A festival weekend wouldn’t be complete without the threat of rain, but while fans at Wireless in Hyde Park mostly got away dry, 500 geeks at Alexandra Palace couldn’t escape Saturday's storm.
Hack Day is a 36-hour marathon of coding, pizza, beer and music sponsored by Yahoo! and the BBC. But the festival gods weren’t about to spare us just because we were indoors. Instead they sent two bolts of lightning sizzling down onto Ally Pally, fusing the fire alarm wiring and opening the automatic vents in the roof to the morning’s downpour.
Only slightly daunted by the rain, intrepid hackers opened umbrellas and continued tapping at keyboards as technical staff scurried around fixing things. Eventually order and Wi-Fi were restored, and an all-day-all-night coding marathon began – interrupted only by dinner and widescreen Doctor Who.
Sunday afternoon brought the unveiling of everyone’s hacks. Among the 73 projects wired, mashed and scraped together were a crowd-controlled blimp, a fighting game where you're only as strong as your’re web savvy, and a Flickr search for photos taken on the same latitude and longitude around the world.
Finally the knackered, unwashed mass mustered one more burst of enthusiasm for a gig by The Rumble Strips, who defended their band-to-watch status admirably with some summery power pop. Even with the hitches the geeks stayed upbeat throughout the weekend, and the charming weirdness of a sleepover at Ally Pally turned the whole thing into a crucible for a lot of cool ideas. It felt a shame to leave, but most folk really did need a bath.
By Jonathan Black
Top image taken from ColmMcMullan's Flickr photostream.
Other image by the author.