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Symphony 2005 Party Report
by Cactus/Oxyron/Padua

So, I'm already home, sitting in front of my PC and typing these words, and trying to recollect the most important facts about this year's Symphony party, which has been visited for the very first time by myself. The fifth edition of this party was held in the town of Trzcianka (well, actually a few kilometres from it), which is located in the Northern Poland. The whole thing started for me on the very early Friday morning, had to keep in mind that over 10 hours of travelling would await me. Fortunately, I didn't have to travel alone (like I usually do onto the Forever party in Slovakia, where not too many Polish C64 sceners turn up)... In the city of Katowice I met Raf and Odyn, both members of Vulture Design. I suppose we were the only one visitors, who were travelling to the party from such a long distance. We reached a station of approach at quarter past 16, and went to the party-place on foot. We were searching for any kind of signs that would lead us to the destination (usually seen at the other parties), but we found nothing. Perhaps the organizers imagined that the way is so simple that no one can get lost, but trust me it's never easy to find your way to any place you're visiting for the first time. Being tired of walking and walking without any clue if we were going in the right direction, we diverged to a forest to have some beers (in Poland it's not allowed to drink any kind of alcohol in public). Strengthening drink made us moving more quickly to our destination, and I guess it was 18 o'clock when we finally reached the party-place.

What we saw didn't actually look like a normal scene party that we attended before. There were no computers in the main room besides the compo machines prepared by the organizers. None of Amiga/PC sceners brought a computer with themselves. The feeling of a computer party was later saved by four Commodore machines, which were dragged up by Murdock, Data, and guys from Arise and Vulture. As we didn't see any known faces after coming to the party-place, we decided to sit down outside and have some more beers. Raf took his Commodore out, what caused some interest from attending visitors. Some of them were asking "what is that", some of them were sharing their pleasant memories of C64 with us... Suddenly I got scared, because a dead bird had fallen onto my arm. Soon I realised that some party visitors were having fun by throwing this dead bird from the roof of the main building... Funny, indeed. Then Silent Riot, one of the organizers, appeared at our table, and warmly welcomed us to the party.

Boozing continued... Too much of alcohol almost leaded to grim conflicts, fortunately all of them didn't turn into hatred, however it was really close... I strongly agree it is extremely irresponsible to take someone else's bag, to rummage it and then to explain this stupid behaviour by saying: "I thought it was mine". Such people really don't deserve to be trusted. OK, that's usual that you remember bad things very well, and you forget good ones faster... What I want to say is that the general feeling after the party was extremely positive, no matter about those few incidents. All people were having great fun. Although being totally drunk, ones not controlling their behaviour were exceptions. The rest of the boozers seemed to be just having lots of fun, and that was the most important!

Personally I didn't drink as much as I used to do at the parties, that was mainly caused by the financial problems. From this point I would like to thank Black Light very much, who kept me away from staying completely sober during the second day of the party, and helped me with one beer. Well, a man is not a cactus, so he has to drink. ;)

The competitions surprised me very much, in a very positive meaning of this word. Amount of releases was maybe not impressive considering... Bah, considering what? Actually, it was impressive. Only 16 visitors from the C64 scene, and there's no way to say that it was not impressive to have 3 demos, 3 intros, 6 tunes, 7 graphics in the compos plus a release of the music collection. Comparing it to the amount of Amiga/PC scene productions, it was really not bad. I felt very satisfied after watching the C64 compos, Odyn & Raf definitely shared this feeling too. The only thing I wouldn't tolerate is to allow signed entries to take part in the gfx-compo. In my opinion pictures from Blemish and Dr.Brooks should have been disqualified before, because handles of their authors had been visible. I know that it would decrease the amount of compo entries, but it's not fair and it's against the rules, which had been followed by for many long years and grown to some kind of tradition in our demo scene. I really hope that the North party organizers will not tolerate such behaviour and they will disqualify signed entries at once. I liked what Bimber told me after the compos very much. He stated that he voted for the graphics that were not signed by their author's handle. But until most sceners do it like Bimber, we need to make our rules fully respected by resolute actions. As for the demo compo... Two equal demos were fighting for the first place... A demo from Tropyx lasted longer and presented some more interesting stuff than my own demo for Padua, however I felt that my demo was a little bit better designed and fades between parts were smoother. There were some problems with the music in my demo... First it sounded like it was played in an emulator, then I realised that one channel was not playing at all... The problem was fixed before the main part began, but the demo was not started over again. Looks like Murdock prepared a sabotage. ;) Anyway, I would like to thank Murdock for showing the whole demo (including the complete scroll-text in the end-part; I only wonder why did he press the space so often: are you such a slow reader, Pawel? :)). It was really hard to judge which demo was better, and we don't know it till now: it's three days after the party when I'm typing these words and we still don't know the results (addition: it's Friday and the results have just appeared at the official Symphony website, it seems that people liked the demo from Padua more, it got first place without any doubt). I think that's the only VERY negative point of this party, which should be pointed out. I feel the organizers should have definitely taken more attention to this little problem, because it becomes extremely annoying (especially for the participants) when you don't know the compo results after such a long time. You hear me? It's very annoying! :)

For the moment we couldn't be sure if the C64 compos will be held. Prezes unexpectedly stolen a diskbox with the whole party stuff, which was gripped by Murdock, and passed it (or at least it looked like he did so) to Black Light, who was just going to the town in a taxi. Prezes kept his impassiveness, and Murdock was becoming more and more griped. After some 15 minutes of silence Prezes returned a diskbox, and Murdock could have a sigh of relief. Looking from the side-view it seemed as a very funny situation, however I believe it wasn't funny at all for Murdock, who was a person responsible for the C64 compos.

There's another context connected with the compos. I mean the time of their beginning. Silent Riot perhaps already knows what I want to say. Through the whole Saturday he was assuring me that the compos will definitely start at 18... But they did not. Then he promised that they will begin at 20... Guess what? Yes, you're right... They were delayed again... 21 then? Almost... A few minutes after 21 the competitions got started. Over 3 hours of delay. What I want to say is that I have nothing against presenting the compos at 21... They can even start in the midnight, no problem about that. The main problem (unfortunately, that happens at almost every party) is that the organizers completely don't treat the timetable seriously, while it's really one of the most important elements of every party.

The idea of the party in the location placed far away from a town has got its advantages, but also disadvantages: going for a trip to the town to buy some food & drinks took us all the Saturday morning, and I was very disappointed when I was told later that I missed a traditional football match, which was played between C64 and Amiga sceners at that time.

Symphony had its specific, unique and hard to describe attraction. It wasn't a typical scene party... If you have never visited it, I advise you doing it at least once. You'll make sure that it is worth long travelling and several unslept nights. If there was not the competitions in the late Saturday evening, it would be uncertain if I were visiting a scene party, rather some kind of a massive alcoholic revel. You may wonder why did I mention unslept nights. Well, there was no sleeping-room prepared for the party visitors. Well, separating a sleeping-room from the main party-room is never a bad idea. Bloodman & Silent Riot: please think about it next time.

I want to say my greetings to all the visitors, especially guys from the C64 scene... If I'm right, there was exactly 16 Commodore sceners attending the party, and they were: Barman, Bimber, Black Light, Comankh, Data, Debillo, Elban, Fenek, Murdock, Odyn, Prezes, Raf, Spider, Surgeon, Voyager and me. I especially want to thank Raf and Odyn, who travelled with me from such a long distance: I hope I wasn't unbearable, guys? ;)

What can I say more... Silent Riot, Bloodman & the rest of the staff, made a great job organizing this party... It was a really great experience to attend a bit different party than I used to be visiting in the past. Symphony is not the same as our demo parties, we focus more on the computers, while people there (mainly Amiga sceners) concentrate mainly on drinking hectolitres of alcohol, probably because they spend much more time in front of their computers when they're home (shame on us, as we don't).

Will I come to the Symphony party next year? If only my financial status won't get worse, I guess I will. And I hope that I will meet more C64 sceners there, including you, Reader. :)


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