with War on Women, Mean Jeans, Drug Church, Dillinger Four, Jeff Rosenstock, Big Eyes, and more
Gainesville, FL • October 28-30, 2016
by Jen Cray
The FEST isn’t just another music festival, it’s a community. It’s a tight knit, but welcoming, group of friends from all over the world who annually gather in Gainesville, FL for 3 days (5 days if you include Pre-Fest in Tampa) for an overindulgence in independently minded music and camaraderie. Bands and fans coexist on an equal plain, mingling in the streets and in the crowds – buying each other drinks, sharing bear hugs, or slices of pizza. It may look like a gnarly punk infestation of a college town to outsiders, but the secret is: Fest attendees are the sweetest bunch of people you could ever hope to take over your streets. Sure, they may vomit on your lawn, or pass out on the hood of your car, but they’ll apologize in the morning and probably even offer to take you out for breakfast.
Now in its 15th year, the event boasts over 350 bands that offer audio gratification across the expanse of 14 venues. With so many choices, at any given time slot, the happy result is that any set you descend upon is packed up with other fans who have chosen to be there. What this means is, every crowd is hyped up about the band they’re seeing which always results in a better concert experience. The crowd’s excited, the band gets excited, which excites the crowd more, and so on. It’s concert synergy, and it was happening everywhere.
Here’s a photo diary of what this one FEST-er got to experience over the course of the 3 day long lovefest: