this felt like the right time for us to try to make ours into something bigger.”
For the first time this year, the three-day festival will also have a film component. Filmmakers Leo Brochu and Grace Smith made a documentary about last year’s Milwaukee Noise Fest, Milwaukee Noise 2012, which will screen on Friday, Aug. 23 at the Borg Ward at noon. The next day, GX Jupitter-Larsen of The Haters will screen his latest movie, A Noisy Delivery, at the Borg Ward at 12:30 p.m. Both screenings are free for anybody attending the festival.
Though the festival has expanded this year, the fundamental feel of the event hasn’t changed. Each night’s bill features eight performers, some of which will be obscure to even the most dedicated noise aficionados (among the acts: Fake Blood Universe, Nummy, Urth and Anal Hearse). The idea, Woods says, is to head into the festival with an open mind.
“If you’re new to this music, just come and check out what’s happening,” he says. “Part of what I do as the curator of the festival is just try to make sure that all different genres are represented, so on any given night it’s not just aggressive stuff, or droney stuff or free jazz stuff. It’s going to be a mixture, so no matter which night you pop in, there’s going to be a mix of different stuff to experience. Just come in with open ears, and bring ear plugs.”
The Milwaukee Noise Festival runs nightly at 7 p.m. at the Miramar Theatre from Thursday Aug. 22 to Saturday, Aug. 24. Tickets are $16 per night, or $41 for all three days. For more information, visit experimentalmilwaukee.com.