EUROVISION meets PE. That is how Vicky Halliday describes Euro Rock, which started on Saturday and finishes next weekend.
Now in its 21st year, the event sees bands from Duisburg, Germany, and its twin cities working together to write and perform original music.
Experimental rock band Battery Hens are flying the flag for Portsmouth after arriving in the German city on Saturday to take part in the project.
Vicky, who has been the leader of Euro Rock since 2011, chose the Portsmouth-based band. She says: ‘Each city takes an established band and they then mix and match to form four new groups – it is like PE in that you pick your own teams.
‘They then start writing, jamming and recording together and play five gigs in the Netherlands and Germany.’
She adds: ‘You get everything from Russian death metal to Dutch rap so it comes up with some very interesting results.’
They boys of Battery Hens – Matt Tiller, Matt Chuter, Rob Day and Joff Reid, all from Portsmouth – join Käpt’n Moby from Duisburg, Medicine Maze from Nijmegen, Netherlands, No Thank You from Calais, France, and Rained from Perm, Russia.
The newly-formed bands will play gigs at the Parkhaus in Duisburg and the Valkhof Festival in Nijmegen, before returning to the former venue to record music with producer Micki Meuser. There will also be workshops and an official reception from the Mayor of Duisburg and the local media.
This year, the Portsmouth contingent, Battery Hens, have been funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.
‘Portsmouth and Duisburg is one of the oldest twinnings in this country so they are really keen for us to stay involved,’ says Vicky. ‘The English-speaking band is usually the glue that sticks everything together. Everybody who takes part knows some English, but they all have to get over language barriers when they are writing.’
Euro Rock was founded 21 years ago by German folk musician Peter Bursch to get young people around Europe involved in music.