I decided to take a break from writing reviews and instead do a guide on how to do a chiptune event, based on my previous experiences. This is an opinionated piece and obviously everyone will have their own way of setting up their own events. If you have a different way of doing things please voice your opinion below, or on the twitters. Let’s discuss!
In light of this guide, I am also beginning yet another Chip Bit Day event! Details can be found at the bottom of this article.
So let’s begin!
But where to begin?
To start, everything starts with an idea. Chip Bit Day first began as an idea back in the fall of 2015. I’d had an extremely good 1st year for my blog, ‘Chip Bit Sid’, and it had caused me to think where else would I like to take my project. Prior to this idea, I’d had experience trying to help set up an event the record label, ‘We Are The Future’, and FML that was so hard (For context, WATF! was a record I started helping back in 2014, in which were putting out nostalgic music of the 90s & 80s). In the end it never got off the ground, but it had given me the basis of how NOT to do events. I’ll get to that later in a separate paragraph however, as both Chip Bit Day & Cheesy Chips have good points towards this as well.
The first real idea for Chip Bit Day came from the realisation that my blog Chip Bit Sid would be having its 1st birthday during April. Although to me this sounded a bit egotistical, it at least was a good starting point to jump from. During the Christmas period I let this idea stew, until I felt it was something I really wanted to do.
The First Hurdle: Setting the bones of the event
Now there are few good things that you need to allow any event have a fighting chance.
• Money – This obviously goes without saying. You could maybe use a crowd funder to help your event, but you at least need some kind of capital for things such as, Venue Hire or PR.
• Knowledge of the community – Without the knowledge of the community or the genre, it would be incredibly hard to actually do an event. This kind of goes in hand with the third point, for example; if you have the connections with the artists in the community, it makes it easier interact.
• Friends – I would say this is probably one of the most important points for you to have for events. Without any friends to either give you advice on how to take your event, or even help out at it. The whole ‘GameFace’ crew gave me a lot of fantastic advice on how I should do Chip Bit Day, as well as helping out a little on the day. The Same could be said for artists in the chiptune community & my close friends, as they were extremely helpful too!
• The Confidence – You need this if you’re going to be sending out emails and organising everything. If I’d thought of this a few years ago, I’d never have done it. However, if you have a group of friends willing to help you, then it’ll be a lot easier!
I’m sure there are a few more, but these are the strongest ones that stood out for me back then anyway.
Even after going over these points & understanding them, I’d still constantly reassess them so you’re in the know. Constantly be vocal about your event so people know about it, but no spamming! Keep track of your money as well, adding & subtracting the cost & expenses. For this I used a spreadsheet & functions, constantly updating it with what was being taken. There’s nothing worse than finding out that you’ve overspent!
Overwhelmed? Good, now you can now look the best bit; artists & venues!
Where should I look & who should I get?
There are a couple of various ways to look at hiring venues. The most obvious way is looking them up yourself and contacting them. Either from their website, viral means from friends, or using a site like ‘hirespace’. Honestly this area wasn’t my strong point, and it took me a while to find a good venue. I found myself left in the dark with venues, one even messing around, by double booking me, TWICE!
So yeah, most venues can be w**kers. However it’s about how you handle them. Be strong & relentless, as most tend to be sporadic with their communication.
For dates, always book your times WELL IN ADVANCE, either a Friday evening or Saturday. You don’t want to book your night on a Monday, then end with just Johnny Blogs being the only punter there. This was one thing I learned from Cheesy Chips. I’ll reiterate this later on.
Finally, make sure you allocate how much space, the equipment they use, if they have tables, if it’s 18+/21+. The latter is especially important, as if you do this in somewhere like USA and in a bar, your target audience will be severely smaller. Ask the venue this, unless they don’t tell you already, as they could implement ID checks to stop minors from drinking.
To remember the costs of the venue, add it into the spreadsheet.
As the chiptune community is extremely close together, it is particularly easy to find an artist and host them. The Majority just want to play and have a good time with fellow chiptunerds & friends alike.
For ‘Chip Bit Day’ I took this on by simply messaging on group boards such as, ‘Chipwin’s FB group board’, ‘UK Chiptune Gigs’ & ‘Chipmusic.org‘. UK Chiptune Gigs, was particularly fruitful, as the community is much more closer together, rather than being states apart. I got a lot of good feedback from people like, ‘Calmdownkidder’, ‘GwEm’, ‘Auracle’ ‘.Mpegasus’, the majority of which played or helped at ‘Chip Bit Day’.
If there are any particular artists that you wish to primarily play, it would be best to message them directly. This has been something I’ve been doing a lot for Chip Bit Day 2017.
With your lineup secured, you just need to keep a good eye on the costs of each artist. Add each one with their fees attached into the spreadsheet discussed before, using equations to help you add up your total of costs.
Wow, apparently I’ve come about almost 1100 words, so let’s reflect on what NOT to do in this article.
What not to do?
- Don’t go into creating an event without having your method fully realized. That will just either waste time & money, and wasting time is something venues don’t care for. Trust me on that.
- Don’t say, Just do! As Master Yoda says, ‘there is no try’. This was something I came across with WATF! We’d just talk ideas, but never call up venues or get stuff done… besides the artwork.
- Don’t have friends you can’t rely on! If you’re asking for friends to do things for you, or help, make sure they’re reliable. With ‘Chip Bit Day’ I found myself doing the artwork myself, because what had been done wasn’t right, and was created at the last minute. However, be thankful to the ones who do help. My two brothers who both ripped on chiptune, (calling it ‘shittunes’ lol) came and helped on the merch stand. It was really appreciated.
- Don’t message expecting a reply. If you don’t get one within a week, either reply or move on.
- Don’t lose track of your money! You don’t want to be in the red.
- Don’t be disorganised. Set things up so they are easy to understand. For someone who is very dyslexic, this was a huge hurdle for me to jump. To reiterate, making a spreadsheet really helped me understand everything. It even helped me with the lineup, but I’ll save that for next time!
- Don’t forget to ask venues for every single detail. This was one thing that was a huge trouble for me, as I didn’t ask the venue the age of admission, which was 18+. This may be a stupid thing to not think of (considering the venue was a bar) but it must be said.
- Don’t go in half cocked. Know your stuff. What mixers you’re going to use. If people are bringing their own mixers. How gameboys make music. Y’know the usual stuff.
- Don’t go for just your favourite venue. Look everywhere. I never thought I’d find venues for £100 a night on weekends, but by god there are! If you know your stuff, you can even get them for free!
- Don’t book your dates really late. This is something I do a lot (haha) It always bites you in the arse, and could potentially lose revenue over it.
Okay I think that’s enough for today. Check back next month when I do part 2. It’ll be on organizing the lineup, how to handle PR, crowdfunding & the overall event!
Now that’s over let me talk about Chip Bit Day 2017. Last year on 23rd April the first outing of Chip Bit Day had a superb line up; HarleyLikesMusic, J3WEL, 2xAA, xX Critical Strike Xx, .Mpegasus, GwEm, Kenobit, Auracle, Jellyatrix, Euan Lynn & Joe Bleeps. Needless to say I got some incredible feedback from people, so I decided to host it again.
This year Chip Bit Day 2017 will be at Whiskey Jar Manchester on 6th May and will feature: Pain Perdu, PROTODOME, 2xAA, Mizkai, Space Candy, Nihilarc, Dunning Kruger, Alex Lane & Jellyatrix. Visual specialist, Idiotbox will also be returning!
Get your tickets from the Indiegogo page now, with exclusive extra perks including GB Lanyard 2.0 & two custom gameboys! Prices below:
• Early Bird Ticket: £5
• Regular Ticket: £8
• Early Bird & GB Lanyard Cart: £12
• Regular & GB Lanyard Cart: £15
Plus Much more!
Check out our indiegogo crowdfunder below!
This has been a blog post from Chip Bit Sid, a UK based Chiptune Blogger. Along with monthly features here on The ChipWIN Blog, I post twice a week on my own blog. To get in touch, please message via the social media links below! I also do my own music under the banner as ‘JELLYATRIX’.