Friday October 26th
I totally fail getting a good nights rest and wake up early. Everybody else is still asleep, so I just go and check out the hotel breakfast. Yeah pretty decent actually (and if you know how much of a picky eater I am, that really says something), especially cause its free! This is our big photo booth day, so Robert and I leave early. My power adapter broke, so I try to find a new one. Without it we will not be able to keep the computer running all day. But hey – there is a Home Depot right by the hotel – and they got nothing. Out of all possible places they advice me to check out Bed, Bath & Beyond. What? But they actually have the kind of travel adapter I need. Thats it, we’re good to go! As we roll into the Holiday Inn parking lot the line for registration just starts to form outside. We get our stuff together, finish the decorations and when the doors open at noon everything is perfect.
To summarize the next 6 hours: Photo Booth was great! We had people coming to check us out pretty much the entire time, so we were busy but not overrun. There were two or three occasions when there was a little queue for the printing and there were few moment with nobody at all. Felt good that way. Lots of people were really appreciative and liked what we did. Many took more than one image, and often wanted multiple copies. We had streamlined our approach and had almost no technical problems neither. This was almost perfect! I can barely think of things to improve. Last year we had things more complicated and that caused all kinds of small issues, but we did a good job of fixing those. Although we did not have the giant Fest backdrop, and therefore improvised with a smaller banner and the black muslin, I’d have to admit I like this one much better than last year. It looks more classy (yeah I know, to make up for the classy-ness we have people wear stupid props!) and I dig it. Also people came up with ideas of their own. We had a pyramid, we had people made all kinds of poses and faces. The hammer prop we were given by the Orlando comic shop was definitely a peoples favorite.
The highlight happened towards the very end. The day before I got a message on Facebook, and reading it I thought “wow!” Somebody told us he was going to propose to his girlfriend right there in the photobooth and wanted us to take a photo! And it happened. And she said yes! The pictures are even more special cause right in this very moment the banner decides to come off and is falling down. Guess even the gaffer tape could not handle the awesomeness. Congratulations and good luck to Danny and Sarah! And then a few minutes after the proposal some guy shows up with a pizza slice costume, and he decides that this is the only thing (!!) he wants to wear. I told Kendra “I know this sounds weird, but we have people proposing and other getting naked – I feel like we’re really archiving something here!”
Registration goes on until about 6pm when the line actually comes to an end. And we pack our crap together. Which means: The actual Fest is starting right now. And the next photo booth is not until the end of the event, so we are good to check it out. At Fest 10 the Friday sucked for me for the most part. I had trouble at a venue, I was worn down by the entire day of photography even before the music started and so I only saw one set of one band playing. (which was great at least!) I was really hoping to do better this time.
This also means the time of making choices starts. There are a dozen bands playing at any given time and you can only watch one, maybe two if you change venues in the middle of a set. Its tempting to see the Kepi Ghoulie/Mean Jeans set, but I decide that I cannot not watch the Dopamines. Robert drops me off at 8 Seconds, I’m actually allowed in this time, and so Fest starts.
The Dopamines set is great. I like it better than the one of the pre-show. Can’t really say why. Maybe because there are more people, more shenanigans with the other bands and friends that are around. Highlights include the big guy falling over head first into the pit and Jon Lewis kicking a beer can, which sprays beer all over Servo. He didn’t know there was still liquid in it. The Dopamines always put on a good show anyways.
Next I walk down all the way to 1982 to see the Borderlines. Its the Leftovers without Kurt Baker and they got a Jetty Boy on bass instead. Met all those guys years ago. They are fun and still kind of a new band. Capitalist Kids are next who I never heard of, but I like their pop punk. I even realize that there was a Mr. T Experience cover in between.
Back the other direction to the New Top Spot for the Copyrights. So this a completely new venue. So new that this is the very first night they even open. And they only did to help out Fest when another venue couldn’t do it. Its all still very improvised and make-shift but it works. For the most part, except the bass amp causes trouble, making it a little difficult for the Copyrights. But when they are going, they go strong. Matt (the guitar player of the Borerlines/Leftovers) does a few crowdsurd, which comes an abrupt end when he hits the ground hard at some point. People carry him out, scary shit. He was okay though.
I’ve seen Off With Their Heads more than any other band, but they are still more exiting than the alternatives to we head back to 8 Seconds for their set. I enjoy it, so do many others. They get the entire venue to sing along. Me included. F.Y.P. are up next. I have to admit I have never listed to them, so I’m completely unfamiliar with any of the songs. None the less they are great! The band alone would have me like the set, but there is more shit going on. One guy is just messing with the dirty towels, they get thrown around, as well as the basket they are kept in. Beer and water get sprayed a lot. At one point the main security guy just decides to no longer give a fuck and joins the stupidity. Instead of fishing crowd surfers off the crowd, he just pushes them back. He starts spilling water on peoples heads and when the basked lands in the pit it goes out to the audience. Its messy and fun.
After that I find myself unable to chose from the remaining bands and end up just sitting on the street. I get a soda and a snack and hang out on my own. Then I get into this interaction with a drunk girl who walks by. She is not part of the Fest crowd, rather a ‘normal’ person going out on Friday night. Seeing my camera she is like “So you’re a photographer?” – “yes”. Her drunken ramblings don’t make much sense to me, but she decides that its important to capture something “real” – by which she means the other people that are sitting around on the street and outside the venue. So she picks up my camera, walks over and starts taking photos. I just watch what happens. After a while she is talking to this group of people, so I decide to end this experiment, I pick up her shoes and purse (which she dropped when she walked over) and exchange it for my camera. I also overhear part of the conversation where she tells that she used to be a “bad” girl, working as a stripper, but is “good” now, working with small children. Although the other guys are asking her how exactly that transformation went, we never got a satisfying answer. That concludes my night.