About this project
“defies classification” (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
“This quirky show promises music that’s anything but vanilla. This music will move you, surprise you, and satisfy a wide range of musical tastes.” (San Francisco Classical Voice)
Since it's beginning in 2006, the Switchboard Music Festival has emerged as the Bay Area's premiere showcase for unique music that challenges and transcends traditional genre distinctions. Every spring, Switchboard presents a non-stop marathon of music showcasing innovative, eclectic music that is otherwise underrepresented in concerts and venues around the city.
Now entering its sixth year, Switchboard has successfully fostered a thriving music community in the Bay Area and beyond, introducing both audiences and artists to diverse new sounds and ideas. The festival has become a vehicle for performers, composers, bands, ensembles, innovators, and improvisers to present music that draws freely from classical, rock, free improvisation, traditional ethnic and world musics, jazz, klezmer, punk, heavy metal, and much more. The Brava Theater in the Mission District, noted for its impressive sound system, provides the perfect venue for everyone to discover new, local sounds in a casual setting.
Each year, the Festival presents an incredibly diverse lineup of artists and a mix of emerging, established, large and small ensembles. Commissioning and premiering is also central to Switchboard’s mission, with premieres taking place every year. Recent headliners include Carla Kihlstedt’s Causing a Tiger, Zoe Keating, Birds and Batteries, Faun Fables, Billygoat, and local favorites Real Vocal String Quartet, Pamela Z, Paul Dresher, and Amy X Neuburg.
“The common gripe against classical music is that it’s stuffy, outdated, pretentious – with performers dressed as if for a funeral. Conversely, the gripe against a lot of rock and popular music is that it’s rather simplistic, with musical decisions dictated more by marketability and commercialism than by in-depth, honest art...[the] Switchboard Festival shattered those stereotypes.” (San Francisco Classical Voice)
Risks and challenges
Presenting an 8-hour, non-stop marathon of innovative music requires months of planning, fundraising, marketing, and more emails than there are fish in the sea. Every year we risk cancellations, budget shortfalls, injuries, and low turnout.
However, six years of experience—including five 8-hour festivals and dozens of smaller events—have taught us plenty about being prepared for anything, and the value of planning well in advance. And our hard work continues to pay off. Every year our attendance and community profile has grown tremendously, such that we had outgrown our first venue by our third festival. We continue to discover and promote exceptional music from the Bay Area and beyond, and have inspired others to do the same.
But we can't do it without supporters like you. Your donation helps us ensure that Switchboard can continue to showcase and support these unique artists in a professional venue and with all the marketing forces we can muster. Our greatest risk is a step backwards, which we have never had to do yet, and, with your help, never will.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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