mike crawford

product design @ canva

home projects CV

first dance

This was an underground music event that I organised for the crossover from 2019 to 2020. I also built a website and designed physical flyers for the event.


Having thrown underground music events for a few years prior, and attending / observing the digital presence of hundreds over the years, I had become increasingly frustrated with the limitations that events being centered around a facebook event imposed for it digitally.

At best you could have a really nice video cover photo, accompanied by some static text and a link to buy tickets. Furthermore, it almost seemed required for the success of your event that you at least put some $$$ into Facebook advertisement.

These points, tied in the fact that I really did not use facebook for anything besides knowing what music events were on, motivated me to dream up a platform purely for events and nothing else. It would exist outside of facebook (or any social media platform), similar to allow way more freedom for organisers to execute a creative vision for the digital component of their event.

first steps

Before pouring any more time into this project (a event website builder sounds like a lot of work), there was one question that I wanted to try and answer.

Can you run a successful music event without using social media?

It seemed pretty likely the answer could be no, but I hoped it was possible, so I decided to organise my own event to test my idea. Since this was a personal project, and I was only just starting to get my head around web development, I really only had two requirements.

  1. Build a cool looking website for the event
  2. Advertise the event without using social media

Build a cool looking website

I knew a bit of React, and was relatively comfortable with straight html/css/js, so looked around for some fun libraries I could play around with to get started. One library I came across was ZDOG, as well as a nice text plugin for it. It ended up looking pretty unique compared to other events I'd seen, so I decided to run with it.

There existed a React binding library for ZDOG, but not for the text plugin. I decided now wasn't the time to figure out how to make my own React bindings, so converted the site I'd developed so far back from React into vanilla js.

Within the week, I had a pretty unique looking website (there was a countdown where HNY now appears). I couldn't test it with too many people since my advertising strategy required some amount of secrecy, but I did get some positive feedback to those that I did show (including the artists I had planned to invite to play).


advertising without social media

To make things even harder for myself, I decided to keep this project a secret from my friends so that they could receive a mysterious physical flyer with their name handwritten on it. While this approach probably wouldn't scale for future events, it was fun to do and definitely felt novel.

flyer for first dance
a flyer for the event

I designed and printed some physical flyers, and then dropped them off to people about one month prior the event, which was going to place on new years eve.

end result

We ended up getting almost two hundred sign ups for attendance through the form on the site. If this was the amount of people attending on a Facebook event, I would have considered it a major success, and since there was more effort required to sign up to my event than one on fb, I was confident the party would go well.

I won't go into the rest of the work involved in the physical organisation of an underground music event, but I did end up finding a pretty great spot to bring in the new year. 🙂

view of airport from event
view from the event
NuMartha headlined the event
NuMartha flew to Sydney from Melbourne to headline