A Complete N00b’s Guide to Nerdapalooza 2010


image: Denika Robbinsimage: Denika Robbins

Image: Denika Robbins

We geeks are never without ample entertainment options. Whether it’s finishing up on the fifth season of Doctor Who or playing another round of Team Deathmatch, we are nothing if not easily entertained. Next weekend, however, many of us have elected to pursue a more community-centered option.

Currently in its fourth year (and sixth incarnation), Nerdapalooza is set to take Orlando, Florida by storm on July 17th and 18th. So, to help ease those new to the event into the festival’s proceedings, I’ve elected to put together a handy guide for fresh-faced attendees.

Wait; what’s this Nerdapalooza thing again?
Nerdapalooza is a weekend-long celebration of nerd music and culture conceived by John “hexWarrior” Carter and presented with the help of amazing sponsors like A Comic Shop and Cloudspace.

And when’s it going down?
The festival itself runs July 17th and 18th, with a pre-show slated for the 16th at the aforementioned A Comic Shop. You should come to that too. There’s free pizza and beer.

But where does the event itself take place?
Nerdapalooza 2010 is set to take place at the Orlando Airport Marriott. This means that attendees have the option of staying on-site so as to avoid the dreaded cross-town schlep.

How much?
Weekend passes are $30, with single day tickets $20 apiece. Big spenders can even cough up $350 for the Final Boss Package that entitles holders to admittance to all Nerdapalooza events for the life of the festival with VIP access and a number of other enticing perks. This year’s festival also offers a discounted price for Wizard Rock fans in town for Infinitus; simply show up Sunday with your conference badge and get in for $10!

Should I bring the kids?
The Nerdapalooza environment itself is very kid-friendly. Some of the music and special events presented therein are less so. Consult this handy performance schedule and do a little research to determine when and if to bring your geeklings. If you do decide to bring ’em, remember that children under 10 get in for free.

Speaking of the schedule, how much time am I expected to devote to this thing?
That’s entirely up to you. The show proper runs from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM both days, with additional after-hours events available each night. There’s a scheduled half-hour break at around 4:00 PM for lunch(?) but, like all other Orlando attractions, it’s almost impossible to take in all that Nerdapalooza has to offer. Whether you’re checking out the Play N Trade-sponsored game room, making a pizza run or just catching a catnap in your room, you’re apt to miss something memorable. My only advice is to make peace with this early on and try to be involved in as much of the musical madness as you deem possible.

Good to know. Who’s playing?
Nerdapalooza offers a fantastic mix of nerdy music for the discriminating listener, and many of this year’s acts have been profiled on our own HipTrax podcast. From the nerdcore hip-hop of the godfather MC Frontalot and local heroes Emergency Pizza Party to the Wizard Rock of Fred Lives and comic shop stylings of Kirby Krackle, the studious and sarcastic tones of newcomer George Hrab and returning champ Marc with a C to gamer-centric accordion-slingers Random Encounter and Mega Man rock opera The Protomen, there’s a style for all seasons. Providing said season is inherently nerdy.

So you guys are gonna be there, right?
Wired.com is sending a ragtag delegation consisting of myself and GeekDad Curtis. We’ll be in attendance to document the event, but mostly just to rock the hell out. We’ve been offered a table in the merch area, which we will begrudgingly occupy at irregular intervals so as to make sure your GeekDad swag needs are ably met.

Merch area?
Yep — ample merchandise will be available from the artists in attendance as well as from Nerdapalooza itself. Bring cash money.

You’ve made some compelling points; care to push me over the edge?
Certainly. The most important thing about Nerdapalooza, even more so than the sense of geeky brotherhood that rests at the core of the event, is that all the money raised from this weekend of fun and frivolity is donated to the Penny Arcade charity Child’s Play. So come out, drink some beer, listen to some music and buy some t-shirts. For the children.

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