Harrisonburg Rock Lotto

Thanh -- January 21st, 2009

Earlier this month (January 8th) a group of musicians gathered at the Blue Nile and pulled out numbers out of a big foam cowboy hat. And so began this year’s Harrisonburg Rock Lotto!

What is a Rock Lotto?

A rock lotto is where a bunch of musicians from the greater metropolitan Harrisonburg area  put their names in a hat  to be drawn out five at time.  This, the first of hopefully many years,  we had 59 entrants giving us a total of 12 bands, (11 five member and 1 four member)  These random bands  now have two months in which to write and perform a twenty-five  minute set of original music that combines their collective experience and taste.  Because the drawing was completely random, the instrumentation of each band won’t necessarily be the traditional drums bass guitar, some musicians may find themselves called upon to play an instrument they wouldn’t  normally, but therein lies the fun.  How the band mates decide to craft their set is entirely up to them, if they want to put together a kick-ass five guitar army, awesome.  Likewise, four accordions and a tuba.  There are no rules, only recommendations.  

I corresponded by email with Jesse Stover, one of the people who started and organized the Rock Lotto, and found out that the 59 people signed up this year. The musicians found out about the Rock Lotto primarily through word of mouth, Facebook, and a thread on the Worthless Booking board

Because the musicians were randomly formed into bands, a variety of unexpected and interesting combinations had the potential of being formed (many individuals can play more than one instrument, so what instruments we’ll see is yet to be decided). I asked Jesse about the possibility of having a band with 2 drummers and 3 guitarists. He responded with:

It was definitely possible, I know we have quite a few multi-instrumentalists.  I haven’t heard of any three drummer bands yet.  As much I would have like to have seen that it seems that the drummers were strangely well distributed, that is of all the people I know whose primary instrument is drums, all ended up in different bands. (we had lots of drummers by the way, we were worried we might come up short there as they always seem to be in short supply).  Of course, because everybody and his brother seems to play guitar we knew that 3, 4 , or even 5 guitarist bands were pretty likely from the outset.

In addition to some of the more common instruments we are used to seeing in a band, we may also see fiddles, trumpets, theremins, melodicas, and flutes. And according to Jesse, “lots of people like myself with rooms full of random instruments. Which of the more eclectic instruments the band members choose to implement in their music remains to be seen.” All the bands and their members are listed here.

So when can we see the shows? Mark your calendars for March 6th & 7th. The shows will be at the Blue Nile. $3 cover. More information at www.hburgrocklotto.com.

10 Responses to “Harrisonburg Rock Lotto”

  1. This is going to be awesome. I was just talking to some of the participants last night about doing some short videos of the bands practicing leading up to March 6 & 7.

  2. Renee says:

    This is such an interesting idea!

  3. John Marr says:

    I can’t wait to see this! I really wanted to sign up, however my lack of rhythm and musical ability would have been a horrible addition to any band.

  4. Thanh says:

    I went to the second night of Rock Lotto and it was really fun. Blue Nile was at maximum capacity (per Fire code) both nights and there were people waiting outside to get in. I’ve posted a few pictures I took on the flickr pool, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheezedunx/3338153891/in/pool-hburgnews/. (Unfortunately I only had my camera phone so the picture quality isn’t the greatest.

    Proceeds from the shows are going to fund elementary school music programs. Very cool!

  5. Rock lotto was the most fun I’ve had in Harrisonburg in a while.

  6. seth says:

    cheers to jesse stover for being the lynchpin in the inception of what will surely be one of our towns coolest traditions.

  7. lotery says:

    Sorry I missed it sounded really cool. I always try to support locol musicians.

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