The NorthEast Electro-Music Festival (NEEMFest) promotes interchange, inspiration, and education among experimental-music artists, cultivating new audiences for new music via public performance and educational events.
NEEMFest 2020 is a three-day electronic music festival comprising:
- Performances by more than 40 musicians
- Artist talks and demonstrations
- A “synthesizer petting zoo” where the public can get hands-on experiencewith electronic instruments
One of perhaps half a dozen major festivals for electronic musicians in the United States, NEEM has been in existence for more than 15 years. Originally held in the Philadelphia area, and later in the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania tri-state area, NEEM moved to the Center for the Arts of Homer in 2017.
The majority of the performers come from the Northeast (with an increasing tilt toward Upstate New York, which is particularly rich in electronic artists), but some come from all over the country and abroad. Performers use electronic instruments, or electronic enhancements of more familiar instruments — one of us performs on something called a “Cellotaurus” (an enhanced cello), one of us uses an industrial fan to create bass drones, and several perform on electronic wind instruments — but the majority use synthesizers of various kinds, or their digital equivalents running on iPads or even Nintendo game consoles.
Musical styles and genres are surprisingly diverse — ranging from modern classical music to smooth jazz to progressive rock to unusual and provocative forms. All performances are accompanied by projected visualizations, elaborate visual constructions artistically linked to the music, and created by a team of talented video artists.
NEEMFest has been described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as the “Woodstock of electronic music”. NEEMFest performers include composers of videogame and television scores, recognized avant-garde and experimental musicians, sound designers who create sonic environments in public spaces ranging from children’s museums to planetariums to the busiest airport in the US, and talented amateurs who were fans in the audience just a few short years ago. Selection of performers is juried, as we usually have fewer performance slots than people wanting to perform, but there is also room for impromptu collaborations that often produce incredibly interesting blends of styles and approaches.