Features Music Looking Forward to The Fest 17

Music: Looking Forward to The Fest 17

The Fest is a fascinating piece of DIY culture. Not only has it grown into a mega-event of 400+ bands, comedians, wrestlers, and other forms of entertainment, but it’s continued year after year for 17 years. Keep in mind that few bands last more than a couple years, and that the DIY scene is an ever-changing place with new people joining as others choose a different path. It’s rare for a band or a venue to last that long, let alone something of this scale, required dedication and passion from so many people. The fact that The Fest exists as what it is today is astonishing enough: an event with 400 bands that keeps a low key atmosphere is quite the accomplishment. It’s more a sum-of-the-whole event than something based on a few big font headliners. As someone about to visit his tenth Fest this year (in truth 9, but I’m counting last year’s Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor 6 too), one often over-looked point about the annual party in Gainesville is that it’s survived a passing of musical generations. The bands that played Fest 1 and 2 are mostly long gone. Some of those musicians are still active in the scene, but for the most part the bands at Fest 17 weren’t around—some musicians may not have even been born, back when Fest 1 took place at a few Gainesville venues.

As we look forward to another week of Festing, Scene Point Blank caught up with several performers to hear what the event means to them today. We included a variety of younger and seasoned bands, bands hitting The Fest for the first time, and a couple who have been there almost every year.

The Fest 17 takes place in Gainesville, FL from Oct. 26-28. Pre-Fest takes place in Ybor City from Oct. 23-24.

Audio Karate

Jason Camacho



Have you ever been to The Fest before?
This is Audio Karate’s first trip to The Fest as either performers or attendees so we are stoked.

How did you first hear about The Fest?
When we took our hiatus I stopped playing, listening to, or doing anything music related, so during that 12 year era I missed out on The Fest. So my introduction was Rob at Wiretap saying, “Hey, you guys want to do The Fest?

When you play an event like this, do you approach it differently than a "regular show"?
No, we just go out and play our best and have fun. Sounds cliché but it’s true. We go for it whether we’re playing a dive bar or a festival.

Who are some of the of the artists you're the most excited to see?
Tons! Cursive, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Get Married, Menzingers (sucks we play right after them so we’ll miss ‘em), Dead Bars, and our old (oldest) friends Tsunami Bomb.

Will you be touring to The Fest? Why or why not?
Hell no, touring is hard for old dudes like us, plus our kids freak out if we’re gone for more than 4 nights. We are very happy to fly out, play hard, and fly home.

Bad Cop/Bad Cop

Stacey Dee

 

How many Fests have you attended? How many have you performed at?

This will be our second

What keeps you coming back?
It’s such a good time! Plus, friends come from all over the world. It’s a cool place to meet up and hang for a few days.

What's your favorite Fest memory?
Playing in Ninja Turtle costumes.

What excites you about Fest 17 as compared to other years?
We have been working so super hard the past two years. It’s going to be nice to be able cap off our year with good music and buds.

What makes The Fest different than other big festivals?
It’s s super intimate festival.

Small club shows within a short walking distance of each other. It’s just a good time! Festival days are the best! Plus, we get to go swimming in natural springs with manatee!

Bat Boy

Jake Guralnik (playing in Bat Boy and Doll Baby this year)

Have you ever been to The Fest before?
Yes, this will be my 9th year in a row. I need to go at least once more so I can say I've done a decade of Fest.

How did you first hear about The Fest?
I heard about it in high school, probably due to reading nothing but punknews.org. I dreamed of going for years before I was actually able to.

When you play an event like this, do you approach it differently than a "regular show"?
For bands that I've been in, the Fest set is always the most fun of the year. We could go on tour and play to 2 or 3 people a night that like our band, and then at Fest all those people are in a little room together having fun. People come to Fest from across the world to have to best weekend of their year, so it's always going to feel a little crazier than an average show. It's also a little different in that the bands I play in rarely play 30-minute sets on a regular basis, so we have to dust off some rarely played tracks to fill up the time slot haha.

Who are some of the of the artists you're the most excited to see?
The Lawrence Arms and all of my friends

Will you be touring to The Fest? Why or why not?
Nope, straight shot to Gainesville and back. So many bands are trying to book shows down and we're lucky enough to live in a place that's not too much of a hassle to do the trip in one shot.

City Mouse

Miski Dee

How many Fests have you attended? How many have you performed at?
I wanna say this is our 6th, both attending and playing.

What keeps you coming back?
It's like a family tradition! At this point I can't imagine not being there.

What's your favorite Fest memory?
My favorite Fest memory would have to be bobbing for PBR's with Joe from the Banner Pilot before the attendant who gave us the ok realized that it was a very bad idea.

What excites you about Fest 17 as compared to other years?
I think in this current political climate, I am especially looking forward to some Fest family love to recharge and recenter.

What makes The Fest different than other big festivals?
I love seeing so many of the faces I see traveling all year in one place. It really is like a big family reunion.

Comeback Kid

Andrew

Have you ever been to The Fest before?
No, this is our first time!

How did you first hear about The Fest?
I’ve known about Fest forever. Kind of one of those staples that we would always hear about.

When you play an event like this, do you approach it differently than a "regular show"?
We approach every event in a different way. We are a band that goes from playing open air festivals to playing floor shows and really it all depends on the venue and what we have to work with. Set wise we keep it a mix of new bangers and old classics.

Who are some of the of the artists you're the most excited to see?
I think we are only there for a day as we are playing with Madball that week in the Florida area so I want to see our boys in Flatliners and also Metz.

Will you be touring to The Fest? Why or why not?
We are mixing three tours together and routed it explicitly to get to Gainesville to play Fest, so we built around it.

The Flatliners

Chris Cresswell

How many Fests have you attended? How many have you performed at?
This will our 11th time performing at The Fest. We have survived 10 whole times already!

What keeps you coming back?
It’s been said over and over at this point, but still rings so true. It’s the punk rock family reunion we look forward to every year. You’ll see folks you know from all over the globe in a great little college town in Florida, all there to soak up the sun and some sangria. Oh, and bands too! It really brings a great stretch of world right to your fingertips for the weekend. And of course, the people who run The Fest are friends, and the volunteers are fans. It makes for a truly positive experience for everyone.

What's your favorite Fest memory?
Either seeing Paint It Black play in a second floor apartment living room, or seeing Paint It Black play in the back of a box truck and it being busted by cops on horses.

What excites you about Fest 17 as compared to other years?
We’re hoping to get that traditional Happy 11th Fest cake this year.

Who is your favorite band you've discovered at Fest?
Discovering that Mikey Erg is in 8 different bands at once will always be something I’ll never forget.

Foxy Dads

Ilana Hope

Have you ever been to The Fest before?
Yes! Last year was my first!

How did you first hear about The Fest?
My friends in Cold Wrecks used to talk about it all the time! But so much of it was 21+. I waited ‘til I was older to start going!

When you play an event like this, do you approach it differently than a "regular show"?
There’s definitely pressure for sure, and when you travel such a long way and play to people who may not know you, of course want to make a good impression! But I tend to feel that way about every show!

Who are some of the of the artists you're the most excited to see?
Granddad, Just Friends, Teenage Halloween, Cold Wrecks, Kississippi, Harmony Woods, and probably so many more!

Will you be touring to The Fest? Why or why not?
Yes! I don’t usually get to take so much time off work or travel very far, but the band The Weak Days, who we’ll be touring with has made this such a dream for me and we were able to make everything work out!

Radioactivity

Jeff

Have you ever been to The Fest before?
This is the first Fest for Radioactivity, but I've played a few times with other bands.

How did you first hear about The Fest?
I honestly don't remember now. I've been coming to The Fest for quite a few years now.

When you play an event like this, do you approach it differently than a "regular show"?
No, I don't think we do. We play the same type of set every night and try to give it our best at every show.

Who are some of the of the artists you're the most excited to see?
I’m looking forward to Night Birds and Riverboat Gamblers and some of my bandmates are excited to watch some wrestling.

Will you be touring to The Fest? Why or why not?
Yeah, we have a full tour leading up to The Fest.

Squarecrow

Kevin White (bass/vocals)

How many Fests have you attended? How many have you performed at?
I've been to one Fest which I believe was Fest 14. I had an unscheduled performance of taking a nap during the Lagwagon set.

What keeps you coming back?
It's a full week/weekend that becomes a small colony of likeminded sweaty humans that don't mind smelling like a garden of ripe onions, cropdusting their way to the front of the stage, screaming and losing their voices to band songs that they don't know the words to, randomly meeting friends that become lifelong friendships and/or lovers, meeting friends you've been friends with on social media for 5 years that you've never met in real life, and that napping is an acceptable party event.

What's your favorite Fest memory?
At the time, I was living in Orlando and hadn't seen many of my West Coast friends for some time. First venue that I entered was High Dive, and I walked out to the back patio and saw all of these people that I had missed and hadn't spoken to for some time. It was such a great feeling to feel all that love in one spot.

What excites you about Fest 17 as compared to other years?
I'm officially playing. Squarecrow - Saturday 6pm @ Palominos (band/show plug)

Who is your favorite band you've discovered at Fest?
I discovered Meat Wave at Fest and I haven't seen them since. I'm really excited to see them this year!

Tiltwheel

Davey

Also playing with: Santa Ana Knights, International Dipshit, Too Many Daves, and I’ll be joining City Mouse for their Fest set too!

How many Fests have you attended? How many have you performed at??

What keeps you coming back?
It’s the world’s best family reunion.

What's your favorite Fest memory?
It seems I make a new batch every year. That’s a good thing. Making it through three Fests seamlessly sober makes me happy. I love watching bands play. I’m glad I still get to do that!

What excites you about Fest 17 as compared to other years?
This year marks Santa Ana Knights first time at Fest. I love our band. I go into trances when we play music together.

Who is your favorite band you've discovered at Fest?
That’s a tough one. No More and Vacation come to mind. Airstream Futures at last year’s Pre-Fest was an eye opener.

Credits

Words by Loren on Oct. 21, 2018, 2:59 p.m.

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Looking Forward to The Fest 17

Posted by Loren on Oct. 21, 2018, 2:59 p.m.

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