HearSay Festival – A week-end of sound in Ireland

Back in November I went to the HearSay Festival. It was three days and nights of sound, story and sharing taking place in the village of Kilfinane in Co. Limerick in Ireland. The village only has a population of 700 people and a bus line going to it twice a day. But still hundreds of people from 85 countries managed to gather in this Irish village in sweaters, coats, gloves, scarves, and hats to join the festival. I was one of those people.

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The HearSay Festival is a place for radio producers, sound artists, theatre makers, game sound designers, film sound editors, musicians, field recordists, audio story makers, and anyone else who has anything to do with sound. Such a wide-ranging program appealed to me by its diversity. I felt I could be welcomed there and have the perfect opportunity to explore the world of sounds and its many outlets.

And I was not disappointed. As the festival went on, I made my way from talks to installations, from local shops to pubs and learned. Although the majority of talks where from people from radio and podcasting, I never felt they were not addressing me. We were all audio makers in some shape or form, feeding off each other love of the medium and applying lessons from one area to another.

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But the HearSay Festival is more than that. It is also about Kilfinane and its people. When hundreds of people invade a small village in Ireland, accommodation quickly become scarce and restaurants booked up. But not in this place. People opened their doors to perfect strangers, hosting visitors in their home. I was one of the people lodged at a home stay with five other audio minded people. We were made at home by Birdie – our host – from the moment she picked us up one by one in the village to the moment she dropped us back for the last day. She went out of her way to make us welcome, inviting us into her home, cooking us breakfast, and ferrying us to and fro every now and again. Once in the village, the pubs became hubs of audio conversations where everyone was invited to take part. Residents smiled and engaged with everyone, giving their time to guide us from venue to venue, opening the doors of their living room for some talks, and generally going out of their way to make the festival a success and create indelible memories from everyone’s mind.

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I was so busy enjoying myself that I ended up not using my recorder many times. I captured a few moments in the first two days but made most of my recordings on the last day. There wasn’t much but I really wanted to create a soundscape of my time there and what the HearSay Festival felt and sounded like to me. Before you listen bear in mind that most recordings have been done very spontaneously and without audio monitoring so it’s not perfect.

The voice talking is Sam Greenspan and you heard excerpt from his talk “Deconsecration”: a radio sermon. You also heard excerpt of Collision: Trio for Piano and Voice printed to Vinyl Disc cut at 45 RPM by Jimmy Eadie. Many other sounds have found their way into the soundscape but I’ll let you figure them out by yourself.

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