The Welcome to Rockville experience was, as you may have already heard, full of ups and downs. Day one was fraught with inclement weather which saw the entire crowd of almost 70,000 people evacuated no less than twice. Everyone was ordered to either go back to their cars or huddle with the masses under a nearby overpass until the storm cleared. Chants of “rain or shine” could be heard throughout the crowd as social media blew up with complaints tagged #WelcometoRainville from people desperate to see their favorite bands and even demanding refunds. I personally experienced only the later of the two evacuations and, honestly, it was a bit frightening. Between the angry people and the ominous black clouds looming overhead, there were moments where I feared for our safety; but after about an hour, the storm passed and we were allowed back into the park which was, by now, more like a mud pit. The storm had whole areas washed out and moving from one part to the next required waders.
The last few weeks saw an estimated 75,000 people converge on Austin, Texas for one of the country’s biggest music and media festivals, SXSW. Filmmakers, tech gurus and, of course, musicians from all over the world came to show us their stuff, bringing make-it-or-break-it attitudes to the heart of Texas in an effort to score that big deal. It’s crazy, crowded, and sometimes downright bizarre, but it has become a staple of Austin music culture and possibly the most anticipated event of the year.
ViViD‘s Q&A panel was held Friday afternoon before their live. The band was already seated at a long table at the front of the room when the small but excited group of fans was ushered in. They all looked dashing and cheerful, flashing wide smiles at the crowd as we shuffled in. I took a seat at the edge of the crowd, trying not to be distracted by the wild Ken-chan lurking about taking pictures and futzing with the sound (as an avid AGENT, this was difficult for me). Shion of Babel Entertainment acted as MC and with an enthusiastic “Let’s kick it!” we got started.
Can I just say…wow. I’ve never been to a music festival of such epically nerdy proportions. And I mean that in a good way. Orlando Nerd Fest, held August 7-12, is the first of it’s kind. A music festival dedicated entirely to Nerd Core music and nerd culture. Usually, first-time cons make me a little…nervous, but with an all-star lineup that included big names such as Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu, World of Warcraft composer, Jason Hayes, the crazy android band, Steam Powered Giraffe, and Nerd Core rapper MC Frontalot, you know it has to be good, so I went in with high expectations. I have to say, despite a few minor frustrations that I’m sure will be cleared up by next year, I was not disappointed.