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Re: Loopstock Redux

Sorry, Andre.  I have a habit of carrying things too far.  I was just
your chain.  Forgive me, please.  I'll stop teasing you now.

I appreciate your (and everybody's) input on how to make the show run
smoothly and enjoyably.  Please keep it coming - I've never put on a
loopfest before!  I once put on a festival with  a dozen bands, but that 
24 hours and this is ten.  If everybody doesn't get jaded and bitter after
and wants to do it again, maybe we can shoot for two days next year.

I had no idea that this thing would take on such a life of its own.  I
figured that maybe a half-dozen list members would actually show up, if I
was lucky.  Now we have a LOT of people coming, and I think that's great.
With a little luck and some careful planning, we're going to have the
biggest, bestest loopfest ever!

Yes, things will go wrong.  They always do.  Here's a story that I've been
waiting to share with the list, about a gig I had on the 1st of the month,
armatronix' first time playing at a popular pub in downtown SLO:

We set up, turn everything on, and my EDP gives me the now-familiar 88 888 
display that it almost always does when I turn it on cold.  So I smack the
side of the rack, and power it back on: 88 888 8.  So I let it warm up for 
few minutes, smack it again (this ALWAYS works), and again 88 888 8.  I
smacked that damn thing from every possible angle, each time a little 
than the last, and always the same thing: 88 888 8.

So about now I'm thinking that it's high time I finally get around to
apart my EDP to clean and re-seat those SIMMs.  I bring out my emergency
kit, which seems to save my ass every gig (isn't technology wonderful?), 
there before my very eyes is my fiberglass contact-cleaning pencil, which I
was just moments before wishing that I kept in my emergency kit.  Things 
looking up.  I take out the SIMMs, and boy oh boy are those contacts dirty!
I can't help but smile as I re-seat the SIMMs and reassemble the EDP,
feeling wise to have purchased that fiberglass pencil years before, (this
my first time using it), and extremely lucky to have found it in my kit.
thing we set up a little early.

The EDP still doesn't work.  88 888 8.  More smacking and cursing.  A
feeling.  The realization that the next three hours will be the last that I
will ever
play in this bar.  No thanks, a beer isn't going to help.  Ten minutes to

But wait!  There's hope.  My friend Forrestt Williams lives about four
blocks away,
and he's the hottest bass player in town.  I run about half a block, and
then walk quickly the rest of the way, huffing and puffing.  I knock, and
enter without waiting for a response.  The roommates look up from the TV.

"Aren't you supposed to be playing right now?"

(Still short of breath) "No, we start at 10:00.  We've got five minutes.
Have you seen Forrestt?"

"He's at the shooting range.  Why?"

"I'm having technical difficulties.  I need a bass player.  If he comes
back, send him
to the Frog and Peach.  Tell him it's an emergency.  The shooting range?"

"Yeah, his girl lives near there."

So I walk back to the venue, change into my warmup suit, and start up the
machines.  Silence at first, then on the 808 I punch in 16th note hi-hats,
by snare, then the kick.  I start the kick out thin at first, and clicky.
Throw my
Tibetan Bells record on, backward.  Crank the decay on the 808.  Smiles all
around.  Randomly turn sequencer knobs and start the synth stepping.  Pick
the bass.  Sounds fat in here.  After playing my riff four times, I start 
realize that the drums are getting stale.  Program a drum change with the
bass hanging around my neck.  Play some more bass.  This sucks.  Throw on
another record.  Drum change.  Bass.  Sikh Hymns LP.  Add more drums.  
Tweak the synth.  I look up, and the crowd is just standing there, looking

And in walks Forrestt.

"Pssst, c'mere.  Hold this thing for me," I say, handing him the bass.

And Forrestt proceeds to lay down the funkiest bass line I've ever heard.
Heads start nodding.  People start dancing.  I smack the rack for good
and cycle the EDP power.  88 888 8, but who cares?  It ends up being
best night yet, everybody has a great time, and I still have "I'll get by
with a little
help from my friends" looping in my head on Monday morning when I call Alto
order a new EDP.

> -- What happens if a soundchecking person wants to see the current act
> that's playing, during the time that they're supposed to be doing their
> soundcheck?

Good point.  This is a sacrifice that everyone will have to make, except 
first performer.

> -- What if the act on stage is playing something quiet and meditative,
> while the soundchecking act is striking guitar strings, testing vocal
> levels, moving pieces of electronic gear, discussing set-up
> possibilities with other folks, walking around, and switching things on?

That's just common courtesy.  There should be enough time that we won't
have to step on each others' toes.

> -- What if someone doesn't want to, or can't, soundcheck via headphones?
> What if they need to soundcheck through the second mixer while the
> current act is in the middle of its set?

The headphones will be plugged into the second mixer.  If you're not 
through the mixer, wait until it's your turn before making noise.  
set everything up at home prior to the festival and tweaked all your gear 

> -- What if the audience and/or performers want a bit of time to stretch,
> heed nature's call, eat, or just process the sensory onslaught they've
> just been audience to?
> To me, it's a dangerous proposition to try and eliminate any possible
> non-performance event from the schedule.  Soundchecks, between-set
> audience breaks, and the like are important things, and shouldn't be
> rushed or compromised just for the sake of trying to squeeze as many
> folks as possible onto the bill.

Yes, I agree that a little bit of time between acts would be a good thing.

> I also think it might be a good idea to try and allocate at least a half
> hour break somewhere in the late afternoon or early evening, so that
> people can get a decent bite to eat, walk around, and talk without
> feeling like they're missing out on something.

Excellent idea.  I'll schedule that in.

> Such a break could also make a good opportunity for more extensive
> sound-checking, gear-schlepping, and miscellaneous technical details for
> the second half of the show which may (and almost assuredly will) crop
> up, without having to bring everything to a great, tearing halt.
> If you can get specific gear details from everyone (and thus far only
> a handful of acts have responded to the inquiry regarding their set-up
> requirements...) then you might be able to streamline things more
> effectively, by figuring out who will most need that extra half-hour
> break/setup time, and so forth.

Yes.  Maybe those who know they'll need more time can start setting
up three acts ahead of their slot, behind the person who's on deck.
Maybe everyone should do this, just to be safe.

> As far as the demo stage goes, I have a feeling that every set will be
> something of a demo stage anyway, so it wouldn't be a great loss to
> forego a "workshop" phase in the formal sense.  Leaving the possibility
> of asking specific questions at the end of somebody's set is a good
> idea... and yet another good reason to keep between-set breaks intact.

I'm getting closer.

> As for my own role in the show?

Logistical consultant.  Just relax and watch how it all unfolds, knowing
you've done everything that you could to try to talk some sense into these
sorry suckers.

Thanks again Andre,