By: Graham Johnson
In the spirit of honesty, I’d like to relay the fact that this year’s Fest 15 marked my first foray into the well oiled insanity that the aforementioned Fest provides. I’ve come out sparkly and satisfied, despite being a bit worn out and sick these past few days.
The entire festival was an inviting mass of warm energy that had coalesced right in the center of Gainesville; a three block radius of nothing but music, drinking, and good times. However, I am but one person and alas, wasn’t able to experience every show that I had my sights set on.
Luckily enough High Dive came through with a few personal favorites and solid ska bands that I was more than stoked to see on the High Dive stage. So I spent the most part of my Friday drinking and jamming around 2nd Ave
Then, right around sunset, hometown favorite ‘Less Than Jake’ made their way onstage to have a little fun with the crowd. Much to my excitement, they played a few songs off of ‘Hello Rockview’, to which the crowd and I screamed every lyric. See, I’ve seen LTJ before at the House of Blues in Orlando and what I beheld at this little venue in Gainesville was a far more magnificent experience.
Later on in the evening, around 11:30 I want to say, I was delighted to find ‘Big D and the Kids Table’ meandering onto the stage. ‘Big D’ kicked off hard and fast and they stayed that way. Playing tunes off of ‘LAX’ and beyond while never loosing their passion throughout. They definitely put on a thrashy and satisfying show, though they didn’t dive into any of their older, more ska-like tunes. Especially, off of ‘Shot by Lammi,’ as I had hoped.
To round out the night, none other than ska, standard and classic, ‘Mustard Plug’ hit the stage and sent the crowd into a spiral of sweat, beer, and whatever else might have been slinging about and mixing in. Then, if you thought the pit couldn’t get any more intense, they brought out the mustard head and ripped into ‘You’ off of ‘Evildoers Beware.’ They then ended the set, that venue, and the entire first day with ‘The Beer Song,’ which was fortuitous and sat defiantly in the back of my mind the entire weekend.
It was a great start to one hell of a Fest. I ❤ TO FEST.