Another October is upon us, and with that means another FEST. In the past several years we’ve brought you coverage of Gainesville, Fla.’s premier – and perhaps only – music festival, and this year is no different. With FEST 11 rapidly approaching, we’re offering up some recommendations. If you’re at a loss for how to start your day, how to end it or what do in-between, we’ve got you covered.
Where to start: Traveling 4:40 p.m. (Boca Fiesta/Palomino)
After snagging a wristband at registration and perusing the overwhelmingly fun FEST flea market, be sure to get to Boca Fiesta to see Traveling. Fronted by Ginger Alford (Good Luck/One Reason), the group is powerful indie-pop that will be sure to start out FEST 11 on the right foot. Plus, it’s taking place at ma Mexican restaurant that serves exotic meat tacos. Not being there is just plain foolish.
Where to end: Latterman 12:40 a.m. (8 Seconds)
To be blunt, skipping Latterman is a gigantic mistake. The band has only played a handful of shows since getting back together last year, and the group’s three full-lengths are still as vibrant and uplifting as they were upon release. For a blast of positivity that will surely permeate the rest of the weekend, Latterman is not only the obvious choice, but perhaps the smartest one as well.
What to do in between: Prawn 9:30 p.m. (High Dive)
Although High Dive boasts a line-up on Friday that may be the most solid, be sure to turn up with enough to catch New Jersey’s Prawn. The band has a ’90s emo pedigree with a post-rock approach, making it feel like Explosions in the Sky writing rock songs. The band’s most recent release Ships is stellar, and showing up early to catch Dikembe and Glocca Morra wouldn’t hurt either, as they each put out full-lengths that are contenders for the year’s best.
Where to start: Strong City 1:20 p.m. (The Laboratory)
After a late Friday night it may be difficult to coax yourself out of bed, but give a listen to Iowa’s Strong City and you’ll have all the reason you need. The group’s uptempo pop-punk will function just as well as a shot of espresso from the coffee shop Volta. As this band’s EPs have proven, it has a ton of potential, so get up early to see them blow the roof off this smaller venue as they are surely destined for bigger stages in the near future.
Where to end: Braid 12:20 a.m. (8 Seconds)
Although there are many great options to close out your Saturday night (The Sidekicks being chief among them) recombining anything other than Braid just isn’t possible. Sure, the Bon Scott-era AC/DC cover band will be mighty fun, but Frame and Canvas has retained all the energy it had upon its release. It’s the band’s first Fest and for all we know could be its last. Don’t miss out.
What to do in between: Dads 4:20 p.m. (The Atlantic)
Let me put it this way, American Radass (this is important) is easily the year’s best record. One listen to “Get to the Beach” and you’ll be throwing drinks across a crowded room, and by the time “Shit Twins” hits your heart will have been ripped out and stomped upon. If you want to see one of the best band’s to find itself tackling the emo revival without aping anyone, you should do yourself a favor and get to the Atlantic (err…beach?).
Where to start: Joyce Manor 3:00 (Florida Theater of Gainesville)
It’s no secret that we’ve championed Joyce Manor since the release of its self-titled debut. The band is making its first appearance at the Fest and is opening the day on the festival’s largest stage. With a 40-minute set the band could easily play its entire catalog, and if they really tried, they could maybe even do it twice. If short, hardcore-inspired pop-punk tickles your fancy, Joyce Manor could be the best band you see all Fest.
Where to end: Propagandhi 11:20 (Florida Theater of Gainesville)
Many of the Fest’s heavier acts dropped from the line-up, but Propagandhi’s presence nearly atones for the lack of more aggressive bands this year. The group’s transition from punk rock to thrash metal happened so naturally its almost impossible to champion the band for one single sound. Instead, close out Fest with one of punk’s most inspired bands, and one of metal’s most under appreciated.
What to do in between: Jowls 4:00 p.m. (High Dive)
Of all the new labels to watch, Tiny Engines has proven to be the most vital. Jowls is its newest signing, and the band offers up heavy, angular hardcore that is both refreshing and engaging. As part of Sunday’s most solid showcase, Jowls prove to be a reason to get to High Dive before the heavy hitters, because eventually it’ll be one of them.