Steven Stapleton's Sleep Concert is the stuff of dreams


Would you want to go to a bed-and-breakfast concert? A ticket to the UK premiere of Steven Stapleton's 12-hour Sleep Concert at Newcastle's AV Festival, includes a single bed, a blanket, a nightlight and a bacon or egg roll and coffee in the morning – all for £25. Stapleton performs his dark ambient music live from his laptop throughout the night, manipulating his own Nurse with Wounds records, to induce sleep and dreams.

As one of the pioneers of the British industrial music scene and the only constant member of experimental improv outfit Nurse with Wounds, Stapleton is one person who won't be taking a kip at this collective sleepover.

The 130 single aero beds will be arranged a metre apart in a huge circular industrial space with high ceilings. Audience members are expected to remain fully clothed beneath blankets, with no need for pyjamas or nightwear. Everybody settles down for the night at 10pm for the concert, before waking bright and early for breakfast at 8am.

"Steven Stapleton will single-handedly be attempting to enter, and influence your dream worlds via the portal of your inner ear," says Paul Smith, producer of Stapleton's Sleep Concert. "His hope is to subtly redecorate your mind, add flowers, rearrange the furniture a little... He'd greatly appreciate it if the audience could snore in tune."

This event is part of the AV Festival, the UK's largest biennial festival of contemporary arts and technology, featuring visual art, music, sound and film across North-east England. This year's theme is "As Slow As Possible" and aims to introduce a slower pace to a speedy world. Highlights include films chosen for their slowness and meditative qualities and Jonathan Schippers' slow-motion car-crash sculpture.

Whether staying the night is something concert-goers will enjoy remains to be seen. It might be easier to catch the night bus home.

Steven Stapleton's Sleep Concert, Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne (0191 243 8223; 23 & 24 March