Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about The Happenstance.

How does this work?
We choose 6 musicians for each of the following categories: Front Person, Guitarist, Bassist, Drummer, or Grab Bag (keyboards/saxophone/triangle/etc). On the day of the show, we put all the names into their appropriate hat. We pick a name from the Front Person hat and ask them to pick one name from each of the other hats. We repeat this for all of the front people and when the dust settles, we will have created 6 five-piece bands. After the bands have been chosen, we will ask each band to choose their cover song and then send them off to create their music.

I’m in the xxxxx category. Can I play a different instrument in my band?
Absolutely. The categories are just to ensure that we have well-rounded bands. Once your band is formed, we don’t care if you all play kazoos.

Can I bring in a song I wrote last week for my band to learn?
Please don’t. The idea is for the music to be created the day of the show.

Can we play cover songs?
Actually, we require you to play one cover song. In fact, we will give you a list of cover songs that fit into this year’s theme and you choose which one you would like to play that night. Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of songs to choose from and you can even suggest a song you’d rather play as long as it fits into the theme.

Why do you require us to play a cover song?
The cover songs bring some continuity to the event and make sure that everyone has a blast.

How many songs do we have to write?
That’s up to you. We just need a 20 minute set from each band. Usually bands write 3 songs and learn the cover song for a 4 song set. One request, though: please don’t play a 15 minute blues jam in E.

How long do we have to practice?
Things get started at the club at 10am on the day of the event. It generally takes about an hour to get everyone divided up into bands. So, by 11am you should be ready to get started. That gives you roughly 9.5 hours until load in (8:30pm) to weave your magic.

Where do we practice?
All drummers are asked to provide a practice space for the day with the following features:

  • Convenient location
  • Functioning PA
  • 2 Guitar Amps
  • 1 Bass Amp
  • Drumset (duh)

I’ve got to work that day. Can I show up a little late?
Nope. You need to be there all day long. Trust us, you’ll want as much time as possible.

Is the show backlined?
Yes. The following backline will be provided:

  • 4 piece drum set with cymbals (2 crash, one ride, one hi-hat)
  • 2 guitar amps (usually one Fender Twin type and one Marshall half-stack type)
  • 1 bass amp
  • 1 keyboard amp

How is the order of bands decided?
Randomly, of course. When you show up at the club at 9pm, we will let you know when your band goes on.

Do we get any drink tickets?
We provide beer and bottled water for all musicians backstage. Please help us keep the backstage area for musicians only. As you can imagine, it gets pretty hectic.

I played last year and want to do it again. Can I play this year?
No. In an effort to keep things fresh, we do not allow anyone to play two years in a row. We do, however, let you play every other year.

Will you be recording this?
Yes. We make recordings of the event every year and distribute them to each band a few weeks after the show.

What if something goes wrong?
Happenstance organizers will distribute our cell phone numbers and if you have a problem, just call and we’ll take care of it.

Ready to sign up? Head over here to let us know.