Since 2005, Bit Gen Gamer Fest has been turning Baltimore into a real life neon-lit video game arcade, complete with live bands playing soundtracks from but popular video games such as the creepy and ominous sounds of Castlevania to the upbeat and lively music from Super Mario Bros.
The venue for the festival has changed a few times over the years as the festival went on, but soon John DeCampos the organizer of the festival realized that his events weren’t garnering as many people as he had hoped. In recent years, the festival has been drawing a decent amount of attention to Rams Head Live, however the event was still far from being sold out DeCampos soon realized that he needed to recapture, “that feeling of almost like a basement show. We just want to create that sort of sweaty, memorable, sort of cramped but not uncomfortably so…feeling, I was like, ‘Look we need to go back to Ottobar.’” After returning to Remington, one of their old venues, and having a successful turnout, Bit Gen Gamer Fest will be returning to Ottobar for it’s 12th celebration, the festival will be headlined by Bit Brigade a quintet known for playing soundtrack from The Legend of Zelda and Megaman.
According to DeCampo, Baltimore’s festival has been bursting with video game lovers an musicians and most of the acts for the show are based in Baltimore and with for the musicians creating musical compositions based on video game soundtracks or recreating the original soundtracks themselves is a true testament to their abilities. DeCampos himself plays in two bands known as Rare Candy (named after the item found in Pokémon) and Cowabunga Pizza Time, he and Chris Baines the co-founder of Bit Gen Gamer Fest got the idea for the festival when they played at Penn State University in a band they called Entertainment System. The festival orst began twelve years ago, when they held their own “video-game-music concert” known as 8-Bit Genocide (later renamed Bit Gen Gamer Fest). The concert (now festival) attracted so much attention that bands from outside of Baltimore began making their way to enjoy the festivities. DeCampo and Baines love the music of the festival the most, DeCampo himself loves the soundtracks of the Sonic The Hedgehog series as well as many older game series that he, Baines, and a majority of the other bands that attend the festival can reminisce about from their childhood. Some even go as far back as to play soundtracks from lesser-known games such as Wolfchild.
Two of the most popular games that have their soundtracks performed at the festival practically every year are the soundtracks from the Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda games, with the only exception being the newer Zelda games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild. For those who are interested, Bit Gen Gamer Fest XII will take place this Saturday at Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., Remington. With performances by, Bit Brigade, X-Hunters, Steel Samurai, and many more, doors will open at 3 p.m. $25. For more information go to theottobar.com or call 410-662-0069. Happy gaming!
Featured Image via Pixaby/Leiver