Clearly, we’re all interested in, perhaps even worried about, Artificial Intelligence. A.I. has been everywhere in the news recently. Last month at the annual world symposium of ideas in Davos, Switzerland, government, business and social leaders questioned scientists and entrepreneurs developing A.I. methods and procedures about its long-term effects on humanity, even whether it might lead to decline and social chaos. Politically, A.I. is being blamed for robot calls mimicking leaders’ voices with disruptive, inaccurate messages that sound, but aren’t, authentic during American political campaigns. And right now A.I. apparently needs to take responsibility for indecent images of entertainment figures recently circulated on international social media.

My personal interest is how Artificial Intelligence might play a useful role in the arts, specifically with music and the presentation of music to live audiences…in other words, for a music festival such as Huron Waves. Obviously I’m not alone in my interest, the proof being in the statistics which, I’m told, show that my January eblast about this very topic became one of the most ‘opened’ eblasts Huron Waves has ever distributed, if not the most read of all our 50+ topics.

So allow me, please, this one further opportunity to share with you my most current A.I. activity.  The two further issues I’ll share here have been on my mind as an artistic leader designing programming for his audiences and for the locales in which our particular music festival, Huron Waves, takes place.

In six months, after Huron Waves’ 2024 season has been announced (coming soon!) and presented (June 1-21 in Exeter and Huron County), you can join me in assessing whether we’ve been able to incorporate at least some of these concepts and objectives for our patrons, our attendees and our communities.

My first request:  Suggest ideas for a Canadian spring music festival.
A.I.’s reply:  Sure, here are some ideas for a Canadian spring music festival:

1. Outdoor Wilderness Festival: Host the festival in a scenic outdoor location like a national park or a forested area. Incorporate nature walks, camping options, and eco-friendly initiatives to promote sustainability.

2. Cultural Fusion Festival: Celebrate Canada’s multiculturalism by showcasing a diverse lineup of musicians representing various cultures and genres. Offer food stalls featuring international cuisine, cultural workshops, and art exhibitions.

3. Indigenous Music Celebration: Highlight Indigenous musicians and performers, honoring their rich musical traditions and contributions to Canadian culture. Include storytelling sessions, Indigenous craft markets, and workshops on traditional drumming and dancing.

4. Urban Street Festival: Transform city streets into vibrant music venues with stages set up in parks, squares, and pedestrian-friendly areas. Feature local indie bands, street performers, and DJs, with food trucks, art installations, and interactive activities for attendees.

5. Folk Music Retreat: Create a laid-back, intimate atmosphere for folk music enthusiasts to enjoy acoustic performances in cozy venues like community halls, cafes, and small theaters. Offer songwriting workshops, open mic sessions, and opportunities for attendees to jam together.

6. Springtime Jazz Jam: Host a jazz-focused festival in a picturesque urban setting, with performances in jazz clubs, theaters, and outdoor plazas. Showcase a mix of traditional and contemporary jazz artists, along with fusion acts blending jazz with other genres like funk, soul, and electronic music.

7. Family-Friendly Music Fair: Cater to families with children by organizing a festival with kid-friendly activities, interactive performances, and workshops on music appreciation and instrument making. Include a designated family area with games, crafts, and performances suitable for all ages.

8. Environmental Awareness Concert: Raise awareness about environmental issues by organizing a music festival with a sustainability theme. Feature eco-conscious musicians, workshops on environmental activism, and initiatives like carbon offset programs and recycling stations.

9. Canadian Indie Showcase: Showcase Canada’s vibrant independent music scene by curating a lineup of emerging indie bands and artists from across the country. Offer opportunities for networking and collaboration among musicians, along with panels on topics like DIY music production and marketing.

10. Community Music Festival: Partner with local organizations, schools, and businesses to create a festival that celebrates community spirit through music. Include performances by community choirs, youth orchestras, and amateur musicians, along with activities like group sing-alongs, dance lessons, and talent showcases.

My  second request: What makes a memorable, dynamic music experience?
A.I.’s reply:  A memorable, dynamic music experience often involves a combination of several key elements:

1. Emotional Connection: Music that resonates emotionally tends to stick with people. Whether it’s through powerful lyrics, evocative melodies, or a stirring performance, the ability to evoke emotion is crucial.

2. Engaging Performance: A dynamic performance, whether live or recorded, can greatly enhance the music experience. This includes not just technical skill but also stage presence, energy, and charisma.

3. Surprise and Innovation: Music that breaks boundaries, surprises the listener, or introduces innovative elements can leave a lasting impression. This could be in the form of unexpected chord progressions, unconventional instrumentation, or unique production techniques.

4. Authenticity: Authenticity and sincerity resonate with audiences. Whether it’s an artist’s genuine expression of their emotions or a band’s raw, unfiltered sound, authenticity can make the music feel real and relatable.

5. Interaction and Connection: For live performances, interaction between the artist and the audience can greatly enhance the experience. This might involve crowd interaction, improvised moments, or a sense of intimacy between performer and listener.

6. Visual and Aesthetic Elements: Visual elements such as stage design, lighting, and costumes can complement the music and create a more immersive experience, especially in live settings.

7. Memorable Moments: A truly memorable music experience often includes standout moments that leave a lasting impression, whether it’s a breathtaking guitar solo, a powerful vocal performance, or a climactic build-up in the music.

8. Shared Experience: Experiencing music with others, whether it’s at a concert, festival, or even just listening together with friends, can amplify the emotional impact and create lasting memories.

9. Personal Connection: Music that resonates with individuals on a personal level, perhaps because it reflects their own experiences or emotions, tends to be more memorable and meaningful.

10. Time and Place: Sometimes, the circumstances surrounding a music experience where you heard it, who you were with, what was happening in your life at the time can greatly influence its memorability.

11. Ultimately, a memorable, dynamic music experience is one that leaves a lasting impression, resonates emotionally, and perhaps even changes the way you perceive the world.

And there you have plenty to think about, as do I, not just for the design or attendance of one music festival experience but for the comprehensive way in which any artistic experience makes its mark upon a participant…director, artist, audience, patron, sponsor, funder. It’s hard to overstate that last concept, #11 above, which I’ve highlighted as the conclusion of all the perspectives within these two questions and answers.

Artificial Intelligence thus rests its case.
Till we’re together again…remember that Music Connects Us.

John A. Miller, Artistic Director