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Why isn't there more demand for demoparties in the UK?

category: general [glöplog]
I believe one of the reasons that Budleigh Salterton was chosen as the party location for Sundown in the past and now for Nova is down to the people who own the hall, ie, the town council.

Very much unlike the vast majority of all kinds of councils in the UK, at Budleigh it is believed that the hall also hosts (or did host) LAN multiplayer gaming events where people got together with their PCs and played most games, ranging from classic multiplayer Quake (from back in the day) to the modern-day titles such as Call of Duty and others beyond this.

They have to be given kudos for this. The ownership of the vast majority of places similar to what we have in Budleigh have severe difficulties even comprehending what a demo party is, for a start. They would also want to have independent people there at the event also, checking that people are not "abusing" the network by downloading porn and / or pro Daesh stuff, as an example. Whilst I for one know that this does NOT happen and has not happened at any more recent party I have been to, I hasten to add, unfortunately tabloid press reporting of larger events such as Insomnia (a large gaming event held in UK) tends to hint otherwise, even if, as we know, it is not true. But that's the tabloids for you, generating their own fake news.

It also appears as though the owners of locations are very restrictive about the kind of events they will hold in their locations. Standard events such as mother&baby clothes sales or maybe some kind of music night, featuring non-controversial artists tend to be the norm.

I would certainly attend a larger event in the UK if one was organized. Maybe it might be worth approaching the current organizers of Insomnia to see if they can slot in a demoscene area, so this could be similar to how Assembly in Finland works, as an idea to jump off from.
added on the 2018-04-18 22:31:31 by Felice Felice
The main issue from talking to a few people is the venue. Finding somewhere in the UK affordable without many restrictions is a issue.

Shamelessness plug I'm running Field-FX at Electromagnetic Field this year. It's a mini demoparty in a tent with the idea to showcase the scene to a wider audience. Anyone going to Electromagnetic Field is welcome to come and if you would like to help please let me know. Site with info coming soon field-fx.party.
As the lead organizer of Récursion and an advisor to Synchrony and also the former lead organizer if @party, I can weigh in more generally that in a big expensive metro area, space can be very hard to get cheaply. What it boils down to is
Have a relationship with a university
Have a relationship with a coworking space or startup incubator
Have a relationship with a hacker/makerspace
Have a relationship with an artist collective or gallery

That is how you do things without breaking the bank.
One other challenge is scheduling not to conflict with other popular events

It sounds like the UK scene can be a bubble at times like the US and Canada scenes, although European sceners show up more often without the organizers paying for their plane trips (:

Be aware of this recruit organizers from within the bubble as well as outside.
Also, be realistic about party size. Step one is have a party. Step two is worry about how big it is. Size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it.
We can't all be Revision, especially in the anglo bubble countries where the arts are seen as a luxury good.

Network, cultivate a base, and just do the thing for the love of it.

Also helps if you know a guy who owns all the compo gear and can run it for you (:
Later, when you burn out on organizing, he can be your heir and put a new spin on things.
reality404: nice! I had a capacity crowd (~15 :) ) for Softbound, a similar sort of thing last summer. Good luck with everything!
added on the 2018-04-19 12:20:39 by cxw cxw
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Soon the demoscene too :-)
added on the 2018-04-19 17:08:06 by Navis Navis
I'm honestly surprised nobody has stated this before because it is actually relevant to the topic:

make a demo about it
added on the 2018-04-19 17:36:12 by sol_hsa sol_hsa
I think that the demoscene is more of a European thing. The USA and the UK seem to be generally 'less into it'. Instead I think the indie game dev scene was more the thing, possibly because of the UK trying to ape the USAs entrepenural bent. I'd also say, sadly, that the UK sees itself less aligned with things European. I've had people tell me that if you can't interact or play with a thing, whats the point?

For the record I've been to revision several times and hope to go to @party as well this year (sadly, I'm missing Nova), but I'd argue demo scening is picking up now in the UK
added on the 2018-04-19 17:51:47 by oni_ oni_
UK is not that much off the line.

i'm no expert but i guess i could count the total number of demoparties ever held in the balkans and in the baltics combined on my 2 hands, yet geographically/culturally it should be a huge thing there as well.

(i might be wrong with my assumption)
added on the 2018-04-19 18:06:44 by nagz nagz
oni_: the UK had one of the largest demoscene footprints in the formative years. ('85-'93) They were regularly part of the European scene for all that time.
added on the 2018-04-19 21:35:23 by 4mat 4mat
Demoscene interest in the UK seems to be mostly focused on oldschool platforms, from my experience. I think the perception people have is that it's too easy to do stuff on a PC these days.
added on the 2018-04-19 21:50:37 by fizzer fizzer
oni_: the UK had one of the largest demoscene footprints in the formative years. ('85-'93) They were regularly part of the European scene for all that time.

Now that I didn't know (I was quite young then). However it doesn't seem like that now.
added on the 2018-04-19 22:15:14 by oni_ oni_
Navis, you can bet your bottom dollar (or euro) that UK sceners WILL still make it to European demoparties, despite the shitty brexit situation.

I still believe to this day that it won't happen; that the UK will stay within the EU as it is just far too fucking complex to be out of it. We just don't know what is going to happen.
added on the 2018-04-19 23:35:33 by Felice Felice
I believe so and hope so too.
added on the 2018-04-20 00:38:06 by Navis Navis
+1 to that :)
added on the 2018-04-20 23:31:18 by oni_ oni_
Navis, you can bet your bottom dollar (or euro) that UK sceners WILL still make it to European demoparties, despite the shitty brexit situation.

Are you really equating your financial position with that of an average (albeit tax-evading) Greek? :)

Well Navis, you've heard it, they need money. You can make some by winning the Shader Superfight GP 2019 and donate it to poor British sceners ;)
added on the 2018-04-21 03:33:27 by superplek superplek
The issue here is not with money but ease of travelling due to passport control and visas and potential inconvenience at airports, both ways (and people coming into the country), and clearing customs. Sure it is not the end of the world, but still a few steps back.

It becomes a bigger issue for proper long term immigration plans or retirement "in the sun" for the thousands that usually do at a later age.
added on the 2018-04-21 09:32:01 by Navis Navis
Oh you had to make things serious :(
added on the 2018-04-21 10:14:23 by superplek superplek
It's not the cost, it's the bureaucracy. ;)
added on the 2018-04-21 11:31:16 by Subi Subi
I'd like to see a UK party a bit closer to the north (but yeah I know what they say, make a party about it :)

I have been at Sundown (and now Nova is a the same place), it was a bit like a flight to Essex, then a train to some village and then a bus to the village of the partyplace. On the return at Sunday there was no bus but some good scener drove me back. Maybe strange from my side to think like that when I've travelled to other countries for demoparties, but when thinking of a local demoparty, my mind expects something easier to reach, so that I casually visit every year.
added on the 2018-04-21 11:57:00 by Optimus Optimus
Tbh, manchester would probably be ideal for a party. Very well connected airport, central-ish, much cheaper than london.

But then there's the other big requirement for a party: Organisers reasonably local to do the work of actually organising it, finding venues, meeting the owner/local council etc. This, I think, is why parties are usually in some odd small town instead of where everyone thinks they probably should be ;)
added on the 2018-04-21 12:07:53 by psonice psonice
Organizing something in Finland is very tricky already due to strict alcohol regulations and whatnot. Hell, a fire marshal can cancel the whole party when inspecting just because your fire escape plans had some oversight. It's actually quite hard to get anything done with a sane price tag and at a good location and pretty much every party that generally gets done out of bigger public ones such as assembly are definitely not done by the book: i.e. using "monopoly money" to go around the laws (at least a bit) for beer purchases.
Better places like the altparty venue have a 2 year waiting list from what I recall.

But answer really is, you just gotta go and do it.
It's a bunch of work and you're likely going to end up barely on the plus side with the budget, lots of stress and whatnot. Just find a group of friends who can run shit and start from somewhere and work it up. Even what might seem like an awful ghetto venue on paper can end up being very cozy as long as beer keeps flowing and people have fun.

Not living in UK but I'd argue that the situation is similar as here, there is continued interest for demoparties around the year but just many can't be bothered to organize since it's not a matter of getting some gym hall from a school you're pretty much studying at.

Level of production quality is also insane some times, but it also doubles as an opportunity for some to contribute and learn about new stuff in a more friendly hobby environment.

As for passport control, it's really not that hard :D
3 weeks ago arriving at Edinburgh it was just about waiting on line, then making funny faces at a scanner for 10 seconds and off you go.
Don't know what tragedies future post-brexit inspections will entail but I doubt much would change?

Start with max. 50-100 attendees and move up from there. If you're not familiar with organizing then you will have to go through the usual growing pains or you will have a hard time.
Anything under 80 generally can still function on it's own and bigger issues usually sort themselves out on their own and you get to make a note of it for the future.

That being said, I really need to visit an UK demoparty someday :)
added on the 2018-04-22 12:09:58 by oasiz oasiz
Because the UK is shittttttt. A brick of shitttttt. Nah. It’s just Brexit is making it difficult to come to terms with betrayal of 51% of the UK population. I, as an expat am shocked, but not surprised. Ya’ll a bunch of great, stupid, but great people.
added on the 2018-04-23 08:42:24 by mzerod mzerod
FWIW a Luton based orgy was fucking brilliant last time with a whole fucking decent hotel attached at bargain prices. Middle class or what.
added on the 2018-04-23 08:44:41 by mzerod mzerod


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