International Audio Arts Festival
29th September - 1st October 2017
HearSay started with a conversation over tea in the kitchen of Grey Heron Media.
For seven years we've been making award winning audio - radio features, commissioned audio, installations, in Ireland and beyond. Our small team works in a very colloborative manner, supporting, inspiring and learning from each other at our base in the beautiful village of Kilfinane in Co. Limerick, Ireland.
In recent years we've been continually excited by, and sharing with each other, the work of sound artists, other radio makers and audio producers that we have been coming across - online, in performance, on our radios and in our favourite podcasts. Over cups of tea we've been having enthusiastic conversations about the new audio possiblities we're discovering, how it informed our creative work, but we wanted more - we wanted to engage with the people & concepts, behind these sounds and ideas, we wanted to open ourselves to experience audio in new ways.
We looked around for the place where we could meet all these various makers working in disparate fields - radio producers, sound artists, theatre makers, game sound designers, film sound editors, musicians, field recordists, audio story makers - that place didn't seem to exist.
We felt an inspiring conversation could be had & we wanted to be in the room when it happened - but how?
Eventually the penny dropped - we'd have to create that space ourselves. And that was where HearSay began.
Over tea in East London (tea played, and continues to play, an important part in HearSay!) with the folks behind In The Dark, who are just as enthusiastic about the possibilities of telling stories through sound as we are, Grey Heron Media and In The Dark created a partnership to lead HearSay. Grey Heron Media and In The Dark have also teamed up with local partners Ballyhoura Development, Friar's Gate Arts Centre and Kilfinane Community Council.
Together, we created, for the first time in the UK and Ireland, a shared space for audio creators working in different fields to meet and interact with each other and with audiences, in an exciting atmosphere of innovation, inspiration and collaboration.
Where better to host this festival than the village of Kilfinane itself?
It took us a while to work it out - we knew we didn't want HearSay to be in a city centre conference venue or a suburban hotel - we didn't want people to walk out of an exhiliratingly inspirational event and step onto a street of shoppers and to feel the excitment drain away.
Instead Kilfinane offered a unique opportunity to create a totally immersive weekend of sound, The willingness of people to open their doors was its own inspiration to us in planning HearSay. Every corner of the village was dedicated to the HearSay festival from the parish priest's spectacular front parlour to the village barber shop, from local people's kitchens to a converted church.
Creative Audio - at the heart of village life for three days in November.
For participants and contributors arriving from the four corners of Ireland and the world, HearSay 2014 was a uniquely immersive and memorable experience - the "woodstock for audio" as Rikke Houd put it. Its that spirit which will come alive again this November.
Kilfinane became a hub for all kinds of people, passionate about audio, from all over the world, who came to share their enthusiasm, their conversations and their sounds for the weekend.
There are no VIP areas at HearSay, no tickets or walls. All participants and contributors, locals & visitors, come together in an atmosphere of celebration and collaboration - sharing stories and inspiration at events, bumping into each other on the street and catching up over a pint in the local pub by night.
HearSay brings creators and listeners together to celebrate and explore creative audio.
HearSay is a festival of the local community. The people of Kilfinane and the surrounding area are enthusiastic participants in the festival as well and they throw their weight behind the festival, collecting contributors from airports, giving local lifts, volunteering to make tea & sandwiches, stewarding and supervising venues, providing accommodation for our contributors and giving themselves over to the idea of the Audio Village.
Several of the events that we plan are designed to engage an audience not already familiar with the exciting world of the audio arts. This distinctive aspect of the festival, is a spur for fruitful conversations around how and what we listen to and why.
2015 promises to be even more incredible than 2014. See you in November in Kilfinane!
As we programmed the festival, our plans were shaped by that initial idea we had - create a space where a conversation can take place between those who work across all the various audio arts.
What happens when you drop a radio features producer, sound artist, a theatre maker and a game sound designer into the same room and ask them to explore creativity through sound? Where people are asked to break out of their own disciplines to explore the audio adventures of others, what discoveries can be made? What creativity can happen over the dynamic sharing of jaw-dropping audio in astonishing places? What ideas and collaborations can be fostered over a chat at the village square, a pint in the pub or the sharing of song & story - when everyone in the village is there to celebrate and be inspired by creative audio?
We sought out as contributors a rich range of practitioners from all corners of the sound world and literally from all over the physical world. The only criteria was that each contributor should be excelling in and pushing the boundaries of their own field and open to creative colloboration and engagement in a mountain village! Virtually everyone we approached got excited and said yes.
Contributions were playful and serious, and experimental and intimate as our contributors through themselves into the HearSay spirit and the Kilfinane Community. The first wave of our 2015 contributors have now been announced.
In advance of the inaugural HearSay festival we wanted to get people thinking about the possibilities offered by HearSay's spirit of exploration and inspiration.
We launched the HearSay Prize. We wanted people to push the boundaries with their work - to take on the festival's principals of creativity and collaboration & we were excited with the results. The HearSay Audio Prize 2014 Awards were presented as part of the HearSay Audio Arts Festival in November 2014
Each of the 6 award winners was presented with their award by the chairperson of the jury, Diarmuid McIntyre, in the atmospheric surrounds of Kilfinane's restored old church.
The following night a HearSay Prize Showcase was held in the church, during which festival goers had an opportunity to listen to each piece, while, jury members, Connor Walsh and Cristin Leach Hughes explored the stories behind the winning entries with their producers.