Drone not Drones 2019: fundraiser for doctors without borders and a fave festival

Drone not Drones is an annual (6 years!) fundraiser held for Doctors without Borders at the Cedar Cultural Center. Luke Heiken is the brain and brawn behind it all – although I think he gets a lot of help from friends, musicians and the folks at the Cedar. It is 24+ hours of drone music. Not music made by drones, as several people have asked me but music with a hum or drone sound to it.

The bands change about every 30 minutes. My favorite part of the show is the changeovers. One band is playing the next one sets up. They play together for a minute or two and the first band sets down. The drone continues throughout.

The music is varied. It’s ambient, it’s aggressive, it’s synthesized, it’s vocals (in different languages), it’s instrumental. Sometimes there’s a performance element, although less so this year than previous. There is a screen going throughout with what I can only call groovy images throughout. I was there for about 12 hours total – most during the first night.

Many people bring their sleeping bags. It’s like an indoor camping ground with way better bathrooms. Some people bring kids. I think that must be such a fun night for them running around the grownups in sleeping bags. There’s a bar and food but it’s not a big boozy event for the most part. It’s really the community-personification of chill. And each year it grows. The room as at least three-quarters full the whole time I was there. And often felt too cozy, in a good way.

I tried to get 30 seconds of each band I saw to give a flavor. I’ve done my best to label correctly, but if there was a change in the schedule, I’m wrong and I could be wrong regardless but it does give you the idea.

You can also get the full schedule or watch the full show.

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