March 25th – The Festival of Radiodance

‘Radiodance’ is the name given to the fluctuation of radio signals through various frequencies across the Buentoille region. The phenomenon has not been observed anywhere else in the known world, and its cause is not known. Some theories propose that an extremely powerful super low frequency signal could be spreading beyond its natural frequency range, thereby ‘pushing’ normal radio waves up and down from the frequency at which they were broadcast. It is not clear, however, how this is possible (the expected result would be that the normal radio signals would be simply overwritten), and many scientists have countered that this explanation simply makes no sense. The phenomenon means that conventional radio equipment needs to be fitted with ‘tracking’ equipment that adjusts the frequency the radio is receiving at, as the signal ‘dances’ across the frequency range. High frequency radio signals are subject to frequent cut-outs as they turn into microwaves.

Because of its sporadic nature, radiodance was barely noticed in the late nineteenth century, when radio equipment started becoming more widespread, yet the phenomenon seems to have become more frequent as time has passed. Before it caused any real issues for the population, it was observed by Gillian Hume, a scientist whose work then focused on electromagnetism. She coined the term ‘radiodance’ and invented the tracking system that all modern Buentoilliçan radios still use to this day. These devices were fitted to all new Buentoilliçan radios, a brilliant breakthrough that Hume thought was worth celebrating in her own festival.

When the festival had been going for a few years, the radio stations and papers heard about it, but because the phenomenon is so complex and poorly understood, they chose to spin the story in more understandable manner. As a result, there are actually two festivals today: one is carried on by the descendants of Hume, a small party with cake where new research into radiodance is discussed; the other was sparked by the media reports, and takes the form of a large dancing competition where the tracking device is taken off a radio and contestants have to maintain a coherent dance whilst the signal fluctuates between several stations.

Over the years those who organise each festival have been made aware of the other, and whilst there have been some paltry attempts at connecting the two together, nothing has ever stuck; the two groups are simply too disparate. There does, however, seem to be a level of tolerance between the groups, an understanding that really they are celebrating the same thing.

The more popular dancing festival is held outside in Revolution Park, where a large sound-system blares out a mixture of music, talk-shows and static. The starting frequency is chosen by someone bowling a ball along a path that has various signs that designate a certain frequency hammered into the ground beside it. Wherever the ball comes to rest, that radio station is selected. Various bets are often cast on this stage of proceedings. After this, all who wish to participate dance in a large crowd, overlooked by a panel of expert judges. Every minute the worst two dancers are separated from the crowd until a winner is declared. The festival usually takes around an hour to complete, though it once took two days when judges could not decide between the masterful dancers Freidrich ‘snake hips’ Borcho and Jinny ‘the knees’ Quakeblood. After winning three years on the trot, Izak Ugirin was banned from participating in the competition.

This year the less popular scientist’s festival hopes to discuss plans to gain more funding from the Council of Logistics to study radiodance. Over the last ten years the phenomenon has become more frequent, and they want to know why. The cake will reportedly be ‘carrot cake, although I might make a lemon sponge.’

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Festival of Benighted Journeys
  • The Festival of Insisting Triangle Players are Legitimate Musicians
  • The Anniversary of the Glass Worker’s Lament