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The Future Of Forever Party Series
by DJ Gruby/Oxyron

During the last day of the party when it was communicated that two leading organisers (Ellvis and CVM) had decided to quit the organising team, I became very much interested in the future of Forever party series in general. It was already announced that there would be another edition next year, so I wondered how was it going to be look like? This and other questions began to pop up in my head, and as another eventful Forever had already been over, I took the opportunity to talk to one of the men working behind the scenes. CreaMD has been responsible for the C64 division of Forever parties since their very beginning and is certainly going to maintain the tradition of Forever party series as the main organiser for next years to come. I asked him to share his thoughts about this year's event. Then he also presented, what was the most interesting piece for me, his personal views on the future of Forever parties. Read on for the full documentation of our conversation.

[DJ Gruby] Visitors from how many countries did you have this year? Did any exotic or surprising sceners appear in Horna Suca this year?

[CreaMD] I didn't notice any surprises this year. Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary (Serbia, if we count JailBird who is living in Hungary right now), France, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, that's all I think.

[DJ Gruby] Was the total number of 65 visitors of Forever 13 a satisfactory number for you? How does it compare to previous years?

[CreaMD] Everything which pays expenses (prizes, rent for place and equipment) is satisfactory. So yes, it is okay. Compared to previous years we had about 10-20 less visitors on average. As far as party organising is concerned number up to 100 is the best for handling for small team of organisers. More visitors would probably require bigger organising staff.

[DJ Gruby] Was this year's Forever party anyhow special compared to the previous editions, or have you rather fall into an organizational routine and already stopped to distinguish one Forever from another?

[CreaMD] Every Forever is different, although with my fast daily work-routine I have quite short memory, so I'm not exactly the right person to ask about details. This year's Forever was special for many reasons. We lost one of the most influential Atari sceners last year in a train accident, Radek Sterba (Raster of C.P.U.). Major part of the Friday evening was dedicated to his legacy. What was really nice was the participation of visitors on Sunday fun compos which was probably the best of all Forevers. People didn't run out from the place but stayed there and enjoyed the quizzes and contests. As far as compos are concerned C64-wise it was more or less standard Forever with lack of strong demo compo support (no demos this year), however there were quite nice 1k things. Graphic and music compos were nice as usual. Realtime compos were quite strong this year, this shows us that when you have good theme and it is announced long in advance enough people can tune into it and do something on the party.

[DJ Gruby] It came about not for the first time that you had experienced the last minute change of the party place location. What did happen this time?

[CreaMD] Yes, it's quite stupid that we always cope with this kind of problem. Fortunately we ended up in a decent place (with accommodation directly connected with party place, with showers and enough space), which we also plan to use for next year. I don't know the details, but as usual there was some other action organized on the place that we had booked and in Trencin it seems nobody respects booking calendar... or Ellvis and CVM as usual counted on their word instead of having it on paper. I don't know. I hope this will not happen next year, or future. As Ellvis and CVM quit the organising, this responsibility is taken over by Pol (brother of Ellvis and Mike, the Speccy organising guys).

[DJ Gruby] When C64 productions at parties like X, LCP, Revision, Silesia truly rock, Forever has been lacking decent C64 demos for some years now. While it still kicks ass when it comes to Atari and Spectrum stuff, we didn't have a single C64 demo released at Forever this year. How can you explain this lack of good C64 releases?

[CreaMD] There are more explanations to this. People do stuff for parties they visit, so they can look at it on big screen and enjoy the response of audience, so if we want more demos we need to make them ourselves. Another thing (apart from Silesia which is of course supported more by Polish sceners as their major party) is maybe the prestige of the parties you mentioned. If an active group plans a demo, they usually have enough cool parties to release it on. Forever still didn't establish this strong magnetism. Last thing, which is equally important, is organisation. In this aspect the change in organising team structure will probably help to revise it. The official party page is generally oriented on all scenes and it never has strong presentation of the party theme which could inspire the makers of the demo in the thematic direction. The party theme is communicated weakly, so we don't get enough themed material for the party. The theme itself is communicated strongest at the party itself (e.g by Wotnau's costumes and not months before). This should change. We should start to promote the theme and specify the theme for party compo entries months in advance, not weeks. In short. It can get better. All it needs from us (organisers) is to be motivated and work on it for the whole year, not only when the deadline approaches. Also (if I can add) sooner or later we need to attract curiosity of visitors from active scenes or groups from other countries, but I don't know if we can do it or how to exactly do it. It's not easy to make people crazy about things easily. ;)

[DJ Gruby] Wouldn't it maybe a good reason for considering party date change? For 13 years now you have always stuck to the exact same date of the party, which apparently didn't produce that "magnetism" you're talking about. Didn't you ever consider shifting it a couple of weeks back- or forwards in order to maybe attract more visitors and/or have more quality releases?

[CreaMD] You probably mean that it collides with the traditional Easter party in Germany (Mekka, Breakpoint, Revision)? Well, I don't think this is the real reason for not having bigger support for compos. There is a lot of parties before the Forever and after Forever. I think the C64 scene party calendar is stuffed with interesting events all over the year and shifting to any date would still result in being surrounded by other parties. I think that the biggest change should be on how we communicate with our potential creative supporters, not by changing the date, although I wouldn't mind if the party was organised in hotter month of the year. But well, 13 years in middle of the March... That's one hell of a tradition, isn't it? ;) Having 3-4 days lasting party would be nice maybe, however that would probably require change of location.

[DJ Gruby] What is going to happen to the organization of the party after Ellvis and CVM were announced to quit the team standing behind Forever for 13 years?

[CreaMD] With Ellvis and CVM leaving, we need to divide their responsibilities between us. Pol already returned to activity and will takeover the organising of party place and equipment. I will have to take over the production of traditional prizes (T-shirts for 1st places). This year we didn't award Forever eternity, so we keep it for the next year. The biggest change, which is on my shoulders now, would be change of marketing activities. Old page will turn to archive and new page will be designed around the theme and will have news since launch to the next Forever. We want to communicate the theme of the party much sooner than before and attract more attention and creativity connected with the party theme. This is the most important change that needs to be made and I always wanted to do it my way, but always had to respect that CVM was responsible for visuals (as far as general party logo and page was concerned). I think I have proven that if I touch something I can inspire a phenomenon and sometimes things go quite crazy, so expect something around those lines. ...And yes, I admit that I might be a little bit too overly self-confident and exaggerating, but that's part of my nature. ;)

[DJ Gruby] What will be the biggest challenge to organize Forever next year?

[CreaMD] The biggest challenge probably is in the fact that we lost 2 people from organising team that was already quite small. And those two people made a lot of more or less visible support that we will need to distribute over other organisers. We got one, which was already around anyway. Maybe we will find out that we will need to find one more crazy dude that would be able to run around and solve problems. We'll see. If I should be totally detailed and talking about challenges concernig myself, I think the biggest chalenge would be getting the prizes (e.g. T-shirts) produced for such a good price as CVM was able to bring about. ;) I mean over the year he had established so much well working connections and solved so many little details that I don't think I will be able to make everything as smoothly as him for first year. It's good when you don't have to do all things, just part of them, however people tend to forget the importance of that and realise it only when those responsibilities fall on their shoulders. Anyway, I would like to use this opportunity to thank CVM and Ellvis again for all their support and effort they had done for Forever for all those 13 years in a row.

[DJ Gruby] Have you already got any well-specified plans for the next Forever (like party theme for instance)?

[CreaMD] As far as well specified plans are concerned we have more or less divided the responsibilities and agreed that we will need one meeting sometimes around summer/autumn. Apart from that there is no party schedule decided yet. We have an idea for theme... However, it's quite crazy, so it's not 100% sure yet whether we use it.

[DJ Gruby] And what is the future of Forever parties in general?

[CreaMD] Future of Forever parties. In past I would say that it's harder to end than it is to continue organising it. But that was when we had two great guys Ellvis and CVM carrying about a lot of things. Now the future of Forever parties lies on the shoulders of the following organising team: MikeZT (Speccy scene), Pol (party place and equipment), XI (Atari scene), CreaMD (C64 scene, web), Wotnau (speaker, party program), Jak-T-Rip (C64 scene). If we are satisfied with the next Forever, I will probably continue saying the same sentence, because it's kinda true. With Forever organising and in C64 scene in general, it's harder to quit completely than keeping enjoying it from time to time. Priorities of my computer related life have changed dramatically with family and two children. I have to invest more time into things that earn money and occassionaly make me feel good than to things that don't earn me money, but are totally enjoyable whenever I do them. Those things are connected with C64 scene and C64 creativity of all kind.

[DJ Gruby] Alright! Thank you very much for your time and this very interesting talk about the future of Forever! Good luck to you and the rest of your team!

[CreaMD] Thanks for your time too... It was quite a long chat. Have a nice rest of the weekend.

As we approached the end of our conversation, CreaMD had mentioned that the new Forever website should have been launched at the end of May. Although this is still not as heavily delayed as the new issues of Attitude usually are, I am still impatiently waiting for a new page to appear on the web.

Without Ellvis and CVM the story of Forever parties, the future seems to be equally exciting as the past was. I wish all the best to Forever party crew and look forward to another memorable event to happen in Trencin region on the third weekend of March, 2013.

DJ GRUBY/OXYRON

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