Day 8

July 14th 1789
The Storming of the Bastille

Democ­ra­cy, thus French rev­o­lu­tion, was not invent­ed by philo­soph­ic the­o­ry nor by the bour­geois lead­er­ship. It was dis­cov­ered by the mass­es in their method of action.”
– Raya Dunayevskaya

If we are in the SydArthur Fes­ti­val look­ing for shifts of con­scious­ness, then can there be any greater For­ev­er shift in con­scious­ness than the Storm­ing of the Bastille? The Bastille: that grim and grotesque edi­fice, that omnipresent sym­bol of injus­tice and abuse, whose castel­lat­ed walls over­shad­owed Paris since Medieval times. So grim, artists depict­ed it three times larg­er than real­i­ty. The Storm­ing of the Bastille may have only released six old pris­on­ers and a dog, but it relieved a great strain on the psy­che of Parisians. And some­times rev­o­lu­tions need an incen­di­ary act in order to kick-start pro­ceed­ings. Pow­er to the Peo­ple. Just as Gins­berg, Hoff­man and cohorts had in 1967 sur­round­ed the Pen­ta­gon and chant­ed “Out Demons Out” in protest against the Viet­nam War, the Storm­ing of the Bastille was the great sym­bol­ic act that put the fate of the peo­ple into their own hands. Pow­er to the People.

The mere fact that we can even think about gob­bling psy­che­delics pre­sup­pos­es that we have full bel­lies – ingest­ing the sacred mush­room after you’ve eat­en the dai­ly food. These peo­ple were starv­ing. Like James Brown, who said him­self that he’d been unable to address and sing about black con­scious­ness until he’d guar­an­teed putting food on the table for his fam­i­ly and his musi­cians, the French peas­ants could not advance their own cause with­out food in their bel­lies. Their benev­o­lent monar­chy cared not: “Let them eat cake.” Until the over­throw of such basic injus­tices, soci­ety could go nowhere.

The Storm­ing of the Bastille was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary act, a great leap for­ward in the con­scious­ness of the French peas­antry. A Ground Zero moment in French his­to­ry? No, a Ground Zero moment in Human His­to­ry. Pow­er to the Peo­ple. Right On.

It’s Day 8 here at the SydArthur Fes­ti­val and we’re cel­e­brat­ing the Storm­ing of the Bastille with some­thing French, free­dom-lov­ing, cathar­tic, meta-syn­chro­nised, fetish-like and awe­some in the strictest sense of the word. ‘La LŽgende du Siecle’ by Mag­ma sub­jects the music fan to a colos­sal near-Olympian dis­play of avant-Supremes: soul music from the stars. Who would imag­ine that there could be such a chasm between the hap­haz­ard oppor­tunist actions of those Bastille storm­ers and the Gur­d­ji­ef­fi­an pre­ci­sion of their free­dom-prac­tic­ing great-great-great grand­chil­dren? Mag­ma trashed Gen­er­al De Gaulle for­ev­er with their blaz­ing­ly futur­is­tic, ardent, post-nation­al­ist, mixed-race, Sun Ra-atti­tude to a Next World Music. Watch them here in per­for­mance, and be astonished.

Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Thu Thursday
Fri Friday
Day 1: Saturday Jul 7th
Day 2: Sunday Jul 8th
Day 3: Monday Jul 9th
Day 4: Tuesday Jul 10th
Day 5: Wednesday Jul 11th
Day 6: Thursday Jul 12th
Day 7: Friday Jul 13th
Day 8: Saturday Jul 14th
Day 9: Sunday Jul 15th
Day 10: Monday Jul 16th
Day 11: Tuesday Jul 17th
Day 12: Wednesday Jul 18th
Day 13: Thursday Jul 19th
Day 14: Friday Jul 20th
Day 15: Saturday Jul 21st
Day 16: Sunday Jul 22nd
Day 17: Monday Jul 23rd
Day 18: Tuesday Jul 24th
Day 19: Wednesday Jul 25th
Day 20: Thursday Jul 26th
Day 21: Friday Jul 27th
Day 22: Saturday Jul 28th
Day 23: Sunday Jul 29th
Day 24: Monday Jul 30th
Day 25: Tuesday Jul 31st
Day 27: Thursday Aug 2nd
Day 28: Friday Aug 3rd