Photo by Craig Baird Photography
Interview by Sara Jane Overby
Calling all music festival lovers — there is a new group in town. C4 Productions specializes in hosting events that are less “concerts” than themed experiences. If you missed C4’s latest event — Area 54 — another event will be held at Wordplay on Friday, March 3rd, called 20,000 Freaks Under the Sea. This event will spare no detail: lights, dancers, art, costumes, and a multi-genre line-up of music: OTT, Little Rain Band, Moglee, Biolux, and LeeJ.
C4’s Executive Director, Clay Dunbar, offered a couple minutes of his time to illustrate the evolution and vision of C4 Productions.
Sara Jane: I want to jump right in and ask you, why did you decide to focus C4 Productions around these themed experiences? What’s the takeaway for the people who attend these events? And what do you and other C4 members take from the experience as well?
Clay Dunbar: One of the overarching reasons why I do this is because, throughout my years, I have always known these little groups and scenes of people. We all hung out in very similar ways, but we were never all together. Most didn’t even know each other. I wanted to provide some sort of platform to bridge those gaps. That’s more or less where the idea behind the themed party came from.
And, to go a step further with the idea of hosting these themed events, I think it pays to notice that people are separated from each other in a multitude of different ways. That much is obvious just by watching how each chooses to walk through life differently. They separate themselves into categories: I should look like this, I should act like this right now because I am doing this, etc. This is my job so this is who I am right now.
And they begin to identify themselves with all these clichés. Which are really just these mental constructs that they’ve come up with to identify themselves. So, in a way, those people are kind of wearing a costume everywhere they go within their normal life. They’re dressing up as who they think the world wants them to be.
So this idea with the theme parties revolves around bringing a bunch of people together and taking them out of the context of normal life. They wear these costumes and get immersed in the environment we provide. We tricked out the setting and they get dressed up and things get crazy. The experience brings them out of what they consider normal life and they have the opportunity to behave and interact differently. And I always think that’s a beautiful thing to watch. We should definitely have that here in Birmingham!
So, tell me about this 20,000 Freaks Under the Sea, happening March 3rd?
Well, for starters, there’s a lot of talent in Birmingham and a lot of good people here as well…and there are very few forces trying to bring them together. That’s what Area 54 was about and after C4 had done finished that, we said to ourselves, “Well, that was fun. Let’s do it again!” We had enjoyed it, and people really dug it.
So, then I kind of thought through and decided I really like this DJ, OTT. I set out to focus C4 on making a party for it. We decided on the theme and now we have a line-up with Biolux, Little Raine Band, OTT, and more. So wear your craziest costume and come get down with some really good music, old friends, and make some new ones. Just really get out there, whether it be the dance floor or in a conversation with someone you don’t know!
Well, I will certainly be there. Thanks so much, Clay, for your time!