nwcMUSIC just wrapped up its second year. It’s the third year I’ve been running music at Norwescon, having taken over the “filk track” in 2010 at the last minute after the original volunteer had to withdraw from running it, but that was kind of a “year zero,” as far as I was concerned. 2011 was Year One, the start of nwcMUSIC, my attempt to build a pan-geekmusic festival at Norwescon.
We have evolved. And we have a plan.
Plan Does Not Include Mosh Pit
Where do I even start? This was a breakthrough year; what we’re trying to do really started to sink in. Daytime programming turnout – a huge concern, being mostly up in Salon, at the top of the tower – slammed the rooms. Crossover programming on topics like promotion and economics drew much better than last year. The home recording panel drew well for Sunday morning. Cascadia’s Got Talent! drew more audience than last year, though it took a while for them to make their way in, and we’re still having trouble getting entrants.
Everyone is Way Too Happy about the
Science Olympics Trophy for Entertainment
But it was the experimental panels – Introduction to the Irish Session, Introduction to Participatory Geekmusic, and most of all Find Your Instrument – that really outdid expectations. All three leaked into the doors. Introduction to the Irish Session turned into a genuinely hot session, with the musicians expressly sad it only ran an hour. And Find Your Instrument – the most experimental of all – overflowed into and took over the hallway. It was a mob scene.
Alec really liked the Session
Everybody gave good shows. I mean, of course I’m going to say that, but seriously, everybody gave good shows. We had our first dance pit, improvised on Friday night. I knew The Doubleclicks would be a hit, but I did not realise exactly how big a hit. I knew Kirby Krackle would rock, but I did not realise exactly how much they would rock. Rai Kamishiro made a big impression, particularly given her Thursday-sized audience.
Srs Bsns Rock
Like some Goddamn Bosses
Electric Children had to cancel at the last minute due to illness (along with at least 17 other attending pros – something nasty is going around), but I was able to get Klopfenpop, who had planned to guest with Ultraklystron, to take over the show – and even updated the posters on site.
I could go on, but I’ll just say there was not one person in our lineup I wouldn’t ask back. Seriously, the last three months, I’ve been looking at that concert slate and thinking, How did we do this? How can we have a concert slate this awesome? And yet!
Which isn’t to say everything was perfect. The convention knows we’re here now, but they don’t always know what we’re doing, exactly. I had to explain to one fan who believed we had some mainstream “rap band” appearing before Vixy & Tony that Ultraklystron was in fact currently laying down about hobbits, and had earlier wrapped up songs about Green Lantern and different ways robots take over the world. I wouldn’t book anybody not geeky, and that seems obvious to me, but it is clearly not entirely obvious that geekmusic could mean anything other than folk-derived filk. And this was not the only fan similarly confused, so, if you’re reading this, don’t feel picked on, it wasn’t just you.
We have identified some process improvements we should make, as well, and some tech changes from next year, most notably related to power – Norwescon TeamTech and Hotels managed to save us on Friday when we needed more power draw than anticipated, and thanks so much to you guys! But we shouldn’t've needed to ask. Process can solve this.
The Trouble Clef Jam needs work. We need to figure out how to make it more attractive, so it’s worth coming back after you’ve loaded out your car and checked out of your hotel room. I’d like to turn it into our Smoked Salmon; maybe someday.
Overnight Open Filk seemed to be staging a comeback, but we need even more signage and a little better hotel communication. The Session needed to be longer (by popular demand!), and hopefully, we’ll be more able to help beginners keep up better next year.
And, as always, Norwescon wants to hear what you have to say about all of this.
Oh, what else. Impressions.
Norwescon Opening Ceremonies got run as a Late Nite/Tonight Show chat show, and they dragged me in last-minute to play the Paul Schaffer analogue, playing people on and off. So I did that, and for bonus points improvised a theme, tossing together mix of a couple of instrumentals I already had – most notably “Roughrider” and “Engine Engine Let’s Go.” That was sixteen tonnes of fun.
At Cascadia’s Got Talent, the eventual winner Julie Hoverson – pictured with trophy above – singing Dschinghis Khan in the original German, My Beautiful Assistant Anna yelling out just before the last chorus, “EVERYBODY!” – and everybody actually joining in.
Actually getting to gong some Guy at the Talent show. Also, the entire front row flinching exactly like I’d hoped for this prize:
NTSC Video So Crisp You Can Almost Feel
Gil Gerard’s Disco-Ready Chest Hair
Podorythmie at the Irish Session as a Quebecois partisan brought the footwork. XD
All those signs I kept posting about are good starts, particularly the WORKSHOPS banner and the banner-holders. The OPEN FILK vinyl sign turned out mostly great, except I’d lightened the background anticipating it coming out darker than visually presented (as happens so much of the time) and… they printed exactly what I handed them. So the background was too pale. GODDAMMIT AND YAY. XD
Aimed for this, got… mostly there. I swear to god Adobe must own stock in cyan ink makers. It’s the only explanation.
As always, nwcMUSIC FilkTech – John Seghers, Jen Kilmer, and Ryan Nutick – provided some of the best sound management you’re going to see. Kyle of Kirby Krackle mentioned on stage that he’d never heard himself in monitors so clearly before, in any venue, and his bassist nodded and said he never would again. That’s how good they are.
I’d also asked Mimi Noyes – best known to Seattle fandom as the “Monster Mash” woman – to mash up a mascot, called The Screech, for us, and he went over really well.
SCREECH ON MY HEAD! SCREECH ON MY HEAD!
I didn’t get a proper break until almost 1am Sunday (ish), and honestly didn’t care, because running this thing was awesome.
Yes, This Is The Rock-And-Roll Lifestyle, Promoter Version
Plans and tweets were made while drunk. Dismayingly, I stand by both.