Having launched our virtual festival this year, we geeks thought we would head off to a real world festival and find out what was going down. So on Saturday we set off (before dawn) for the Cambridge Science Festival in… er… Cambridge. Check out the podcast, which includes an interview with numbers whizz Carol Vorderman and an acoustic set with Geek Poppers Intercontinental Music Lab.
And the festival runs until 22nd so there’s still time…
Well, I can’t quite believe it but launch week for Geek Pop ’09 is nearly at an end. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t tune in and rock out for the rest of the year. I know we do keep banging on about it, but that IS the benefit of a virtual festival – that and the virtual hangovers, which seem to pass far quicker than the unvirtual ones.
I’ll get to the whole Oscars-style thanks bit in a minute, but before that you might like to hear how Geek Pop looked from our side of cyberspace. Well…
The night before launch day, Geek Pop HQ looked like it had been hit by a bomb or two. We had grossly underestimated the size of the task and were being hit by a torrent of VIP wannabes sent our way by the Naked Scientists podcast. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, Barney Brown of Intercontinental Music Lab was pulling his hair out over a lost plectrum.
Launch day arrived and somehow Geek Pop kicked off (almost) on time. Headliners Amateur Transplants didn’t disappoint, pulling off an awesome headline set at The Tetrahedron. The crowds went wild for alatinpunkcircle and Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones. And Twitter was a-twit with Geek Pop love – according to @rathgar, geek love was “flowing over into other dimensions”. Twitterer @grizzlygrowls was perplexed as to how our artists could be performing on the Naked Scientists podcast and at Geek Pop, both at the same time… We informed him that a quirk of quantum theory allowed us to be everywhere all at once.
Over the week, you festival goers have been most supportive, with messages streaming in from as far afield as Australia and Minnesota. And you’ve been surprisingly well behaved. We haven’t had to clean up a single pile of vomit or pull any of you out of a mosh pit. But if I’ve got anything bad to say about you lot it’s that you’d lose your heads if they weren’t screwed on. All sorts of things have appeared in the Lost and Found area – glass eyes, socks, marbles… and if anyone does come across Bill’s virginity could they please return it to him as soon as possible? Thanks. Even our artists couldn’t keep hold of anything – within minutes of Geek Pop opening its gates, the boys from Radium88 were at Lost and Found claiming to have misplaced a yak.
Like a bunch of luvvies, we spent a lot of our time schmoozing with the bands in the Green Room. I’m not sure what impressed them the most – the fact that it was aboard a virtual yacht, or the sandwiches. Although in Being 747′s case, I can safely say it was the latter.
So now to the thank yous. And while we’re on the subject of virtual yachts, we should thank Hu Lynn for ours – and all the other stage designs. Of course, we’d like to thank all our bands for offering up their music (and time) free of charge. And there are numerous others who have given up their evenings and weekends for the cause – perhaps most notably Molehill Media and break dancer Keir Moffat, for the awesome “geeky dancer” promo video. But as Keir said to us, he’s sure to be a hit with the ladies now… We’d also like to thank Richard West for his web skills and Karen (you know who you are) for being our biggest fan and wearing her Geek Pop pin badge day in, day out.
And so, I bid you adieu for another year. It’s been emotional.
For Spirit of Play, this is Day Seven in the wonderful world of geek pop – and the amazing thing is, we still have our tent, we still have our passes to the VIP area, and all that’s been lost is the keyboard player’s innocence. To compensate, we did stumble (virtually) across his old Green Flash shoes.
We’ve also stumbled around the various stages, gawping at the videos and wondering if “Wave or Particle” (that’s one of ours, you know…) could be remixed to sound more like this by Geek Poppers On Rails. Anybody who can explore natural tunings and harmonics by cycling seven sine waves in varying time frames should be signed up for Geek Pop 2010 forthwith. Meanwhile, we will concentrate on our next gig.
Ooh, and staring at the score for that On Rails track has reminded us that the SOP keyboard player, Will, can write poems – see below for the evidence . . . .
Around the hill the footpath bends,
Crosses the summit, then descends
Tracing our footsteps in reverse.
The wind is definitely worse
And you are quieter than before:
The mute expression of a Law
That says I’m not just tired and wet
But exponentially desperate.
I know this is the right way back;
The five-bar gate, the single track,
Those curtains drawn against the storm -
That could be us. We could be warm,
Watching a Bond movie (“Oh, James!”)
And millions go up in flames.
Instead, the road begins to turn.
You disappear. I’ve yet to learn
That this is why it never ends.
Around the hill the footpath bends.
Michael (Spirit of Play).
Well, this is unheard of – I’m sat here in the press office at a festival, and the computers all work, the WiFi’s quick, and there’s even a man in a t-shirt that says “technical support” (the t-shirt, not the man).
I’m Adam by the way; I’m half of Amateur Transplants – a sweary, singy, doctor double-act. We’ve just finished our set at the Tetrahedron – it seemed to go pretty well (although someone did throw a burette at us near the start. I assumed that was a bad sign, but Suman thought burettes might be what geeks throw instead of knickers).
I’ll have to keep this quick – we’re manning the first aid tent in about half an hour. Lord knows what sort of injuries you get at a festival – trench foot maybe? Not entirely convinced I’d know what to do with trench foot. I might have to Google it when I get there – does the WiFi stretch to the first-aid tent? I’ll ask the technical support man in a minute.
So, what better way to spend National Science & Engineering Week than conducting my own investigation into the effects of virtual scrumpy? Especially when combined with a constant barrage of geekrock soundwaves (or are they particles? Best ask Spirit of Play). My conclusions thus far have been somewhat hazy, but one thing is for certain – the fermented product of orchards can transform your mind into a chaotic fractal of TERROR if you don’t watch out.
Over the past few days, I have stumbled in on many musical marvels, my favourites of which are:
On the Reproductive Stage, Dalmatian Rex & the Eightones proved to be the perfect afternoon soundtrack with their soothing drone akin to the likes of Stereolab, but with greater Krautrock leanings. I get the feeling that they love an octopus. I don’t blame them – a cephalopod as smart as a dog? Surely one of the greatest invertebrates of all time!
Professor Science: perhaps a glimpse of a parallel universe has been revealed to us here whereby Buddy Holly survived the plane crash and dedicated the rest of his musical output to actually being a geek – rather than just looking like one. ‘Sweet Home Apparatus’ was my highlight of a storming set.
Intercontinental Music Lab over at the Tesla Tent was a real treat – in particular their song about the fictional evil genius, Dr Robotnik. Some great insights into the psyche of this pointless computer game megalomaniac as well as some excellent observations on his appearance, claiming him to be ‘the spit of Windsor Davies’ and possessing ‘slender legs like Red Rum’ – all delivered with the diction of the late great Vivian Stanshall. Top notch!
Other acts worth a mention so far have to be the return of the Amateur Transplants – I remember them from last year. Kind of like a scientific Richard Stillgoe, only actually funny. The Standards also had a stand-out song about string theory which frankly wrapped my mind into a knot. Our Dave from Being 747 also has a song about this which will feature in our band’s next musical adventure into the complete history of science – watch out for that! The Standards also reminded me of a fantastic group from up around our home in Yorkshire called Shatner. Perhaps the mighty Shatner will get their chance to peddle their time-defying pop in next year’s festival? Yesterday’s music, tomorrow – apparently.
Right then, I’m off to try and find our lost giant prehistoric sea-scorpion microphone stand – perhaps it scuttled over to the Lost & Found area? OK – Don’t forget to catch us as we perform our natural history musical opus ‘Amoeba to Zebra‘ on the Reproductive Stage. We’ve been touring this show around schools in the UK for the last year or so to rapturous feedback from staff and pupils alike. It is actually designed to have full relevance to the national curriculum in biology and we are planning the release of the album of the show to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ later this year. Please come and check us out at the festival, or see the whole story with video clips and more tunes at www.amoebatozebra.co.uk – we’re available for schools/museums/zoos/all manner of geek shindigs… Get in touch!
Steve out of Being 747.
Hello! I’m back after a hectic weekend.
Well, how is everyone? It’s Monday morning, which is nobody’s favourite time of week, but here at Geek Pop the sun is shining and we are looking forward to a whole week’s worth of Geek Pop fun.
First off, we are launching our daily Geek Pop quiz today on the blog and on Twitter: five questions, one winner. Send your answers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a direct message on Twitter. The prize? Well one lucky winner per day will be sent a lovely Let’s Tea Party pin badge. There are prizes, and then there are prizes, and this is definitely a prize.
Aside from that, we’ve had reports of some missing property over at the Lost and Found area, so if you have found anything, then please do send us a picture of it. I’m starting to think I’m not going to get my wellies back…
We had an amazing Geek Pop party on Saturday night so there were a few virtual hangovers on Sunday morning. Pictures to follow. If anyone else has had or is planning a Geek Pop party then send in your photos to email@example.com or let us know through the blog, Twitter or Facebook.
Also, if anyone has spotted any celebrity Geek Pop festival goers in the crowd then we’re keeping a look out for famous faces. I swear I saw Kanye West earlier.
Keep it geeky,
Welcome everybody to Geek Pop ’09! I’m Jim, one of a team of self-confessed geeks who have been putting together a celebration of science, music and creativity, free for everybody to enjoy for the next year.
For those new to the Geek Pop experience, then yes, this is a music festival and it can be found just off the Information Superhighway nestled snugly in between Facebook and Twitter (which incidentally you can find us on: join the Facebook group here or follow our tweetings here). Of course, we already know this because you and I are already here.
Also, a very warm welcome to those of you coming back for your second Geek Pop; I hope you kept your (virtual) wristbands on from last year. There have been quite a few changes since Geek Pop ’08, so if you’re in need of direction or are still not exactly sure what an online virtual music festival actually is then all is explained here, but if you’re ready to get stuck in to some festival action then read on.
First of all, if you want a starting point, then have a listen to our highlights podcast, which is jam packed with some of our favourite moments from this year’s bands. If you’re one of those busy types, you can even stick it on your mp3 player and listen to it while doing something boring. Marvelous.
You can also investigate all the musical offerings along with interviews with some of the bands, at your own pace, by checking out the different stages. Our main stage is The Tetrahedron, which is better than a pyramid because it has less corners. You can find some of our best known performers here such as Let’s Tea Party and Amateur Transplants. Featuring some of the rock-based acts and with a natural science flavour the Reproductive Stage returns for its second year at Geek Pop. The reproductive theme has been taken literally by headliners Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones, who publicly declare their love for an octopus… If electro music is more your bag, then the Telsa Tent should cater for all your electronica, ambient, Sonic the Hedgehog and/or post-pop needs. If it’s anything like last year, then the atmosphere will surely be electric… [groans] Finally, the Experimental Stage is your gateway into the world that even in a whole festival of geeks, is well, quite geeky. Mathematically constructed sine curves transformed into music are just one of the wonders that await geek poppers brave enough to venture in.
But it’s not just about the music. This year there will be plenty of other exciting things going on. First off, just like any other responsible festival, we have set up a lost and found facility, so if you do happen to misplace something, from your virtual wellies to your stylish Geek Pop pin badge, then be sure to have a look. Speaking of pin badges, you can buy them along with t-shirts, mousemats and a variety of geeky paraphernalia at the Geek Pop shop.
From Monday 9th March for National Science and Engineering Week, myself and some of our artists will be updating this festival diary blog with our experiences at this year’s festival. Of course, you’re all invited to leave your comments on the blog, as you can do at the stages. We’d very much like to hear what the Geek Pop festival goer has to say, so please leave your feedback here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and have a flipping brilliant Geek Pop ’09.
Well, here it is. It’s what you’ve all been waiting for… all your favourite sci-pop bands in one virtual field, ahem. And these are our highlights.
Your host for the festival podcast is Vicky, who is joined at Geek Pop by roving reporters Hayley and Jim, bringing you all the fun from around the festival.
To download individual tracks, run along to the festival site at http://www.geekpop.co.uk, where you can browse by stage and artist. And there’s a lot more going on than we could cover in one podcast!
Word on the street is that Geek Pop ’09 is going to be c-raaaaazy, not to mention awesome. We’ve just added a new ‘2009‘ page which guides you through the various stages and gives you a feel for what Geek Pop ’09 is going to be like. Go on, get into the festival vibe!
“See” you on the 6th,