The annual Y2K International Live Looping Festival, was begun in 2001 by Rick Walker, himself a found sound/live looping artist. It is the first international live looping festival and longest running one in history.
After a 20 year professional career as a drummer/percussionist, Rick had begun the found sound/live looping portion of his career in 1995 when the Lexicon Jamman was first released to the public in a live looping trio called ‘Third Wave’ with fellow loopers, Gary Regina and Bill Walker (Rick’s brother).
The original festival was preceded in 2000 by a series of small local looping festivals but in 2001, Rick decided to put on a Bass Looping Festival as an excuse to showcase London solo bassist, Steve Lawson. Along with famed bassist Michael Manring, several other live looping bassists and several hundred audience members filled the brand new Rio Theater for a free concert.
This festival was followed by a 2nd Bass Looping Festival which was the beginning of the Y2K Festival the next year.
From the Y2K2 International Live Looping Festival until the present day, the festival has grown and grown, bringing as many as 70 artists from 17 countries in 6 days in 5 cities in Northern California a year.
Hundreds of live looping artists have come to the festival from 20 different countries and the festival itself has inspired other live looping festivals in over 20 countries around the world.
Originally, The festival drew from the community that congregated on the daily mailing digest of Kim Flint’s website, www.loopersdelight.com.
In 2003, Walker sent a single e-mail to Loopers Delight’s mailing list, saying that he was coming to Europe to perform as a solo live looping artist and asking if anyone would consider hosting him while putting together a small looping festival where they lived. So many artists responded that within two weeks, he had a fully booked two month looping tour in 7 countries in the UK and Northern Europe.
Since that time, Rick has traveled to 15 different countries in Asia, Europe, the UK, Canada, Mexico and the US to try and promote the concept of live looping festivals.
A dedicated group of looping artists who had come and headlined the US festival spread the concept to their representative countries by creating their own looping festivals. They now represent and actively promote International Live Looping at www.livelooping.org, founded by Matthias Grob (the ‘Father’ of digital live looping technology from Switzerland), Nick Robinson (England) and Michael Peters (Germany). Other notable members of this original group of live loopers are Andy Butler (UK), Andrew Ostler (UK), Gareth Whittock (Wales), Per Boysen (Sweden), Bill Walker (USA), Ted Killian (USA), Leander Reininghaus (Germany), Michael Klobuchar (Germany),Hans Lindauer (USA, who did a series of early festivals called LoopStock, Bernhard Wagner (who produced the first pan-European live looping festival in Switzerland in 2005) and many others.
To this day, in that community, there is no style or genre of music associated with the movement. The only thing that links thousands of emerging live looping artists is a strong and supportive sense of community and a love for the concept of looping live in public.
In 2013, the Y2K13 International Live Looping Festival will expand to satellite festivals in London, Norwich, Paris, Berlin, Cologne, Sicily, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and the main festival in Santa Cruz (always held in the third weekend of October). A much larger expansion of the festival is planned for summer/fall 2014 in East Asia and Europe/UK.