RainbowCon 1 happened last weekend, and it was wonderful. The guests were Decadent Dave Clement from Canada, and Tim and Annie Walker from the Uk. Programming also included gaming -- I'll get to that -- organized by Naomi's friend Steven Schwartz. Con suite by Mama Colleen. Con chair and head of programming was Naomi Rivkis, and I was Con Bear (my badge read "Ursa Major").
I don't think people knew whether to expect a large house filk, or a small convention. We wanted a small convention, and I think we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Attendence was in the low to mid 30s; we were aiming for 30-40. Enough with the stats.
Naomi and I worked out most of the schedule the weekend before. We left it up to the guests which order they wanted to go in, and although we had suggestions for other programming we left the final decisions up to them too. They decided to put Dave's concert on Friday, a Stan Rogers sing-along Saturday with Dave and Tim, and Tim and Annie's concert Saturday night. We had three workshop slots scheduled. I'll get to that.
Dave (with his wife Liz, who had done the driving), Tim, and Annie arrived Monday. Tuesday they all went with Naomi to Dusty Strings, to rent Annie a harp. (The only instruments they came with were Tim's button accordion and some whistles.)
Naomi was jumped by a large djembe, which followed her home. Its name is Rebel.
Tim and Annie needed guitars; one each, plus one they could leave tuned to DADGAD. Fortunately this household has more guitars than cats. They seemed a little awestruck by Snuggles (the Martin O-15); the Applause that I brought out for DADGAD had apparently last been used by Talis.
OK, so that brings us to Friday. In addition to pulling guitars out of my hat I also got the maypole up, with Chaos's help. I'll get to that.
Friday got off to a somewhat late start, so the opening ceremonies sort of tailed off early into the introductory circle. We started, naturally, with "Bigger on the Inside" as an introduction to the house.
During the introductory circle, dinner break, and some of Dave's concert, people were voting for their favorite workshops. They did this by dropping poker chips (they're not just for bardics anymore) into paper bags, with a blue chip representing their pick for the 90-minute slot.
After the concert we finished tallying up the poker chips, and did a little last-minute negotiation with the attendees, which resulted in the 90-minute slot getting sea shanties and kitting out your home studio in parallel, and the vocal and harmony workshops getting combined into one.
The poker chips then re-emerged in the poker chip bardic. Our variant on it has people using their chips in blue-red-white order, but with no need to complete a round before moving on to the next color. Instead, an earlier color jumps to the head of the queue if mixed colors are on the floor. It worked very well -- people had time to think about what they wanted to do or hear in their own time, rather than holding up the next round while they struggled to come up with something.
Saturday we actually had two full tracks of programming during the afternoon. Three at one point, since the Cat game (Did I mention gaming? There was gaming.) overlapped the sea shanty and home studio workshops. The build-a-dragon game overlapped the "sensitive percussion" workshop earlier in the day. The afternoon ended with the Stan Rogers sing-along concert. (We skipped the scheduled critiqued one-shots due to lack of interest, and went for a longer dinner break.)
The evening had Tim and Annie's concert, which was wonderful, followed what was intended as a ball-of-yarn chaos, but after we noticed that there was never more than one person queued up we just passed the ball around.
Sunday started with the Ecumenifilk circle, moderated by Annie, followed by the drum circle, led by Dave. And featuring several of the household's assorted drums and my box of random small percussion instruments that had been left around from Saturday's workshop.
After that was the Maypole dance. Unlike last year (RainbowCon 0 was Naomi and Glenn's wedding) there were enough experienced dancers to keep things running smoothly.
After that was the vocal/harmony workshop, where I had surprisingly (to me) little trouble keeping to my assigned part. Then there was the jam, and closing ceremonies.
Then most of those who were left went out for dinner. The restaurant, 13 Coins, is right across the street from the airport, so even the people who had to catch planes could come along.
Rainbow Con II will be held next year, with guests Alexa Klettner from Germany, and Trickster and King (Ada Palmer and Lauren Schiller, the touring subset of Sassafras. We expect it to be as amazingly wonderful as RC1.
We'd originally thought that we'd move the con to a hotel after it got too big for the house. But we really liked the small size -- it gives people a chance to hang out, talk, and make music with the guests and each other. We may end up capping the membership if it threatens to get out of hand, but it will stay at Rainbow's End as long as we're there to run it.