Sound River System

Sound River System is a European cooperative project involving various participants in the music sector, labels, venues and support structures, revolving around the organisation of a tour of creative residencies, crossed and mobile, between German, Belgian, French and Dutch artists, punctuated by several stopover concerts throughout those cross-border countries. This cooperation aims at bringing together and initiating future partnerships between the different participants in and out of their borders, in an original and visible way, to encourage the circulation of artists, while confronting them to other approaches of their work and to actively invest territories lacking concert venues in order to target wider audiences.

Those mobile residencies will take place aboard the Urban Boat barge, which provides a rehearsal room, cabins, and most importantly, an entirely autonomous outside stage, fitted with solar energy.
At each stopover, the goal will be to get musicians from different countries on board, at each step of the procession, who will work together on new compositions to play at the next stopover.

Working together on a tour across France, Belgium and south Germany, with parties from each country will not only strengthen the relationship between them, but also to put light on a unifying, federative project at the European scale.
It will also be an opportunity to involve indirect territorial partners in the position of welcoming the project and participating in its co-financing (premises, associations, public authorities…)
Furthermore, the energetic autonomy of the boat and its “fully-equipped” concept (stage, bar, dressing rooms, catering and accommodation) also offer technical simplicity and a reduction of costs of production.

The involved partners who will combine their expertise side by side with Urban Boat for the development of this tour are:

Urban Spree (concert venue, Berlin, Germany)
Milk Me (label, Berlin, Germany)
The BIC (structure devoted to the development and support of emerging artists, Lille, France)
LaVallée (cross-disciplinary venue, Brussels, Belgium)

Although the project is still young in France, Urban Boat was born after its team spent 11 years in Berlin, especially at Urban Spree. Since its beginning in 2018, Urban Boat has always built projects based on partnerships, notably thanks to its ability to roam throughout territories.

Urban Boat has already put together a similar project at a regional scale, and is thus qualified to coordinate such a network.
“Les Traversées” (“The Crossings”), a tour/creative residency which took place in July 2022 across the Hauts de France region (France) has gathered 22 musicians and joined together more than 14 indirect partners. Artistic collaborations started from those encounters, and a 2nd edition is already under preparation for 2023.

Sound River System would then be the logical continuation of those regional “Crossings”, an expansion of the project at a European scale.

While working with other musicians, those crossed residencies aim at disrupting the artists’ working habits and let them explore uncharted territories, create innovative and unexpected artistic encounters, project themselves out of their comfort zones and experiment a different approach of their performance and creative process.
The structure of this residency and the slowness of a barge travel will offer them an original set up, enhancing creativity and human experimentation.
Those encounters can generate future collaborations, or simply help musicians further their personal artistic journey.
Recordings and radio broadcasts (Milk Me Radio) will leave a mark of those achievements.

As for the tool for producing and carrying out the project, an autonomous itinerant space for creation and diffusion, it offers the parties and the audiences an original aspect, the possibility of putting together a performance place from scratch in just a couple hours.

By working within the public space, the form of the project tends towards technical, logistical and financial simplicity, thus multiplying possibilities for partnerships.

Future editions following this prototype tour could cover new territories and encourage the encounter of new partners or maintain long-term relationships between the existing partners.

Above all, the central point is the cooperation at different levels of involvement of various partners from those neighbouring countries that will give momentum for future cross-borders collaborations.