Rigsketball is about fun.
Rigsketball is a band basketball tournament played on a regulation height hoop on a band's tour van. This is sort of about basketball, but more than that it's a chance for bands to do something together, that's outside of their normal settings. Our goal is for members of the music community to interact in ways that they otherwise would not. We welcome bands from all genres to play in Rigsketball, hopefully this means that people will end up outside of their comfort zones. We believe that if you're out of your comfort zone, you're more likely to have the kind of experience that you can grow from. We think that by pitting bands against each other in basketball games that are as ridiculous as Rigsketball games are, they are more likely to see that we're in this pursuit of music and art together.
This world is better with novelty than without it.
RIgsektball started in 2011 after Bim Ditson attached a hoop to And And And's (his band) van as a joke and they challenged the band Archers to a game of three on three before a show the two bands were playing together. That summer, Bim announced he was putting together a band basketball tournament on the van and 32 bands signed up to play. For the first year, all the games between bands were at different locations all around Portland and the surrounding area. Each location was picked by the band with fewer MySpace listens, yes, we've come a long way.
In 2012 we got some other Portland music people involved in the planing process (Rochelle Hunter was a key aspect of this) and started throwing shows after the games. We held games with ripper shows afterwards everywhere from Plan-B, to Tonic Lounge, to Club 21, and many other wonderful dingy neighborhood Portland bars and venues. Always with some preference given to booking bands who bring the heat, and are not jocks on the court.
Starting in 2013 we've hosted the first and second round of the 32 band bracketed tournament at the free all ages music festival, PDX POP NOW! The following week we throw our own mini-festival called "Rigsketball Musicfest" which includes the finals of the tournament. For this we close off a street and build it into a multi-stage show with bands from all corners of sonic preference. Again, we try to book bands based on how good the music is and how actively the members of the band are participating in the music community at large. Out focus on community and novelty instead of a more logical capitalist approach to festival booking and event production in general garnered Rigsketball a feature piece outlining the project on VICE.com and quickly spawned interest on a national level. This mostly lead to random stuff but we made some new friends, and that is great, and they are still our homies.
In 2014 Juliet Zulu made a profile video on Bim and Rigsketball which earned a Vimeo Staff Pick and proceeded to again produce such support for the project and what it stands for. That continued Rigsketball's viability in a way, both locally and internationally. Ultimately though, Rigsketball is not about growth or reach or any of the things that people may tell you an artistic project has to be. It's just about bands having some fun and as long as we're able to provide a setting for that, we consider it a smashing success. Still trying to figure out how to pay to get the van to Japan, you got a plane? Hit us UPPPPPP!
Throughout Rigsketball's history the van has been there for bands and artists. Helping folks get to shows when their vans break down, giving visual artists a compelling platform to do and show art on. The rig was even involved in a mayoral candidacy. It has hosted satellite tournaments in cities outside of Portland including what has become a Rigsketball tradition at Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho. In 2015 Bim made a baby van with wings out of yard wood and PVC pipe and styrofoam that we flew in Red Bull Flugtag in Portland, OR.
Over the years we've had the pleasure of facilitating countless collaborations between artists, creating basketball rivalries between bands that melt away when the games are over and they are back on the same team, and so far we've had something like 250 bands play 3 on 3 basketball on the van. Here's to continuing in the direction of novelty!