Features Music The Fest 17

Music: The Fest 17

If you count last year’s Pre-Fest only trip, Fest 17 marks my tenth trip to Florida for the annual event. The Fest is a monster of an event to cover. It boasts more than 400 bands in total and, including Pre-Fest in Tampa beforehand, it spans five days. Fest proper is a 3-day weekend, Friday through Sunday, and that alone is both a great experience and one that can wear a body down.

It’s a big endeavor, but Scene Point Blank was up for the challenge. Despite nine previous trips, Fest 17 was the first time I’d done both Pre-Fest and The Fest together. It was a seamless experience, thanks in part to The Fest’s charter shuttle between cities. Surprisingly, I was event ready to keep going after five days and nights of live music, witnessing at least 65 different sets.



Previous SPB Fest coverage has focused on highlights. This year I considered switching it up for a narrative, stream of conscious piece that gave each set at least a mention or sentence, but the simple fact is that it’s too expansive to do that in a way that captures the spirit. The Fest is about the music, but it’s equally about the people, the city of Gainesville, and a freewheeling air of running from venue to venue, making Gainesville your own for a short fall getaway where the freezing temperatures back home are a distant memory and the banality of cubicle life is replaced with infectious smiles, singalongs, meeting old friends and making new ones, and mountains of PBR empties.

The shortfall of the highlights format is that it downplays just how fun it is to move between venues, hitting large outdoor concerts and dark corner bars, grabbing pizza by the slice and Cuban to-go food in route. The music may drive The Fest, but the in-motion movement defines the experience more than any single venue or headliner. As usual, SPB focused on catching new bands and shows in small, intimate venues. The headliners were great and undoubtedly created lasting memories for more Fest attendees, but with all due respect to those headliners, that just isn’t going to be the focus on this piece.

Sundowner

Jump to page
  1. Page 1 of 3

The Fest 17 (42 photos)

Credits

Words by Loren on Nov. 12, 2018, 3:54 p.m.

All photos by Loren Green.

Leave a comment
The Fest 17

Posted by Loren on Nov. 12, 2018, 3:54 p.m.

Share this content

Pages in this feature:

  1. Big Pre-Fest at Little Ybor 6 (Tampa, FL)
  2. The Fest 17 (Gainesville, FL)

More like this

The Fest 18: Making FESTory

Music The Fest 18: Making FESTory

Posted Oct. 28, 2019, 2:30 p.m.

The Fest 18 begins this Friday, running November 1-3. Which means that the punk party has overtaken Gainesville 18 times, with literally hundreds of bands ...

Also in this section
The Fest 18: Making FESTory

Music The Fest 18: Making FESTory

Posted Oct. 28, 2019, 2:30 p.m.

The Fest 18 begins this Friday, running November 1-3. Which means that the punk party has overtaken Gainesville 18 times, with literally hundreds of bands ...

Riot Fest 2019: our personal highlights

Music Riot Fest 2019: our personal highlights

Posted Sept. 29, 2019, 2:34 p.m.

We had such a blast at Riot Fest 2019 that we want to share our favorite moments and also give you recommendations for how you ...

Bands to check out at Riot Fest 2019

Music Bands to check out at Riot Fest 2019

Posted Sept. 11, 2019, 7:36 a.m.

For 15 years now Chicago-based Riot Fest has been a multi-day music festival specializing in punk, rock, alternative, metal, and hip-hop. Although festivals are popping ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.