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Cheesemint's Charity Rock Band Rockathon

Cheesemint are a group of friends who were drawn together through their love of gaming.  We play games, and have recently started making videos - our first being a tribute to "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?"  We'd mostly played Halo until our controllers overheated, until in March '09 we were introduced to Rock Band and things escalated from there.

By the end of the summer, we'd played every venue, done every gig except one...  the Endless Setlist 2.  We thought we could do it, but we thought it'd be more fun to share the experience.  A small achievement grabbing challenge quickly escalated into a full-on sponsored event, raising money for Debs' chosen charity - the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust. But 84 songs wasn't enough!  We thought, let's round it out to the 100.  A 16 song encore, songs the band wanted to play.

With the backing of The Forum in Norwich, UK, letting us use their enormous 24m digital screen Fusion we set to work.  In the week before the event we bought an extra Rock Band guitar (which we all signed in real "rock" fashion), drum sticks, a t-shirt and badges to offer as prizes for a "rocknrolla tombola!" We chose our encore tracks from DLC, finishing with everyone joining in on the anthemic "Still Alive."

Typically, disaster struck just a couple of days before the Rockathon, when the main XBox360 we were going to use for the gig had the dreaded three red rings of doom.  Luckily one of our drummers stepped in to help, offering up his XBox, with a swift repurchase of the DLC, we were back in action.

The 24-meter digital screen in Fusion is huge, projecting a massive collage and the live feed from the game so the unsuspecting public could see what we were doing.  The band itself set up with the digital screen behind us, playing from a plasma screen in front.  Syncing was tricky initially, as the signal had to go from the Xbox into the Fusion computers, and back to the screens and the sound system, creating a bit of lag, but some manual tweaking and all kicked off on November 19th 2009, at 10:00am.

While we rocked the main Fusion screen, the reception area was dominated by a second Rock Band kit we'd set up on another plasma screen allowing members of the public to come and have a go - for a small donation to the charity of course.

The Endless Setlist only had a couple of minor hiccoughs - one of our guitarists, didn't know her own strength and broke one of the whammy bars, and the red-flashing highway of the drummer in "Painkiller" had us all panicking that we'd fail on the last song!  Thankfully, we struggled through, and then went on to our 16 song encore, finishing the last lines of "Still Alive" as the clock hit 6pm.

We're still collecting sponsor money, but we're looking to easily break the £600 ($960) barrier, and people can still donate towards this great cause on our Just Giving page.

Thanks again to Harmonix for their great support of the event (and supplying some cool t-shirts for us to wear on the day) and to all who helped and gave their valuable time and sweat to keep the rock alive for charity.

You can find our more about Cheesemint (and our upcoming webseries) on our website www.cheesemint.com or follow us on Twitter @cheesemint.

Cheesemint rocks for charity