Day 1

July 7th 2006
Death of Syd Barrett

I don’t think I’m easy to talk about.
I’ve got a very irreg­u­lar head.
And I’m not any­thing that you think I am anyway.”
– Syd Barrett

Syd Bar­rett is Psy­che­del­ic Fron­tiers­man No. 1. For he sums up the West­ern Exper­i­ment: “To be extreme, just to be extreme.” That is to say, that to come back alive is pre­ferred – but not pre­sumed. That sac­ri­fice will be made in order to make progress. As T. S. Eliot declared: “Only those who will risk going too far can pos­si­bly find out how far one can go.” Syd was a son­ic ter­ror­ist, per­pet­u­al­ly beat­ing at the bound­aries of rock’n’roll. But he was a cau­tion­ary tale to us all: he was the one that went out there and nev­er came back.

Syd summed up Eng­lish Psy­che­delia even bet­ter than the peo­ple who influ­enced him – Ray Davies, the Bea­t­les – because his way­ward tra­jec­to­ry pro­vid­ed us with the guide to the post-rab­bit-hole ride of Alice in Won­der­land once it peters out and is reduced to noth­ing more than a rarely-used track­way. Syd deliv­ers to us a psy­chic com­men­tary using a reme­di­al set of sym­bols, and all over a pil­lar of rev­o­lu­tion­ary sound. Mind-man­i­fest­ing as Humphry Osmond defined the tru­ly psy­che­del­ic expe­ri­ence, Syd’s work siz­zled with a seem­ing­ly effort­less sense of melody and lyri­cism – a hero­ic child­like Pandora’s Box of mag­ic. When you’re a kid you’re in a world of frogspawn and cater­pil­lars but you grow out of it. But that Syd did not grow out of it was a rev­o­lu­tion for all of us. For­ev­er fuck­ing with people’s heads with­out telling them, Syd was nev­er by rote and unwill­ing to make a career from his place in the music biz. He was the obsti­nate child deter­mined to sub­vert the form at all points.

To be a psy­che­del­ic artist you need to know there are neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems you might encounter that will shut you down way before your mis­sion is com­plete. Syd is indis­pen­si­ble because he tells you how far you can’t go. Hug You, Moth­er­fuck­er! You dared to do all this on our behalf. In bequeath­ing us your mind map, you lost your mind.

Wel­come, every­one, to the 3rd SydArthur Festival!

Let’s throw our­selves into the right mood imme­di­ate­ly by lis­ten­ing to ‘Apples and Oranges’ – that glo­ri­ous final sin­gle from Pink Floyd in their Syd Bar­rett-led incar­na­tion. This uproar­i­ous curios­i­ty-shop-of-sound sums up our hero no end.

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