Monday, October 10, 2005

My Converge Experience

I would say that this past weekend's Converge South conference was a success. I only got to sit in on one session out of the whole conference, but everyone I talked to and everyone I have read over the past day or so have made me believe I missed one hell of an event. We even made the national news. (Updated cache link. Thanks Ben.)

What I did do all weekend was concentrate on the music portion of the conference. Here is my weekend experience:

Friday morning- Meet up with Ben and get going loading in the PA set-ups with our sound company Audio and Light. We started with Lyndon St Artworks. A little mixup at our next venue caused us to wait and eventually break for lunch at the conference. We proceeded to load in Solaris and the Flatiron next. I took Ben to his car and went to our last location Chumley's Pour House to load in the last venue. I then rushed home to get ready for the Aycock BBQ at Hoggard's. We are now at 6:30 and I am exhausted.

Friday Evening- At the BBQ, I finally got a chance to meet Jay Rosen, talk to a bunch of people who I had missed all day and have the Matt Gross banana pudding that I had been reading about for the last couple of weeks. My folks showed up to converge with the convergers, getting a chance to meet the folks they helped with travel for the conference. I got a chance to thank Tom Lassiter for the fine piece of film he shot for Converge. Best advice of the BBQ, Jay Rosen telling me to "Keep writing." Thanks Jay, I will.

Off to run the music. First stop, the Flatiron to watch Tracy Thornton play the hell out of his steel drums. Next stop, Chumleys to catch part of Tommy Gun's set. Then, Lyndon Street to catch Heavy Contact laying down the beats. Last stop of the evening Solaris to catch my old band The Five L's. I laid down my sticks as a drummer two years ago. I haven't played since. I got the chance to go old school with my old bandmates for a song. It felt great. I hurt a lot when it was done, but well worth it.

It is now 1am and I am off to Lyndon Street to start the first of three club PA load outs. I got a hand from Patrick Bowen, an A&T J student that happens to work with my wife. My wife covered his shifts at work this weekend so he could attend Converge. Patrick most likely gave you your name tags when you arrived. We loaded out Lyndon Street, Chumley's and the Flat all in a row. 3am, headed home for sleep, but not much.

Saturday morning- 2 hours of sleep, got up and showered and off to the airport to pick up our conference headliner, Alana Davis. 8:15 am, got Alana and her tour manager Brian Jobson, we go to the hotel and they can't check in until noon. So we headed for breakfast at the Smith Street Diner. What great food. We still had a bit of time to kill so we decided to come to the conference. I posed for a bunch of photos with Alana for my fellow bloggers, introduced Alana to a few folks and up to the computer lab. Alana wanted to see for herself what all the hype was about. She told me in conversation that she does read the blogs in Los Angeles. I think she saw the passion that the Greensboro blog community has for it's work. More on that later. I got Alana and Brian to their hotel and headed back to the conference. I got to catch my only session, Roch Smith Jr.'s session on Alt media. I had so much to say, but moving my lips and using my brain felt like an impossible task at this point. After debating another session, I decided to go home and do some napcasting. Another two hours of rest.

After my short nap, off to Solaris to prepare the club for Alana's arrival. Then, off to the hotel to pick up Alana and back to the club for sound check. Alana went on at 10:30, and she kick much ass. Alana is living proof that money buys a Grammy, not talent. Quote of the conference for me, Alana says on stage,"Blogging to me is the real free media. I have a lot of bitchin' to do, so I guess I'm going to have to start a blog." She also talked about the passion of the bloggers here at the conference. After she was done with her set, and she played longer then she was supposed to, Alana signed albums, posters and t-shirts for her loyal fans and new fans from the conference. Then some tapas food from Solaris for Alana and it is time to start winding down. Patrick came back to help again with the last PA at Solaris and we wrapped up at about 2am. Went home for about 2 hours and then departed to pick up Alana at the hotel. Airport bound. Got her to her 6am flight and then headed home. Sleep coma.

I only have a few regrets from this years conference, I couldn't see all the sessions, I couldn't see all the bands, and I could meet each and everyone of you. I am only one person. I guess I can be pro cloning now. Can't wait for next year's bigger and better Converge South.

I would like to thank Rick Farmer, Ben Hwang, Barry Stoneking and Audio and Light, the clubs, Tyler at Source Energy Drinks, Sam Funchess at and most of all the artists that donated their time for our conference and our dream to make this city a much larger and more entertaining city in the future. Without the musicians, there would not have been my portion of the conference.
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