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Music: The Fest That Never Was

Debt Neglector


Photo: @shuttercrust

Alex Goldfarb – bass/vocals

As a Florida-based band, I imagine you've been to multiple Fests (either performing or as fans). What was the first Fest you went to and how do you remember your first impressions?

Being from Florida (and OLD) I actually have played ALMOST every Fest. The only one I missed was Fest 12. I played the very first year it happened at Fest 1 (it happened in May that year I believe!) at a place called the Purple Porpoise with my old band New Mexican Disaster Squad. I remember we got to the venue and they handed us a 12-pack of PBR and that was our beer for the day. Only one of us actually drank back then so HE had a pretty good time from what I recall, haha. I don’t remember too much of who else played that year, it all blends together and was so long ago! But I don’t think I realized at the time what a huge thing it would become. My current band Debt Neglector has played Fest the past 4 years and we were REALLY looking forward to this year.


Mateo – guitar
Alex – bass
Stevie - drums

You just put out a new record that, in a way, would have been debuting at Fest this year. What is a record you picked up at the last Fest you attended that's left a lasting impression? (Any deeper thoughts to go with that -- perhaps a memory of that band's set?)

The last Fest we attended/played was Fest 17, in 2018. Even though they weren’t a “new” band, and the record by this band was bought at a fest prior by our bassist, one of the sets that made the whole weekend memorable was Signals Midwest at the Atlantic on Friday and Wooly’s on Saturday night. The Atlantic set was a “mystery band” set; Signals played the entirety of their debut album, a record we hadn’t really listened to (At This Age is a staple in the band van, but we hadn’t really branched out past that), so seeing the entirety of Latitudes and Longitudes was awesome, and their regular set the next night was incredible, and led to an extra appreciation and love for that band.

Dollar Signs

Erik Button – singer/songwriter/guitar

Do you have any "Fest regrets" from previous years? Perhaps questionable tattoo choices, or on a less dramatic note, missing a set you'd intended to go see?

It’s hard to have regrets when so much happens. You can always see more bands and hang more with friends! I drank a little too much after our set and I missed Spraynard like a dummy. Usually my biggest regret is not taking the Tuesday off work so I can recover.



Do you have any Fest traditions?

Let me tell you a little story about my Fest traditions. They all involve alcohol, lots of it.

On our first Fest, me and some friends that used to live and run Suburbia here in Brooklyn drunkenly burned each other with a cigarette and drunkenly said this was going to be a tradition -- I'm really glad it wasn't.

My other tradition is to always be really hungover whenever I have to play an acoustic set. For some weird reason they are always early either on Saturday or Sunday after a night or heavy drinking and partying. You will always see me there with sunglasses on playing some sad songs usually slower than usual, haha.

On our third Fest we brought inflatable orcas to our show at the High Dive and people went fucking nuts. One person tried to stage dive on top of one and fell to the floor pretty bad. He is fine, I think. Part of the ceiling collapsed, which could've been really bad, but everyone held the part of the ceiling that fell down and slowly took it outside. Last year we didn't bring any inflatables but some people brought their own to our show which was pretty rad. So yeah, let's keep bringing floaties to all of our shows please, haha.

I think my favorite part of the Fest traditions is the purge at the Wyndham hotel on Sunday night. You are not in a band or a fan there. We are all friends drinking and laughing and getting in the pool and telling stories. Fuck I miss the fest and my Fest friends. See y'all next year!

The Raging Nathans

Josh Goldman – guitar/vocals

If Fest were today, what 3 bands (from the Fest 19 lineup) would you see first? (There are no schedule conflicts in this hypothetical.)

Gorilla Biscuits, The Lawrence Arms, Canadian Rifle


Mike Natoli – bass/vocals

Is there a single band who you discovered at The Fest that is now a favorite?

We played on Saturday night of Fest 16 at Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar. After our set I loaded offstage and walked over to the merch table. The band playing immediately after us was Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. They were from Birmingham, AL and I’d never heard of them before. I was so blown away by their twangy sound, raw energy and sheer volume that while I was selling merch and talking to people I kept pointing out how good they were. It wasn’t until I got home from Fest and heard their 2017 record Youth Detention (Nail My Feet Down To The Southside Of Town) that I discovered their message was even bigger than their music. Lee’s lyrics speak loudly of dismantling systems of oppression, showing up for marginalized groups and building more inclusive communities. In 2018 they released Live At The Nick, which featured the between-song introductions that are a staple of the live experience. Since that first encounter we’ve been lucky enough to cross paths again, including a few shows around Fest 18. We’ve built a friendship with Lee and the boys and their records have been regulars in my rotation.



Photo: Jerred Lazar

Chris Stowe

What is your favorite thing to eat in Gainesville?

As far as a band consensus goes, we can all agree that The Top is always solid, it's a great spot to actually have a nice chill sit down meal. Corey spends most of his time at Taco Bell though. Another yearly tradition is Chris ordering way too much Reggae Shack.

Attic Salt

Fred Malcom – drums

How many times have you been to The Fest? Can you share a few memories (or hopes for when Fest 19 happens)?

Six or 7 times, I think? The most unforgettable unmemorable Fest for me was Fest 18, last year. I was beyond delusional sick with the flu driving down to Fest, like game 5, Jordan, ‘97 Finals sick. The show must go on and I didn't want to bail on my bandmates.

I only left my room to play 4 sets then retreated: one with Attic Salt, the rest with my other bands. Great story huh? When I'm not ill, my favorite place to hang is always the High Dive beer garden. It's the old duster pop-punk meet up hang. Hell yeah, I hope Fest 19 happens next year.

Kepi Ghoulie

Whether Fest related, or from another tour, what is your favorite memory as a performer in Gainesville?

EVERY SHOW I play at Fest is special! I know it may sound corny but my band always changes! Members of or with Mean Jeans, Chixdiggit, Slackers, AJJ, it is special every time! A great memory is dragging KJ Chix back from gator watching in time to play a daytime acoustic show!

My ongoing love affair memory is FIVE STAR PIZZA! ️

Franz Nicolay


Phoro: Miles Kerr

What is your favorite thing to eat in Gainesville?

Spicy Tempeh and Dulce de Leche Festival at Reggae Shack

Sam Russo

What is your favorite piece of music to come out of the COVID situation so far?

I had to pick two, sorry if that’s naughty.

My favourite two pieces of music to come out of all this so far are The Offspring’s cover of “Here Kitty Kitty” by Joe Exotic and “ACIYHAB” by Throwing Stuff. The Offspring video has a skateboarding tiger in it, and that Throwing Stuff jam is a cross continental hardcore banger.


Marco – bass
Alex – drums
Davey – guitar
Mr. Cap - vocals

What bands do you make a point to see every year at The Fest?

Well, we always make a point in seeing bands with friends in them. Specially bands from La Escalera Records, all of them are friends of ours and we like to support them.

Rational Anthem

Noelle Stolp – guitar/vocals
Chris Hembrough – bass/backing vocals
Pete Stolp – drums

How has COVID changed how your band operates this year?

The band doesn’t operate nearly as much. We write and practice much less. There are no venues nor tours happening. We should have written a rock opera at this point but this year sort of took the wind out of our sails. We still have plans of writing and releasing a new album next year once things level out. We all live next to each and have a practice space so it’s just about getting together and getting our heads out of our asses and being productive. It’ll happen...eventually.

Broadway Calls


Photo: Jacki Vitetta taken at High Dive

Ty Vaughn – guitar/vocals

You released a new record this year. Is it odd to not be playing live in support? Do you think the songs will still feel fresh whenever live shows resume?

Yeah it fucking sucks to not be playing shows. Very depressing. I honestly don’t think live shows are going to resume. Not in the same way we had before. We were so lucky for so long.

The songs are solid, I’m not afraid of them going anywhere or sounding stale. Sad In The City is apocalyptic, and it’s not like things are getting better anytime soon.

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Words by Loren on Oct. 29, 2020, 10:58 a.m.

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The Fest That Never Was

Posted by Loren on Oct. 29, 2020, 10:58 a.m.

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