“Supernormal is much more than a music festival with some art on the side,” says Sam Francis, one of the curators of this year’s festival. “Primarily arts-focused and independent, the boundaries of art and music are removed with an uncompromising and diverse programme and inclusive nature.”
Taking place this weekend at Braziers Park in rural Oxfordshire, Supernormal is intentionally small in scale – the focus is firmly on creativity, with ideas and the imagination valued over commercialism and profit.
“We only ever set out to cover costs, opposing the idea of festivals as a financial endeavour,” Francis says. “Our focus is on presenting an appealing and progressive programme for an audience wishing to experience something outside of the mainstream. Supernormal is first and foremost a platform for experimentation and an opportunity for artists to show work to a different audience in a different setting.”
The festival evolved from artist-led roots, a development of the Braziers International Artists Workshop collective and annual residency programme that ran between 1995-2010.
The eclectic range of visual arts in the programme includes everything from performance and installation to workshops and activities – there’s even a group landscape painting session organised by Brooklyn-based artist Brenda Zlamany.
Blurring the gender gap
The strand curated by Francis – Women, Art & Sound – focuses on contemporary female artists working within visual arts and sound.
“We often use the phrase ‘blurring the boundaries between art and music’ when talking about Supernormal, which led me to explore the separation that often seems to exist between these creative practices. In relation to gender, the unbalanced ratio that exists between male and female artists, particularly in music across the board, is hugely apparent and present in previous Supernormal music programmes.”
Francis says that her aim was to create a programme of visual arts and sound practices that better reflects the work of female artists. “With the considerable increase in sound arts appearing in more traditional art spaces and within the wider contemporary art scene in recent years… there are a considerable number of female artists working within the field.”
Supernormal, Braziers Park, Oxfordshire, 9‐11 August.