Now in its fifth and final official year, No Music Day is an internationally celebrated event (the host city this year is Linz, Austria) created by Scottish writer, artist and KLF member Bill Drummond. While the official website seems to give no real mission statement regarding why Drummond won't be plugging No Music Day in the future or why he created it back in '05--the manifesto you see at right is more of an awkward, free-verse poem than a mission statement, and I'm wondering if it sounds slightly less labored in German--Wikipedia sheds some light on what the day is all about:
No Music Day is an event introduced by Bill Drummond to draw attention to the cheapening of music as an artform due to its mindless and ubiquitous use in contemporary society. Drummond explained "I decided I needed a day I could set aside to listen to no music whatsoever, [...] Instead, I would be thinking about what I wanted and what I didn't want from music. Not to blindly -- or should that be deafly -- consume what was on offer. A day where I could develop ideas."
It wasn't until I came across the word "ubiquitous" in that summary that I really began to see the merit behind this celebration. Music is absolutely omnipresent. And for the most part, the music we encounter in our daily lives--at least publicly--is music that we're fed involuntarily. Muzak in the mall and at the free clinic while we're awaiting some test results; your neighbor's psychobilly band practicing; "Party in the USA" blasting from a nearby RAV4 at the corner of 12th and Broad. How many times a day do we hear what is technically classifiable as music coming from sources as ubiquitous as crosswalks (literally)? We're desensitized. We're overexposed.
So it's for these reasons that I understand and appreciate No Music Day--it isn't a campaign against music; it's a fight in the interest of music's artistic value. Honestly, to avoid music altogether, you'd probably need to live in a city that has placed a temporary ban on all "piped music and imposed noise." What are the odds you'll make it all day without hearing a cell-phone-MIDI version of "Use Somebody" or the Haystak CD your sister left in your car? Is No Music Day a futile exercise? Perhaps. But I'd personally be intrigued to see if it's even possible for an active individual living in the Western Hemisphere. I can also tell you definitively that I will not be celebrating, but not as a matter of protest--I just have other stuff to do.