The initial lineup for the best festival in Florida came out a few days ago (full lineup out June 11)! What festival, you ask? The festival that doesn’t even deviate from the name, FEST!!! It takes place up in Gainesville the last weekend of October, and is home to over 400 bands and comedic acts, wrestling, 10+ venues, 1600 punks, and of course, YOU (since 2002)!
What makes FEST such a magical place to be? For one thing, it takes place in downtown Gainesville, which is normally full of University of Florida kids, but it is scheduled for this particular weekend (October 26-28) because of the Florida/Georgia football game out in Jacksonville, which allows for the punks to take over the town. Almost all of the venues are within walking distance and most shows take place in tiny, but well set up, bars. Of course, the bigger bands, such as Lagwagon or Cursive this year, will probably be playing Bo Diddley Plaza, an outdoor amphitheatre that sounds amazing no matter where you are.
What about the bands, you might ask? Well, unfortunately, there are so many bands playing that you’re not going to be able to catch ‘em all, but the beauty of FEST is there’s no such thing as a bad band playing. Just some of the bands I’m excited for aren’t even headliners, and I don’t have the room to even begin to list half of the groups I want to see, but here’s some of the majors: Onward Etc — a folk punk who writes about his life on the road after leaving home as a teenager; Dikembe — a Florida band majorly responsible for me getting into this newer wave of punk/emo; Kississippi — one of the most beautiful writers and voices this side of Julien Baker; Pkew Pkew Pkew — the Canadian answer to The Lawrence Arms; and new favorite Zeta — out of Venezuela, who combine experimental noise over hardcore music, and all sung in a beautiful Spanish growl.
This is just the beginning of the of the announcements for FEST, as they still have way more bands to announce, along with the Pre-FEST, a two day condensed version of FEST that takes place in Ybor City right before, of course. This is usually filled with special setlists and is an extra way to see your favorites even more, or catch bands you would miss later on at the main FEST. Even better, FEST offers a shuttle that takes you from Tampa up to Gainesville, so you don’t have to make that drive.
Get your FEST tickets here:
Check out FEST 16 photos from 2017 by Gaelen Harlacher!
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