Woodstick Big Beat 2012Article by Sean Mitchell // October 30 2012
Donn, tell us who is going to be at Woodstick this year.
We have Thomas Lang, Tim Alexander from Primus, online teaching guru Mike Johnston, Alan White from YES, Glen Sobel from The Alice Cooper group, Jeff Kathan from Paul Rodgers band, and a totally insane drummer from Seattle named Jon Bolton. He’s part of our house band, Apple Jam. They are considered by many to be the greatest Beatles tribute band in the world. We’ll certainly be playing some Beatle songs, particularly with Alan White being there. We’ll play some Alice Cooper songs, at least one Bad Company song, plus a few surprises. Speaking of surprises, we’re working on two very special additional guest artists. They aren’t confirmed yet so I can’t tell you yet. Keep an eye on our website and keep your fingers crossed that they come through.
One of the many great things about this event is the fact that you are donating the proceeds to charity. Can you tell us about the charity and why you have chosen it?
It’s actually two. Camp Korey is a camp in Carnation, WA, for kids battling serious illness. Groove Music for Youth is an organization that funds music programs for underprivileged kids.
Are you still looking for volunteers, and if so how can they get involved for this year or future events?
Yes! Woodstick relies on the help of about 150 volunteers. We can’t do it without volunteers. We have several of our key volunteers who have conflicts this year so we’re really in need of more help. We have jobs for virtually anyone willing to lend a hand in setup, security, parking, tear down and more. It’s a great way to meet other drummers in our area and be part of an awesome drumming event. All volunteers get to set their drums up before the doors open to the public. This guarantees you a spot in the front rows. Email Lori Morisette if you’d like to volunteer.
Tell us a bit about the world record we are attempting at Woodstick.
Our goal is to get as many drummers to participate, raise as much money as we can for these two fantastic charities and have a total blast doing it! We set a world record here in 2005 with 533 drummers. Drummers in England smashed it last summer with 800. We need every drummer we can get if we’re going to bring the record back home.
Of course, you have some great ways that we can get in on the world record attempt. How can we get close to the front of the stage? (And can we rent drums?)
It costs just $14.00 to participate. If you’d like to guarantee a spot in the first three rows you can do it for a $125.00 donation. For $250.00 we’ll put you in the very front row and we’ll supply a drum set for you. You just show up. You’ll also get a meet and greet with our artists and a gift bag from our sponsors.
What should a drummer bring if they are bringing their own set?
First, you need to bring a rug large enough for your whole set. We have to protect the wooden floor of the field house. You can bring as many drums as you like. It’s kind of like a car show. People like to setup their cool drum sets and show them off. There’s a prize for the coolest drum set and best vintage drum set. The minimum you need to bring is a bass, snare, hi-hat and tom. Don’t forget that rug.
How did Big Beat get started and how did you get involved?
Ten years ago Chris Kimball contacted me about this wacky idea he had for a Rotary fundraiser. I thought he was crazy and that it would never work. Then I realized how awesome it would be if it did work. Well, it worked and it’s been getting better every year. Chris and I have been working together on this since the start.
Attendees can also raise pledges for some great prizes. How can they get started?
Yes, you can raise funds kind of like you would in a walkathon. You get people to pledge money for you to participate. It’s really easy because now you can do it online via email. You can also print out pledge sheets from our website and do it in person. All of the info is on our website.
Speaking of prizes … any clues as to the incredible prizes you are giving away this year?
We sure do. There is over $10,000.00 in drum prizes to be given away. The top money raiser will win a one-of-a-kind Mapex Birch five-piece set with complete hardware and a set of Sabian XS-20 cymbals. There are prizes from all of our sponsors: DW, Dream, Zildjian, Istanbul Agop, Treeworks, Evans, Remo, ProMark, Vater, Tama, Gromabl, Extreme Isolation Headphones, and many more. There’s so much stuff that almost everyone goes home with a prize.
And of course we need to mention the drum set contest. What are the categories and is there a limit to the size of kit we can bring for the contest?
We have coolest drum set and best vintage drum set contests. There is no limit to the number of drums you can bring; the bigger the better. Some drummers have brought some pretty amazing kits in the past—and then the next year someone always tries to “one up” them. It’s a really fun competition and everyone has a blast!
About the Author
Sean has 15 years experience behind the kit, studying under greats like Mitch Dorge and participating in master classes with Dom Famularo and Zoro. It was these life-changing exchanges that prompted the Canadian-born drummer to create a global drumming community, The Black Page, that was easily accessible to drummers of all backgrounds and levels of expertise. In addition to his work with BP, Sean is one-half of the world soul group The Mitchells.
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