Indietracks 2010 - FinchleyTed's issues and problems

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FinchleyTed
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Indietracks 2010 - FinchleyTed's issues and problems

Post by FinchleyTed » Thu Aug 26, 2010 13:58

Firstly, could I just say how fantastic Attagirl and CSP were: beaming, clearly enjoying themselves in the moment and having fun, bopping as much as the punters, and also approachable about what they were playing – thank you!

However I believe there are serious issues with all three disco venues and set-ups, and the same principal problems in all of them.

Too light & bright
Firstly, all three spaces of the venues were too light & bright, so that in my opinion punters were always battling uphill to dance and enjoy themselves unselfconsciously, against unforgiving harsh white light blasting the area.

Not loud enough
Secondly, all three venues were not loud enough, and in evidence all of them had only about a quarter to a third, once or twice a half, of the potential dance-floor area occupied. This wasn’t a numbers thing: there were plenty of potential boppers some way from the active dance floor area standing about, or outside the venue, or passing by. In my opinion the issue was, and one could see it, that punters only felt comfortable in occupying a small part of the venue, close enough to the speakers, so as to dance unselfconsciously. The rest of the potential dance-floor area was only for the really brave punters who were able to bop along in a space where you could just about hear yourself dance. Punters did try to make the most of the small dance floor area, but were always battling against inadequate volume levels.

In mitigation for the camp site venue, it may have been bound by some sort of volume limit - but then there was even more reason to dim the harsh lights to assist in creating ambience. But by the same token surely the marquee wasn’t under volume restrictions, and so the lack of beef in the marquee’s sound level was disappointing and inexplicable. The shed’s volume level wasn’t too bad, but again the danceable-level sound area was still confined to a relatively small area and this was reflected in dancing only taking place in the area from the soundperson’s pen to the stage.

Sound quality
Thirdly, all three venues appeared to have under-powered equipment & speakers for the DJs, or alternatively the DJs didn’t have the equipment to handle the venues, I am not sure which. Either way the sound was sludgy in all three venues. As anecdotal evidence: I once recorded snatches of a bunch of songs, on my phone, at a God-forsaken disco in Birmingham a couple of years ago, after missing the last train, and afterwards I was able to pick out the lyrics for all but a handful of songs later on and follow the tunes up. By contrast most of the score or so of snippets of songs with lyrics that I recorded in the shed are impossible to make out, as the sound was so sludgy.

Equipment
Fourthly, both Attagirl and CAP had two or three record mishaps, or whatever you call them, where the song cut out briefly or one track didn’t neatly segue into another. It did surprise each of them, so I infer it was equipment issues, which brings us back to the previous point of employing more robust equipment.

Dance floors
Fifthly, the camp site, and especially the marquee, had terrible ‘dance floors.’ The marquee was pitched over the really unattractive, dangerous-looking, large-sized gravel stones of a working area of the railway site, and someone would have done themselves a nasty injury, if they had slipped & fallen onto the ground there. The camp site venue was little better, but perhaps the stipulations were that it had to be set up to avoid damage to grassed areas. You couldn’t get more unwelcoming ‘dance floors’ unless perhaps you held the discos in a muddy field or a dung-covered paddock. Couldn’t the budget stretch to some cheap matting to create something resembling a dance floor, where punters would feel safe to throw themselves about a bit more? (Although the atrocious dance floors didn’t stop a number of punters doing just that, the risk of injury from a fall was very real.)

Use of venue space
Sixthly, there was no attempt to make creative use of the venue space. How about not just having harsh white light? Why not put some coloured paper over the fluorescent lights, at least from time to time, during the event? Is a mirror ball too passé? Could not some lighting have been lent from the Outdoor stage, plus one of the lighting technicians been invited to do something simple but attractive with the lighting? What about inviting the go-go dancers from earlier in the day to give an impromptu set and help to get the punters motivated and moving? What about some simple VJing? What about inviting more proficient punters to give a brief solo performance to a favourite song? Or a couple, or even an impromptu ‘dance troupe’ of some sort?

Lack of performers about, as proof
But don’t let my words only do the talking: walking-the-walk-wise: if the discos had really been draw-cards, with real ambience from lower lighting, louder, clearer volume, attractive & inviting dance floors, then they would have been a lot fuller, and perhaps more significantly, attracted the festival performers themselves. There was a good showing of numbers for the shed, but it was still a fraction of the potentially still-up-for-it-punters that had been bopping in front of the main stage. The disco tents too had similar fractions of the potential numbers they could have had, if they had been more attractive venues to check out and stay in. There might have been one or two other performers out & about in the discos over the three nights, but I only ever saw Jyoti Mishra sticking with the disco in the shed on Sat & Sun – and what a dude too. If the discos had really been thrilling disco events to party at, then we would have seen performers getting down in them – but either the performers took one look at the GSCE-year-celebrations-level organisation of them and thought no thanks – or word had spread to the performers at large that the discos were not worth checking out.

Track choice
Seventhly, there was some sort of provincialism, even conservatism, in the track choices. ‘French Navy’ was played at least three times over the various events, but when I suggested ‘Indiepop Angel’ I was met by what appeared to be incomprehension by one DJ, and then a bit later when I suggested to a member of the DJ’s crew that it would have been a better song to play for another, to me, questionable track just played, I was informed apparently disdainfully that ‘only about three people’ would know the song, and that I should ‘just start my own club night’. It seems clear to me that, when a knowledgeable player, associated with the DJ and likely a DJ themselves, states that a quintessential Indiepop anthem / call to arms such as ‘Indiepop Angel’ is not appropriate to ever play at an Indiepop disco, then provincialism or even conservatism has crept into DJ & crew’s choices.

So in summary, to create some atmosphere & ambience on these dance floors, for God’s sake turn the lighting down, get the volume up, get stronger equipment, actually make it a dance floor, and so something creative with the venue space – and when most of venue space is truly rocking out, and also filled with a bunch of performers and band members from earlier in the day, you will know you have succeeded.

So, in summary too, in terms of looking to create an ambience of a timeless, endless, magical, alternative world of joyous Indiepop bopping, for sustained periods during the discos, the Indietracks’ DJs, although always having their hearts in the right place, and assisted as much as they could be by punters’ joie de vivre, sadly ultimately fail on multiple levels in trying to achieve this.

Civilian responses only please
Could I ask that if you’re going to comment on this, can it please be other civilians from the festival? Part-time or full-time DJs, or members of the extended crew of the DJs there, or both, are of course going to defend the venues and experience of them that they and their friends & acquaintances performed in; so can we please hear from other regular punters on these opinions / issues instead.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by humblebee » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:01

Who's 'Indiepop Angel' by then? Is it good?

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by moopind » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:03

The first post has to be a wind-up.
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by a layer of chips » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:04

I blame the children.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by stolenwine » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:08

i want vj-ing!
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by caramarydaisy » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:09

why 'civillian' responses only?

a lot of the organisers are ALSO performers, djs, gig organisers, previous attendees and so forth. im sure theyd love to address yr points and surely that would be the most constructive way to handle any complaint/discussion thereof?

at the end of the day its a festival tho isnt it? it's never going to be the same as being in an enclosed purpose built space in terms of sound quality/equipment!
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by a layer of chips » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:09

stolenwine wrote:i want vj-ing!
Dirty girl.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by islandhopper » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:10

humblebee wrote:Who's 'Indiepop Angel' by then? Is it good?
Don't know it. All I requested was some Kate Nash from Sandy. It was played. The discos were therefore a 100% success for me. Possibly even 110%. I won't go in for that million% nonsense they go in for on X Factor though.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by caramarydaisy » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:11

what kate nash song?
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by islandhopper » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:12

And at least those pesky families were gone by disco time, eh? Didn't have to struggle to hear over the sound of giggling infants.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by islandhopper » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:12

caramarydaisy wrote:what kate nash song?
I believe it was Do Wah Doo (or however you spell it).

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by tompony » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:14

I found it a little hard to hear some of the bands, because of the trains going past. Maybe next time the festival could be held at a more suitable venue, not as close to a railway line? For example, I've heard that the O2 Arena is well suited to live music events.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by caramarydaisy » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:15

islandhopper wrote:
caramarydaisy wrote:what kate nash song?
I believe it was Do Wah Doo (or however you spell it).
that is a GREAT song. i often play that when i dj, proof if ever was needed that i should get asked next year ;)
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by a layer of chips » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:16

I'll see you all at Reading this weekend, fellow civilians.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by caramarydaisy » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:18

a layer of chips wrote:I'll see you all at Reading this weekend, fellow civilians.
mosh pit for blink 182, yeah?
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by a layer of chips » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:19

Only if it's not too bright. Kiss my shades.

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by stolenwine » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:21

"kiss my shades too"

(sorry, couldn't help it)
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by caramarydaisy » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:22

\m/
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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by indiansummer » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:25

FinchleyTed wrote:Firstly ... achieve this.
...and what's the deal with airline food?!?
Civilian responses only please
Could I ask that if you’re going to comment on this, can it please be other civilians from the festival? Part-time or full-time DJs, or members of the extended crew of the DJs there, or both, are of course going to defend the venues and experience of them that they and their friends & acquaintances performed in; so can we please hear from other regular punters on these opinions / issues instead.
civilian here. i didn't notice any of the problems you mentioned, but in fairness i was too busy not being a whinging bore

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Re: Indietracks 2010 - Discos' issues and problems

Post by stolenwine » Thu Aug 26, 2010 14:25

islandhopper wrote:
humblebee wrote:Who's 'Indiepop Angel' by then? Is it good?
Don't know it. All I requested was some Kate Nash from Sandy. It was played. The discos were therefore a 100% success for me. Possibly even 110%. I won't go in for that million% nonsense they go in for on X Factor though.
thanks chris! :D i bet finchley ted would've had a guilty dance to that one.
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