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Sydney Festival is seeking 100 electric guitarists to play in a massive garage band

Rhys Chatham performance
Photograph: John Johnson

Calling all electric guitar players and bass players, whether you play in a band, used to play in a band, or hope to one day. The biggest rock'n'roll ensemble you've ever seen needs you for two big concerts in January.

The occasion is a visit for Sydney Festival by US-born avant-garde composer Rhys Chatham. Chatham writes music for big groups. Really big groups. Like, 100 or more electric guitars. He'll be staging his 2005 piece A Crimson Grail at Carriageworks – a piece actually written for 400 electric guitars, but scaled down to a relatively modest 100.

Chatham is part of the generation whose life was changed by seeing the Ramones play. He digs loud guitar music, but in a deeply serious way: he is counted among the great minimalist composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Robert Fripp, and Maryanne Amacher, with all of whom he has worked. His music has been performed at festivals around the world: he flies in with his core group of musicians, rehearses with locally recruited players, and conducts the guitars like an orchestra.  

If you're keen to take part, you can apply now at the Sydney Festival's website. You don't have to be a genius at reading music but you do have to be able to count to four and follow a chart. You have to be able to commit to three evenings of rehearsal, January 9-11. You have to be available all day and in the evening of the performance days on January 12 and 13. And you need your own gear, including an amplifier. You don't get paid, but you can take it from Time Out: it's an experience you won't soon forget. 

Read Time Out's highlights of Sydney Festival 2018.

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