Brighton Festival 2017Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

Festival-goers invited to interact with installation of Lou Reed’s guitars

Festival-goers are invited to meditate, dance, chant, and even perform Tai Chi at Lou Reed Drones, an installation of Lou Reed’s guitars and amps set in feedback mode, coming to Brighton Festival in May.

A UK Premiere, Lou Reed Drones is at The Spire Fri 13 - Tue 17 May. Lou Reed instinctively knew the power of drone music, and his 1975 album Metal Machine Music was credited with laying the foundation for the industrial and noise rock genres.

Lou Reed’s guitar technician Stewart Hurwood, the man behind the installation, says, ‘People can sit, lay, listen, meditate, sleep, cry, dance, chant, perform Tai Chi - whatever they get emotionally from the sounds they can react to. I would encourage people to drone along, making their own drone resonating inside their chest cavity. The sound is interactive changing with the movement of people within the space, and other sound sources.’

Stewart Hurwood worked with Lou Reed for the last ten years of his life, handling his guitars, and equipment. Lou Reed Drones came about when following Lou Reed’s death, Stewart came up with the idea as an alternative to Reed’s equipment gathering dust, and worked with Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed’s partner, and Brighton Festival 2016 Guest Director, to make it a reality.

Brighton Festival invites Brighton artists and practitioners to immerse themselves in the installation and participate in a series of Happenings that will take place during Lou Reed Drones, between the hours of 2-4pm, Fri 13 - Tue 17 May 2016. All Happenings need to be self-sufficient, non-intrusive and without amplification. Please note there is no fee.

If you are interested in responding to the Drones creatively please contact with a short description about you, your practice and how you would like to respond to the Drones. The curatorial team will get back to you to confirm if there is a space to incorporate your idea in the schedule.

Listings information

Lou Reed Drones

Fri 13 – Tue 17 May, 12pm – 5pm

The Spire, St Mark’s Chapel, Eastern Road, BN25JN



Both Lou Reed and John Cale instinctively knew the power of drones. In 1975, Reed played out that drone music on Metal Machine Music, an album credited with laying the foundation for the industrial and noise rock genres.

Lou Reed Drones is an installation of his guitars and amps in feedback mode: 24 strings set in motion from the push of magnetically driven cones; 360 partial harmonics colliding against each other, cascading, uniting, elevating, rising up like New York skyscrapers along the Hudson.

Introducing gain and sculpting sonic frequencies, a feedback loop is created with each guitar and its respective amplifier. Their overlapping harmonic structures produce pseudo-acoustic notes in which a beating sensation is then set in motion. Lou Reed Drones is a visceral, emotional and spiritual experience.