[ETF] how to organize a triode festival...

Christian Rintelen christian at rintelen.ch
Fri Mar 19 11:04:51 CST 2004

organizing the triode festival is not that easy even though it might 
seem so coz etf.03 ran oh so smooth...

i know many of you are sort of put off by the date in december. believe 
me i would love to see the festival in summer too. but...

kurt knows what i'm talking about. he has organized the first three 
triode festivals. he cancelled the atf 2002 in march (iirc) because the 
trouble was too big. i knew that if atf 2002 would have been cancelled, 
the idea of the triode festivals would have died. so i begged him to 
organize the 2002 festival and i promised that we'd find a solution for 
the future. i even invited joe roberts to arhus on my own expense 
(wolfgang braun jumped in with half of the cost - thanks!!) so that some 
people would be attracted to come to arhus just to meet THE one and only 
joe roberts. (no big success, but joe had a good time. so what ;-) ) at 
the end of the 2002 arhus festival i volunteered to organize the 2003 
event. i knew it was going to be a lot of work. i was very lucky that my 
friend wolfgang spontaneously jumped in and helped me organize last 
year's festival.

however, looking back at three festivals in arhus and one in 
langenargen, i can sum up some findings for anybody who wants to 
organize a future festival.

the number one topic is the location. this is of highest importance and 
must be priority number one. the location has to offer:

- privacy -- we don't want to share a hotel or similar with other 
people. we would annoy them and we would have to lock our stuff away to 
protect it from being touched or stolen

- space -- we need at least one main seminar room that can seat 80 
participants plus some gear. and the room should have somewhat decent 

- rooms -- aside from the main seminar room we also need lots of smaller 
rooms where participants can set up their systems

- comfort -- although we don't get a lot of sleep during the festivals, 
i sure appreciate spending the few hours in a bed and not in a sleeping 
bag ;-))

- good access -- it must be possible to reach the place by car and 
train. plus there should be an (international if possible) airport in reach

- facilities and service -- of course we could eat cold meals supplied 
by a catering service. but that's no fun. you also do not want to clean 
the place afterwards.

- cost -- in order to keep the cost for the participants to an accetable 
level, the location must be cheap.

sounds like a piece of cake to find a place like this, huh? ;-)

i first wanted to hold the festival in switzerland but after three 
months of looking for a location i gave up. all the swiss places i've 
looked at were either too small, too remote and/or too expensive. i was 
VERY happy when i found the place in langenargen. the people there are 
super cooperative and were not afraid of hosting a bunch of crazy folks 
from all over europe. plus they are cool, calm and collected even if the 
house is full.

the only drawback is that places like langenargen (actually a family 
holiday resort belonging to the diocese of stuttgart, hence the 
favourable pricing...) are full during the year, especially in summer or 
fall. they host groups of people until december. the only time we were 
guaranteed to have the place exclusively for us was (and is) the first 
week end of december when they would normally be closed.

ok. so now we have the location at a good price but in december. so be it.

next: you need an idea of what you want to do during the festival. arhus 
2000 and 2001 had a schedule and a program whereas arhus 2002 was a 
beer-drinking hanging-out-with friends-event. i knew that this had to be 
different for 2003 - we needed a structure with lectures, workshops etc. 
i admit that i went over board with too tight a schedule. but i rather 
have too many workshops than too little... (i promise that this year's 
festival will be more relaxed!)

but the program alone is not enough - you need to coax people into 
preparing lectures etc. and you need people volunteering to build stuff. 
people like manfred huber for example who built the test bed amp for the 
heater comparison and the transformer core lecture. (thanks!!) and you 
have to convince people like steve bench that they should actually hop 
on a plane and come to europe at the ugliest season to give a speach. or 
you have to convince people like pieter treurniet of tribute 
transformers that they should devote their time not for winding a 
commercial product but three identical transformers with different cores 
for a workshop. (thanks!!). to make a long story short: organizing the 
program is not that easy either.

(btw i am happy to announce that i have already found the special guest 
for ETF.04 -- lynn olson has accepted our invitation and will come to 
speak about push-pull triode amps, distortion etc.) (thanks!!)

once you've got the location and the program you need to spread the 
word. you have to put up a website (preferrably in more than one 
language) and you have to write press releases to magazines and you have 
to make sure they appear. i was very lucky that peter millet acted as 
our press officer for the us - so i could concentrate on the european 
magazines. (thanks!!)

now the applications start to come. it's a good idea to have the people 
pay up front because you don't want to worry about money during the 
festival. (btw. we had quite a number of people at etf.03 that left 
without paying their beverages. we'll make sure this won't happen 
again...) and you will need someone as well organized and well mannered 
as wolfgang braun to handle all the administrative stuff. without his 
assistance i would have been exhausted before the festival even started. 
again, kurt knows what i'm talking about... (thanks!!)

and then you need a lot of luck. no accidents, nothing stolen, no rain 
(almost...), no (major) complaints...

you see -- actually it's very easy to organize a festival. until you do 
it ;-))

to sum it up:

kurt was lucky to find an empty boarding school for the first three 
festivals. i didn't have that luck. but i found langenargen. 
consequently the festival had to be scheduled in december. and it will 
be in december again this year.

if anybody wants to take over for etf.05 you know where to start:

- find a location that complies to all the above criteria - and book it 
for summer!! the rest is easy ;-)) (i wouldn't mind sipping some nice 
tignanello in tuscany. or some gewurztraminer in northern alsace. or 
eating some cuisses de grenouille in paris. or some pizza in naples. or 
some swiss chocolate ;-))

thanks for the bandwith and thanks for not complaining too much about 
the shortcomings of last years festival. wolfgang and i have learned our 
share and we will try to make things (even) better this year.

all you have to do is pay. come. enjoy. and shut up ;-))

cu in december, ©

ps. my post probably sounds a little wry. sorry for that. but i'm kinda 
sick of hearing "why can't the festival be in summer? december is such a 
bad time of the year." tellyawhat: ANY time is a bad time of the year 
for somebody....

Kurt Steffensen wrote:

>>Hello all
>>Nobody is thinking about our southern friends, we have missing at the last
>Oh yes. Thats why we moved in that far down South. It did not trigger the
>Italians, Spanish etc.
>enough to come, so this is probably not the way to do it in the future.
>However, I  think that next year we may meet some of our Italian friends.
>I dont think there is any Spanish Joes, at least not that I think ?
>>How about the beautiful countryside of Toscana with win (not only beer)
>>excellent food ?
>Ha. True...
>>PS: Why not in Switzerland, you can open here a bank account for your next
>>secret project !
>I would LOVE to have a secret Swizz acount.
>I would not mind doing it in SCh. But I think that Germany and Holland are
>more natural
>choices, with the amount of people from these parts in mind....?
>I would enjoy to spend a few days in Zürich as well.
>Christian had the choice of choosing Swizz, but I guess he reasoned to dump
>Anyway, as far as I am concerned, we WERE in Swizz last year ??
>"I can see you house from here"
>- Kurt Viking
>Triodefest-l mailing list
>Triodefest-l at mailman.soundlist.org

Konzept   und   Text:   Christian  Rintelen
Langstrasse 94  CH-8004 Zurich  Switzerland
Voice +41 (0)43 322 07 07   +++   Fax ...08
www.rintelen.ch      +++     icq: 173905623

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