November 19, 2014
by Bryne Yancey

Three and a half weeks removed from The Fest 13 and the waves of good vibes, for the most part, haven’t left my system just yet. I’d told myself that this year’s Fest would probably be my last one—I’m a month shy of my 30th birthday, I said. I can only take so much time off, I said. I would like to take a real vacation in 2015, one that involves say, relaxing, or at least visiting a state I’d never visited, and certainly not one where I spent the first 27 years of my life, I said.

But then I went, as did many of you, and my entire mindset changed. This is still really fucking fun, I said. I may be nearing 30, but I feel much younger, I said. I still love the ritual, the tradition, of seeing all of my friends and acquaintances in one place for one weekend every year, as well as discovering new bands. The world is so huge, but the portion of it we populate is so small, and I like pretty much everyone in it here, I said. I can still drink beer like it’s water and wake up without a headache the next day, I said (and did). I just cannot quit you, Fest.

Plenty has already been made elsewhere about The Fest’s enduring appeal amidst a grossly oversaturated music festival culture. Most other publications have already posted their recaps, and they all seem to agree on at least one thing: That The Fest is, above all else, really fun.

So this won’t be that. You already know.

However, those aforementioned waves of good vibes have me wondering about the lineup for The Fest 14. Who will headline at this point is seriously anyone’s guess, including the organizers; we’re a solid four or five months away from any bands being announced. But that doesn’t mean a person can’t wish aloud about who should play. Below is my wholly unscientific, in-a-perfect-world, money-is-no-object, complete-fantasy-booking of The Fest 14’s headliners:

The Weakerthans
According to a recent live Q&A on with Fest organizer Tony Weinbender, the Weakerthans have been asked to play Fest every year—the timing, and the band’s own activity level, has never lined up quite right. No one would argue that the Weakerthans are prolific as a unit anymore—we’re now a long seven years removed from their last full-length, Reunion Tour—but I can’t think of a better way to close out a groggy third and final day of The Fest than by watching them. By the third day, most attendees are tired, perma-hungover, and incapable of moving quickly. Most of them just want to stand, watch, listen and enjoy a great band. The Weakerthans need to be that band.

The touring cycle for 2013’s I Hate Music is likely over, and the band’s members stay busy with other projects, but hearing Superchunk pepper in a couple of covers (like Misfits’ “Children in Heat”) into a Halloween night set in front of a few thousand Festgoers sounds like a pretty perfect way to close the Fest 14’s second day. I just looked at a map and North Carolina’s Triangle is only like, four inches from Gainesville. Logistically, it should be pretty easy. 

Snapcase’s reunion was met with shockingly little interest when they popped back up for a few western New York shows in 2010. They then went back under the radar, before opening for the Dropkick Murphys (huh?) in September 2012 at Buffalo, NY’s Outer Harbor. They haven’t done much of anything since. Aesthetically speaking, if another Krazy Fest were ever to happen, that would make a lot of sense for a non-local Snapcase return show, but otherwise, a tight 40-minute set at 8 Seconds on any of The Fest’s three days might convince naysayers that, yes, they were actually geniuses and ahead of their time in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. 

Rocket From The Crypt
Talk about a perfect Halloween band. A successful 2013 reunion tour came and went for RFTC, and they just played Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin earlier this month. It seems as though they’re enjoying themselves; will it continue into 2015? Let’s hope so, with the idea that maybe, just maybe the band can be convinced to headline The Fest 14’s Friday night with a sweaty, raucous outdoor set. 

According to the internet, which is always true and good, Hum have reunited four times since their initial breakup in 2000. LET’S MAKE IT A FIFTH! With so many younger bands borrowing heavily from Hum’s spacey alternative rock aesthetic now, and many of them Fest regulars, it’s time for the pioneers to stop over and show these meddling kids (and their fans) how it’s done. Sorry, Title Fight. You’re not Hum.

Cave In
Cave In have been relatively quiet since 2011’s White Silence, which was a record so warped, so weird, so different from anything else the band had done in its diverse discography that it might be a tough act to follow. That doesn’t preclude live performance, obviously, and a Fest set centered around old favorites from Until Your Heart Stops and Jupiter, as well as “newer” cuts from Perfect Pitch Black and White Silence, would make for a powerfully loud and intense experience.

Dave Brockie’s death was extremely sad, and would’ve been career-ending for just about any other band. But most bands aren’t GWAR, a near-30-year-old elaborate art project in which characters/members are interchangeable, and one that’s vile, vulgar, obscene and completely perfect for the often unhinged atmosphere at The Fest. Plus, Vulvatron looks cool as hell.

Andrew W.K.
It’s totally stupid that Andrew W.K. hasn’t played The Fest yet. A guy who is all about partying, partaking in a weekend that is all about partying, makes far too much sense. These days, a full-band Andrew W.K. show is a pretty rare deal; why can’t one of those one-offs be a headlining Fest slot? Please bring our friend, Andrew W.K., to Gainesville. Thank you.