Welp, we’re back from this year’s Mag, and there was a lot of fun to be had. I actually spent most of it helping out at the Armadillo Tank merch booth, jamming out with Peter Cetera’s jambox and selling albums. I have to admit, it was pretty fun to hang out with the band again, especially after meeting them for the first time last year. Their show was pretty good, quite improved over last year’s, which was their first show ever.
I still have a lot of complaints with the show overall. I enjoy it primarily for the music. The concerts I attended were excellent listens with good performers, and only one of them was mediocre. I enjoyed rocking out the merch booth (may have to do that again next year!) and when I did manage to pick up a game or two in the big room-o-vidya-games, it was fun.
What needs to change?
1. Scheduling. Putting 5 bands in a 5 hour time span on Saturday night is a gigantically dumb idea. Allocate them more time. Also, don’t schedule the DoD listening party in such a way that it doesn’t begin until 1:30 AM, especially when there’s 35 tracks to listen to. There’s no reason that can’t be during the day.
2. Use better stage lighting. This year the lighting was biased way towards backlighting, and as a result there was not enough actual light on the performers. Put some more lights on the front assembly (swapping the lights in the back with the ones in the front would have been perfect), add some spot/flood white lights and get it a little brighter overall.
3. Make a photographer sticker to exempt people from bag restrictions. I asked for this last year, and it’s still important – whoever their lame-o “security” is (whose self-importance is highly inflated from what I can tell via the internet), they need to get a clue that people who are photographing the event often carry bags with lenses and other crap in it. I understand that they don’t want people stealing things, but there is a middle ground here, and a big PHOTOGRAPHER sticker should be a good exception. SnappleMan told me to get a staff badge next year, I may just have to do that.
4. Consider a bigger venue for concerts. Taking photographs to cover the events was quite difficult. People want to have fun and I want to be out of their way, but oftentimes there just isn’t enough room. Have some space around the stage and some “photo areas” to make moving about easier.
5. More parking is necessary. The hotel’s parking is clearly overwhelmed by people coming in. Figure out a way that people can park without being towed.
6. Make better Rock Band / Guitar Hero setups. It’s very difficult to play these games when you can’t hear what you’re trying to play. Consider setting up “official” areas with Rock Band stage kits and bigger stereo systems so we can actually hear the game. I realize these are brought in by people, but it’s something that should be officially taken over for the benefit of people who play (and like to watch) music games.
Overall, it was mostly fun. I don’t expect these things to change, but things won’t get better if we don’t air concerns (that nobody will read). Have a happy new year, folks!