The 5th Annual Quiet Music Festival came and went quietly, but not unnoticed. Things grew; audience attendance doubled from 2014, according to photographic memory (see last year’s review linked below), and the stage was much larger while seating appeared to expand as well. More people absorbed every pillow and rug to fill rows of seats out toward the back, with perhaps two hundred people on site at peak. Some of this is the doing of Disjecta, whose performance space has made gradual progress over the years. It holds a sizable crowd while serving other purposes. The sound has improved inside and the courtyard outside is totally chill.
The aesthetic, I assume is developed by Chris Johanson. He curates the program, he is the brainchild. Soft stage lighting keeps it mellow. Floor lamps intermittently glow in a sea of darkness. When I got tired, I shut my eyes and was able to sleep. I liked being able to take a nap during the show. Applause would wake me from reverie but not rudely. As Chris points out at the beginning, the environment is like a theater, where quiet allows the work to shine, where giving your attention is what completes the intent of the presentation. So I wonder if his concept should or could continue to grow. I know that technically, volume can be controlled in giant amphitheaters just as well. I would welcome such a quiet Woodstock. Only time shall tell.
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks (sans drums) performed a stripped down rehearsal kind of set, like they definitely practiced, but this wasn’t their big “Nirvana Unplugged” moment, although they did cover “Come as You Are.” I was one among many fans there who wanted to nestle up with them. Linda Hagood offered her magical presence and I also captured her Saturday afternoon for a podcast interview, to come out soon. I enjoyed the program as a whole, in fact more evenly than I did last year.
At times the stage lighting assumed a deep, monotonous hue of soft red and it’s something fierce for the camera to process. There are challenges in capturing what is so personal and the darkness symbolizes that. This space probably has therapeutic benefits. The cameras used to capture QMF 2015 were the Canon T2i, used by Estevan Munoz, and the Fuji S9450W “FinePix,” used by myself. Estevan was present only on Friday and his dozen or so images are captioned to credit him. Mine are the majority of the images, both days of the festival.