Lights Out for Lamps was a party held in a pitch black, mostly featureless room. Gate, Bar and washrooms were outside in a softly lit lobby. There was considerable concern expressed by community members leading up to the event but feedback was universally positive and no incidents were reported. Alcohol sales were very low. Participants spent time talking and cuddling without a lot of tactile art or chill space infrastructure.
The location was the Intrepid Theatre Club at 1609 Blanshard St, which has a legal capacity of 65 without seating. It has two bathrooms and a large lobby where Gate and Bar were stationed. Jen Wilcox, the venue manager, was surprisingly receptive to the event idea and welcomed Kindle Arts to use the space again in the future.
Nathan H single-handedly built a temporary “light lock” out of two-by-fours and blankets to block light seeping through the door that left no trace after being disassembled. Although not legally required of a theatre that small, Intrepid has two exit signs that were covered for the event. Blocking all exit sign light without ripping paint off the walls was difficult and future events should develop a specific technique.
Despite our best efforts, there was still enough light in the room to orient yourself although not make out anything – this probably enhanced safety but was against the goals of the event. Blocking 100% of the light would require longer setup time to iteratively remove light sources.
Total tickets sold: 48 (see below)
This was my first time working with Nato to set up TRICKS and I learned a lot about that process that will be documented elsewhere.
In order to qualify for a private event liquor license, no tickets can be sold at the door. In theory, because tickets can be bought online and the Google Spreadsheet of validated tickets can be accessed through a smartphone, participants could buy tickets in the parking lot. One participant took advantage of this by buying a ticket before leaving home to come to the event, but for the most part the kind of people who aren’t organized enough to get tickets in advance are not the kind of people who own smartphones with data plans.
Duration: 3 hours
Number of volunteers: 3
Nathan somehow managed to assemble the light lock without any assistance, but it would normally have been a two-person job. One extra hour of setup would have been very helpful.
Participants bringing infrastructure were allowed to set it up one hour early which worked well. I brought a number of inflatable mattresses and then discovered I didn’t have the right attachment to inflate them.
Duration: 2 hours
Number of volunteers: 2
Immediate teardown was mostly performed by participants at the close of the event. One extra volunteer to stay late would have been helpful.
Gate & Greeters
Number of volunteers: 8 total, 1-hour shifts with 2 volunteers covering both Gate and Bar
No significant challenges. Having a smartphone at Gate capable of viewing the validating ticket list was useful to allow last-minute sales.
Despite being offered night vision goggles, only two people volunteered for Rangers, so the event mostly went without. There were no significant issues reported but because people will be less cautious in future events, there should be more effort put into recruiting Rangers.
Elana A stepped in to manage the bar at the last minute. The bar was the largest source of effort and didn’t yield very much profit. Participants drank much less than expected, probably because they wanted to keep their wits about them. I recommend not serving alcohol at similar future events.
Art and Theme Camps
Despite repeatedly telling participants to bring comfy Dave B was the only participant who brought significant infrastructure (an inflatable boat and lots of other stuff) and it probably saved the event. Hopefully now that they have a better idea of what to expect people will bring more stuff to the next event.
Downtempo music was played over the speakers but once the event was full participants generated so much noise navigating and making conversation that I doubt anybody noticed. It may have been appreciated at the beginning of the event when the room was mostly empty.
See Survival Guide and Event Insurance documents.
Overall the event went very well. I only heard positive feedback and no incidents were reported. Many people said they would like to attend a similar event in the future.
I struggled to figure out how to delegate responsibility. I think this was compounded by general uneasiness and uncertainty around the event – future events should have an easier time recruiting volunteers.
Challenges for future events:
getting participants to bring infrastructure and art
generating revenue without bar sales