These days, when more and more demoparties are held around Europe each year, I guess I should write down my experiments of organizing a first-time party, about it's ups and downs. As no-one really knows, I was the mainorganizer of the Mekanisaatio'01 demoparty, held in Lempäälä, Finland. This was a small party, organized 100% by newbies and unfamous people.
When you get that spark in your mind, the one that tells you that you really should organize a party in your town, don't let that spark fade away before the party is held. It is important to believe in success and to keep pushing to it from the first idea to the last minutes of cleaning up the party hall. You should also gather around other organizers who show real interest in the party's nature and are willing to risk their money / time / fame for it.
STEP 1 - PLACE AND TIMING
The most important thing is the partyarea itself. Ask from schools, if you can rent their gyms, or auditoriums. Then ask your local town or city's administrators for other public places that could be rent for this sort of event. Never proceed with party-planning until you are sure you find a place that is affordable, has capacity for enough people and for the electric consumption a demoparty requires. And always reserve the place as early as you can, you should leave at least 2 or 3 months to work on other things before the actual party. When the time and place are set, you are halfway there already. No one needs no longer to sleep outside or anything.
STEP 2 - GETTING SPONSORS
Always act selfconfident when talking to potential sponsors. Don't tell them that you need 10 network-hubs and allow them to place an advertisement on the backwall of the area. Instead you should always clearly and calmly explain what a demoparty is in the first place. What's it like in there, and what kind of people go to these parties. Then you can state, what you would require to for instance build up the network or the electric capacity for the event. Then let the sponsors tell you how much advertisement they want for the equipment they are able to support you with. Also, never just try one sponsorcandidate at once, send e-mail, or pay a visit to as many companies as there are in the area, that could have something to do with sceners. The local women's clouthing for instance wouldn't seem like a very promising sponsor-candidate.
STEP 3 - GETTING VISITORS
Now this is the most important part after the first one. Also the way you advertise pretty much sets up the mood of the party. If you advertise at local schools and tell everyone that you have 100mbit LAN and stuff, you can be sure it will be another Quake-LAN you are organizing. Instead try to direct your advertising primarily to scene-related places. IRC and webpages are great for the purpose. The best way through IRC is to tell about the party to 10 of your good scener friends.. which will each tell the news to 10 new friends.. you could get amazed how the news spread even if you just give little hints to the right people about your upcoming party. Also on the web, be sure to advertise on all party-lists, Ojuice and Scenet are the places to start with.
STEP 4 - ORGANIZSERS
Make clear to each organizer way before the party what they are each responsible for. This way you don't have to do it all by yourself and take the blame. One could take care that you have audio/video equipment for the party, one could take care of tables and chairs, while the third one is responsible for showing the compos on the screen. One person is also always good to have, who's job is just to wander around the partyplace, and listen to people, what they like, what they want, so you can always try to give the people what they want. It's rare that someone who has something bad to say about the party actually comes and says the thing to the organizers. Instead the bad blood starts spreading within the partyguests and later everyone thinks the party sucks.
STEP 5 - PARTYTIME
At this point, the months of careful preparation pay off.. If you've taken care of everything forehand, now it should be partytime for both the visitors and the organizers! The hardest work is behind, now just loosen up a little bit and let the party flow. Try to give the visitors what they need, or at least give very sympaethic reasons and answers why they can't drink inside, watch porn all the time on the bigscreen, harass the neighbors by singing outside loudly.. or whatever. Also, don't ever get stuck into the organizer area. Instead join the party yourself, go out there and meet the people, that gives the visitors a warm feeling that the organizers really care and do this for fun, not for money. Prerun all the compos on your organizer-computer before showing them on the big screen. This way you can practise a little on how you will show the prods and in which order to make the compos interesting.
STEP 6 - CHILLING
Each organizer should take part in the huge cleaning session after the party.. This way you can share experiences and troubles with other organizers, laugh at your mistakes and just cool the whole thing down. After the cleaning session, you are all exhausted, but you know you pulled the thing through and whatever went wrong, you all did your best and should together make each organizer believe that what you did was a great thing. Later again you can gently ask the visitors how they liked the party. And if it was organized second time, what more could they want the next time?
This is just a glimpse at what you need to take care of to make the party pleasant for organizing and visitors. There are millions of these little things you have to do just right to make the party work. But every organized party is worth it if the organizers do their best. And since there never is enough parties (especially the small 20-100 people intimate ones), go out there and organize your own parties. It's for the scene spirit after all.
PAIN octobre/2001 by optimus/dirty minds
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