Saturday, July 29, 2006

Big Bummer

Some people (we know who you are) insisted that Guerilla should post a story of its own, as we host this blog and are no strangers to Spinal Tap ourselves, especially when it comes to organising a festival. And as the biblical saying goes "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". So here comes our very own avalanche.

The very first festival we organised was indoor at Hof Ter Lo, a venue in Antwerp which holds about 1.000. Given the fact that Guerilla only existed for a few months and we didn't have any experience whatsoever (apart from a few gigs in a squat, see the story below) this might have seemed a bit overly ambitious. And, of course, it was. The festival was called 'Big Bang' and that's exactly what it was: chaotic and destructive.

- the day of the festival, the guys who went to pick up most of the audio & light gear managed to prompt a general nervous breakdown when they called us saying "There's been an accident: the lock on the doors of our van snapped and now there's a sprinkling of PA stuff on the highway for about two miles." That's what Belgians call a 'joke'. Not funny. Not funny at all.

- the second stage was only finished three hours after the festival started. The second stage was also the spot where there was a rock contest on with a few new bands. But the jury got so drunk that no winner could be chosen. Some of those bands are doing very well now, by the way. UPDATE: I was wrong because a winner was chosen after all: reggae band Calabash (they're headlining alongside Omar Perry on the 2006 edition of Willrock festival by the way).

- when the second band on the main stage started to play, the woofers exploded. They were replaced by the woofers of the second stage. Those were a lot smaller, so they exploded as well. Half an hour later, the mixing table started to emit smoke - the master volume switch had fried.

- one artist managed to empty a fire extinguisher in the backstage and only afterwards (!) set the entire place on fire. Stupidly, he started to brag about his exploits when there was someone of the organisation nearby. But afterwards, he was very sorry about the whole thing and we're still good friends today.

- a video projector was stolen while it was being used on stage. No mean feat, huh? Afterwards, rumour had it that some bloke who was affiliated to the band that was on at the time, knicked it and sold it off so he could go and buy heroine (him being a junkie). But there was no proof, so the company whom we rented it from sued us (as if we wanted to steal an ancient projector). There's still no verdict in the case.
Think Of One thing you wouldn't like to see happen on a festival. Big Bang provided a bucketload.

- we arranged for a monitor mixing set on the main stage but alas we forgot to hire someone who knew how to use it. In the end, a girl who once took one lesson in sound engineering anxiously agreed to do it (we blackmailed her into it, I guess). Not surprisingly, the sound coming out of the monitors was somewhat less than perfect.

- there was a huge delay in the line-up and we even had to cancel a band (Neven). As a consequence, the main act (Think Of One) had to play three hours late. So they were very hungry. Being excellent organisers, we had foreseen this and we actually managed to trick a real chef into preparing food for the band. But -being equally stupid- we put the food 'for the time being' in an area that was accessible to the public. Needless to say, the crowd really enjoyed the free food, but Think Of One didn't. Fortunately, the chef managed to whip up a meal with the leftovers.

And there's a lot more where that came from. As I'm sure some of you will only be too happy to point out to us. So expect updates soon...


Anonymous stefferd said...

I suppose this was the last time I worked with this company for the sound. I remember. Happy to know that years later its has become a joke :)

4:23 PM  
Blogger Blunderpop said...

A very expensive joke, mind you! we're still in court for the projector thingie... at least we got a crash-course in 'how to do things properly' and I'm quite sure that saved us a bundle after all. It's like being dropped into the deep end of the pool , while someone's screaming "now learn how to swim". Either you drown, or you start swimming :) We swam.

6:22 PM  

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