Chico attempts to break Guinness record


One of many performers at the DownLo. Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

Matthew Manfredi

For a weekday afternoon in downtown Chico, the DownLo is busy, loud and active with people of all ages.

The thud of walking bass lines and the bluster of bluesy guitar leads echo over pool tables. As people listen and throw back pints, acoustic guitar cases lean against the bar, and chord progressions and lyrics are being scribbled down on notepads.

Since the first day of April, musicians, dedicated supporters and volunteers have been rallying at the DownLo for Chico Breaks the Record, a second attempt to put Chico in the “Guinness World Records” for the longest ongoing concert.

The event will continue until April 17 for 24 hours a day with only five minutes between each act.

2016 will be the year Chico strikes back.

Last year, the month-long event took place across town at the Tackle Box, but the Guinness headquarters granted no validation after Julian Ruck, the event’s founder and overseer, hand-delivered the application in New York City.

Julian Ruck, busy on a Wednesday afternoon, at the DownLo while artist Fish Tank performs in the background. Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

“We presented Guinness with one application with 35 days of physical evidence,” Ruck said. “They ended up with something completely out of their scope.”

Ruck mentioned that although last year’s attempt worked well at the Tackle Box, with the second attempt underway a year later, things are still running parallel to the initial attempt to break the record.

“I’ve done silly, crazy things with music projects around town that involve the community and people working together to do something bigger,” Ruck said. “It kind of just led up to Chico Breaks the Record.”

This year’s event will offer a different format, focusing on the entertainment value of the Chico music scene and getting musicians to play “power sets” of their best music rather than focusing on the endurance of long individual performances.

Massimo Halterman, junior music industry and recording engineering major. Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

“The fact that we are getting together to do this again is awesome,” said Massimo Halterman, junior music industry and recording engineering major. “We have a great music scene and people need to know that.”

With over a week of ongoing performances already documented, the event seems to be carrying on in a positive direction for most of that time. People are literally working around the clock to make this year a success.

“From 2 to 3 in the afternoon it’s a party,” Ruck said. “But when 2 and 3 a.m. come around it really starts to die down.”

Ten people must be in the crowd at all times for a performance to be validated by Guinness. This makes things difficult in the morning hours in quiet downtown Chico on a weeknight.

Kyle Ullrich, owner of the DownLo and Lost On Main. Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

But with Chico coming together to make this musical feat possible, musicians are on standby and everyone in the community is coming together, willingly reaching out to help in whatever way imaginable.

“When Julian asked us if we wanted to do it,” said Kyle Ullrich, owner of the DownLo and Lost On Main, “I was like ‘hell yeah, of course we’ll take it on.’”

Be sure to stop into the DownLo sometime before Sunday, April 17, to not only witness the longest concert in history, but to participate and be a part of it.

“I think people will be inspired by what’s going on in Chico,” Ruck said.

Matthew Manfredi can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewmanfredi on Twitter.