First up: Here's the schedule for Tour de Fun if you didn't catch that already. The festivities will commence with a cookout on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Riverside Village, where MC Jung Youth and electro duo Duperocho will play on the Village Green, and experimental rockers MantraMantraMantra and The Subnovas will hold it down at Fond Object. Then, everyone will mount up and head off to FooBar and The East Room, which is Stop 1 of the five stops along the approved route.
Check the map carefully! The festival has received a parade permit from the city for this specific route. There are also several places where everyone has to walk their bikes for safety's sake, as well as common-sense helmet regulations, and rules about how and where to park. If you think this is a cool festival, stay safe and hydrated, follow the few basic rules, and have fun — that's how to make sure this thing happens every year.
Next: The Circuit Benders' Ball team has released the complete schedule for its three-day run at Fort Houston, which starts tomorrow. Grab a handy copy of that in block format, or take a look at the breakdown, with links to every artist and panel. Pre-registration has ended, but weekend passes are $50 at the door, and individual day passes are $20. Those prices do not include workshops; if space remains, admission to those is $20 each at the door.
Following the pattern set by the International Noise Conference, all sets except headliners are limited to 15 minutes for maximum exposure to cool new stuff with minimal downtime. Here's a quick rundown of things you might see and hear:
The whole shebang kicks off at 5 p.m. with an intro to circuit bending presentation. On the two stages, you've got some local noise veterans, like Blight Side of Life as well as newcomers like Graphic Tease. There's also Skoolgirl with a special circuit-bent set, as well as Carl Oliver's modular synth madness, and co-headliner Jeff Boynton, who's been known to do some amazing things with handmade controllers that respond to touch.
Things pick back up at 11 a.m. Saturday, with panels, presentations and workshops going on simultaneously. If you're a circuit bender who'd like some advice on engaging your audience, you won't want to miss Sound Crawl co-founder Kyle Baker's Playdoh vs. Lego workshop. If you've ever wondered about hacking into the synthesizer built into a Game Boy, there's a workshop for that, too. Friendly reminder: workshops aren't included in the ticket price! However, there are a load of panels and presentations happening which are included, like a demo of Black Cat Sylvester's SynthTable and a guided tour of culture jamming, which is aimed at helping you subversion-minded artistic types avoid getting busted for copyright infringement. Music picks up again at 7 p.m., including sets by former Nashvillian Cher Von, who stands out because she includes some unusual vocal work in her circuit-bent performances, Workshoppe Radio-Phonik, the tag-team of Matt the PM and Pimpdaddysupreme, whose ultra-psychedelic audio-visual performance was one of my highlights of 2012, and master maker Tim Kaiser, who rounds out the night.
The final day begins at 11 a.m. again, with workshops that include using Apple and Google software for artistic purposes and teaching your computer to play better with the outside world using Arduino microcontrollers. The final panel of the day focuses on chiptunes, which are compositions for the tiny synthesizers built into old computers and video game consoles; around 4:15, that segues into a slew of chiptune performances, followed by sets from audio-visual artists Morgan Higby-Flowers and David Wright Lagrone, as well as an audio tennis match of sorts from Age at 7:15 to close out the festival.