Tuned to Possibilities

A celebration of

20 years of Music for People & Thingamajigs

Dec 15, 2017 - May 19, 2018

Oakland, CA - Mar 20, 2018 - On Saturday, March 24, The 20th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival will enter its second phase, with a night of Alt-tuned Rock Music, followed by performances every month. The 20th anniversary series will conclude on May 19 with Nature Of Notation in Chalkhill Artist Residency. The five shows of the festival that opened on Dec 15 2017, will bring together artists and artist-groups from different parts of the world, various walks of life and with their own eclectic perspective on what constitutes the spirit of Thingamajigs.

The grand, elaborate celebration is a way to remember, thank and recognize the large community of artists and musicians that first came together 20 years ago. Edward Schocker and Dylan Bolles created a forum in 1997, in a humble effort to learn about the artists and their works in Mills College’s historical space of experimental music. Before they knew, the forum became The Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival. What transpired in the concert hall of Mills College, as Dylan recalls, was a bridge of a stage, shared by young performers and renowned composers such as Pauline Oliveros. Memorable presentations from Carla Kihlsted, Willie Winant and many more, galvanized unconventional approaches to music made with found objects and alternate tuning systems. The festival became the final dais for experiments in sounds and music.

The founders of MFP&T Festival - Edward Schocker and Dylan Bolles, both intended to have a varied group of collaborators. So poets, writers, dancers and visual artists joined the projects to create works such as The Continuum, that led to profound experiences - both for the artists and the audience. New partnerships like these inspired curated and reviewed works, that deepened the exploration of sounds in found objects and the understanding of alternate tuning systems. As Dylan says, “The more we looked, the more we found.”

Over the years, the community became robust with artists such as Ranjit Bhatnagar, Terry Berlier, Bart Hopkin, Tracy Cockerel, Terry Dame, Phil Dadson, Phyllis Chen, Adam Fong, Larnie Fox, Brenda Hutchinson, Gretchen Jude, Tom Kaufman, Walter Kitundu, Ralph Lewis, Tom Nunn, Ian Power, David Samas and Peter Whitehead - who all showcased their work in the festival and brightened the spotlight. The programs made it to the Top 10 Music Festivals list on 7X7 and were featured on Rachel Maddow show. Radio channels such as KPFA, and popular Bay Area publications including SF Weekly, SF Classical Voice and East Bay Express, through their features and artist interviews, added to the visibility. The MFP&T program also hosted musicians from around the world, including two MacArthur Genius Award recipients - Walter Kitundu and Trimpin.

The Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival, eventually, paved way for Thingamajigs - the organization, and unearthed a new spectrum of initiatives in the space of experimental arts, and music education. In the last few years, Teaching Artists, educators, scientists, engineers and even 4-year olds have joined the community. Programs such as Thingamakids! and Aeolian Day, are the wings that take this spirit to make sounds with found objects, to anyone, everyone and everywhere.

Larnie Fox, one of the long collaborating artists, says “The diversity of expression is unique to Thingamajigs”, and that’s what The 20th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival aims to capture. It has been 20 years, in search for sounds and their place in human imagination; and this is an opportunity for the explorer in you to join the celebrations.

Meet Vegan Butcher, Hazel Atlas, 'Fraid o' Freyja, Sophia Shen, Cornelius Boots, Joo Won Park, and Thingamajigs Performance Group with Becoming Independent, in a series of performances spread out through the next few months in various SF Bay Area locations.

Visit our website for more details.




20th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival

Dec 15, 2017 - May 18, 2018


Friday - Dec 15, 2017 | 5pm - 8pm

Opening Night

Northern California Gagaku Group, Soo Yeon Lyuh, Leon Schneiderman, Euphotic and Pet the Tiger

OMCA : 1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA 94607


Saturday - March 24, 2018 | 8pm

Alt-Tuned Rock

Vegan Butcher, 'Fraid o' Freyja and Kevin Thompson

The MilkBar Richmond, CA


Sunday - April 15, 2018 | 4pm

Pacific Exchange

Sophia Shen and Cornelius Boots

Moderated talk with artists to follow performance

NOHspace (Theater of Yugen), San Francisco, CA


Friday - May 18, 2018 | 8pm

Preludes, Fugues and Things

Joo Won Park and Big City Orchestra

Gallery@Oakstop, Oakland, CA


Saturday - May 19, 2018 | 4PM

The Nature of Notation

Thingamajigs Performance Group and Becoming Independent

Chalk Hill Artist Residency - 13427 Chalk Hill Rd, Healdsburg, California 95448

THINGAMAJIGS is a genre-crossing arts organization that promotes, presents and performs music created with found materials or alternate tuning systems. The organization places music-making and instrument-building programs in underserved communities, from East Oakland’s Citizens School to the Second Start Adult Literacy Program in West Oakland. Thingamajigs is committed to lower the barriers to access, and offers free events for all, and engages in partnerships that let all people participate in the ‘do-it-yourself’ music movement. For more information : http://thingamajigs.org/about.html

All events, concerts and activities of The 20th Annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival were made possible through the support of California Arts Council, New Music USA, Zellerbach Family Foundation and generous donations by individuals across the Bay Area.