I know its been an awful long time since anything was posted here. Thats mainly because its been really quiet. With Covid ruining our ability to get together and play and decimating the live music industry there hasn't been much to report. That being said we're nearly through to the other side and Band Room Blitz was finally taken out for its very first music festival! Loud as Hell in Drumheller, Alberta. 3 days (or 4 if you hit the kick off party) of deafening metal music, wildfire smoke, and a whole lot of dust. Today on this blog I'm going to share some insights I now have on surviving a long haul outdoor event as a vendor. But first, how did we do?
Band Room Blitz preformed phenominally. I would describe my attitude going in as "cautiously pessimistic". With Covid utterly destroying my entire promotional plan for the game I wanted to make sure I didn't psych myself up too much. This fest was put together within the span of a month, wildfire smoke was all pervasive, the weather was in the high 30's the entire time, and Alberta had only just allowed events like this to go ahead. Needless to say I expected attendance to be smaller than typical.
In spite of all that Loud as Hell was a huge success. We (myself and my booth helper Ethan) smashed my goal of 4 copies of band room blitz sold per day. We sold at least 5 every day and completely unloaded all 12 shiny copies on the very first (half) day. What can I say? Metalheads love coming up with fun band names. Everyone who popped by the booth was into it and many came by throughout the fest to drop off band names they had thought of. While the game did amazingly, I did not. By the end of the event my feet had become painfully swollen and my throat was burning with the force of a thousand suns.
So, on to advice regarding surviving an outdoor music festival as a vendor. If you just want bullet points I'll be bolding the main tips.
While we thought we had enough ice and cold drinks to get us through the weekend we were woefully mistaken. We also had no way of leaving the booth to get more supplies from town. Thankfully friends brought us some ice and the food vendor happily shared giant freezies with us. To prevent this situation next year we'll be sure to pre-schedule at least one trip into town to re-stock supplies. Things like Ice, water, and sun screen.
Another misfortune was that the vendor tents faced west. While it was nice to be able to see the mainstage from our booth it also made it so that later in the day that awful ball of fire in the sky would be blasting its death rays right into our tent. Our booth neighbors, Metalheads United (oragnizers of The Electric Highway Music Festival) brought a beach umbrella and used that to give us some shelter. So on that note we'll definitely bring some kind of sun shade for when the sun gets low.
Seriously consider bringing compression socks. I'm not kidding. The heat plus the large amount of standing led to some major swelling on my poor feet. At one point I loosened my sandals to relieve the pressure and they just expanded to fill in the space. No bueno.
While there was a nice breeze sometimes, that was definitely not the case most of the time in the late afternoon. While it was a dry heat, without that wind we were basically cooking in an oven. So why not make it a convection oven and bring a fan? The booth had power so it would have been a total life saver. Our neighbors on the other side had a fan like this one, and man was I jealous. Gotta get one of those...
One issue that was unique to our booth is that we're the only vendor that actually needs to explain our product. The other vendors sold soaps, shirts, art, drinking horns, leatherwork, things like that. Stuff you can immediately understand by looking at it. Unforunately we also had more people popping by the booth while bands were on than in-between sets. Which lead to a whole lot of yelling. I actually have a preventative solution for this and a remedy. First, if you have to yell, make sure you bring an anti-infalmmitory like Ibuprofin and losenges. Your vocal chords will thank you. Next, consider your signage. If you can make a table mat that fully explains the game you will save your voice a whole lot of stress. Along with laying out cards and components, we opted for a QR code that lead to a how to play video and a quick explainer video. But most people aren't interested in pulling up youtube videos at a music festival. And thats if they even have recepetion.
Unfortunately there is nothing you can really do about all the dust except bring a rag and wipe everything down every few hours.
This is a more general tip you can use at any kind of event, but I think we found a cool trick at Loud as Hell. If you can get people excited about your game you're more likely to get a sale. If you can get people returning to your booth multiple times you have more opportunity to get them excited. What we did was pick two category cards each day and got people to give us band names fitting the cards. We had a whiteboard up and added to it throughout the day. We had people buy a copy right away and come back multiple times just to see what people came up with. We also had some folks come by multiple times but only commiting to the buy after trying it a few times. Here's what we got from day one and day two
All in all, Loud as Hell 9 was an absolute blast. Despite my body hating me and not being shy informing me about it, I very much look foreward to Loud as Hell 10 and slinging more red hot band names with the Alberta metalhead community. The organizers deserve tons of recognition for putting on such a killer party in such a small amount of time and having everything run as smoothly as it did.
Loud as Hell, Tired as F#@%