Staff Picks: Must See Artists at Fest 17

On Monday, Fest made their second and final lineup announcement. With so many bands playing, the staff at Lvl picked out some of their favorites so if you’re in need of recommendation, we’ve got you covered. Hope to see you in October! Read them below:

Lindsy Carrasquillo:

Retirement Party:


I think most of my friends have heard me talk about this band recently and if they haven’t yet, then I’m pretty surprised. They released their debut record “Somewhat Literate” last month and it’s been my go-to record since then. The Chicago band flawlessly blends elements of emo, punk and pop-punk with honest and detailed lyrics. The record touches on a variety of topics such as depression and anxiety in a way that’s reflective and helps the listener realize that they’re not alone.

Click for more information on the band. 

Weakened Friends:


Where do I start? Thanks to my love of Twitter (seriously, it’s great for discovering new music), I saw a tweet from Audiotree that they were about to go live so I listened to them for the first time while I was at work and was immediately hooked. The indie rock band has a perfectly crafted sing-along ability to their songs which touch on topics like toxic friendships and moving on from breakups. I for one, can’t wait to sing along.

Click for more information on the band. 

Rozwell Kid:


Finally. I managed to miss them the last time they played Fest so they’re high on my priority list. When “Precious Art” came out last summer, I listened to it constantly and still managed to never get tired of it. Tracks off that album like “Wendy’s Trash Can” and “Boomerang” have made it onto almost every mix CD I’ve made in the past year (yeah, I still make those and I have far too many in my car). “Precious Art” is a record I can listen to from top to bottom and their lyrics capture the band’s humor in an entertaining way while still being serious.

Click for more information on the band. 

Ian Maikisch: 



I actually have had the pleasure of working with Cursive before when I was working at Off The Avenue. This band, for me, was one of the bands that got me into working with music. After the session with OTA I fell in love with this band! They go hard! Just check out their song, “The Cat and Mouse” and tell me you don’t want to jump and mosh around. Just a classically good rock band.

Click for more information about the band.

Prince Daddy & the Hyena:


MOSH MOSH MOSH! GO CRAZY! That’s what I want from this band’s set. I’m a recent convert to the Prince Daddy fandom, but I drove head first into that crowd surf. These dudes freaking rule! If you’re looking for an insane time in October you have to see this band. Sitting down trying to write this with their music playing in my headphones I want to jump out of my seat. They are everything you loved from the bands you saw live at house shows in high school, with the production value of a band you can actually show your friends in the “music industry” without them commenting on the recording quality or them saying, “talk to me again when their not so — lofi.” I’m lovin’ it!

Click for more information about the band.

King Complex:


So for this band I’m just going to describe the act.Three people in black Morphsuites wearing black dress suites, standing in front of three televisions playing band-made visuals. Oh and all the lights are off, so the awesome and musically-timed light show can blow your freaking mind. Blues-driven-electronic-pop music surfs the airwaves into your ears, which then sends a bolt of lightening down your spine forcing your body to dance. If that doesn’t sound like the best time you could ever have at The Fest — I’m sorry — who hurt you?

Click for more information about the band.

Charlie Daffron:



This morning, I went through the Fest lineup and counted up all of the bands I wanted to see. The grand total? 113. Out of those 113 bands, Nerdlinger may be the one I’m the most excited about. I discovered Nerdlinger a few years ago through a random genre search on Bandcamp. Since then, I’ve listened to their two Eps more times than I can count. There’s just something about their rowdy, fast-paced skate punk sound that I can’t get enough of. Their debut full-length Happy Place is easily my most anticipated album of the Summer. This year, Nerdlinger will be playing in the U.S. for the first time, so make sure you catch them at Fest!

 Click for more information on the band. 

The Lawrence Arms:


I’ve loved The Lawrence Arms since I was in middle school. I don’t have many records on vinyl, but one of them is the band’s last album, Metropole. The Lawrence Arms are great at blending off-beat humor and great lyric writing with good, old-fashioned punk rock to create a sound that never leaves the listener disappointed. I knew they had played Fest in the past, so I was ecstatic when I saw that they were coming back to Gainesville to play again this year. This will be my first time seeing them live and I can’t wait!

 Click for more information on the band. 

Problem Daughter:


I started listening to Problem Daughter a few weeks after Fest 15 and oh boy, was I disappointed that I hadn’t seen them. I won’t be making that mistake again this year. All it took was one Problem Daughter song for me to become a fan. Their raw, gritty and infectiously catchy pop punk songs have kept me hooked for the past two years, and I’m excited to finally get a chance to see them!

Click for more information on the band. 

Vic Abreu:



METZ is fucking crunchy. I mean that in the best way possible, kind of like a Crunchwrap Supreme at 2 AM after you’re done sweating at the DIY space. They attack with the same ferocity as said Crunchwrap when it hits your stomach two hours later. METZ doesn’t hold back when it comes to experimentation in sound design either, and in fact, one of my favorite things about METZ is how diverse their catalog is when stacked up against other bands in the genre. They’re buried under layers of distortion, hit hard, and make me want to drag my face through shards of glass. Oh, and there’s a bit of post-punk intelligence and nihilism sprinkled into their sound to boot. Dear reader, if you can only see a few bands at Fest, PLEASE SEE METZ (I don’t want to get trampled on alone!).

Click here for more information on the band.



Oh, Kississippi. Songs that make me fall in love with no one in particular. They’re shiny and brilliant and sweet. Kississippi’s latest album is polished and brims with harmony, a standout from your typical Fest band. Nearly as lush as the foliage that surrounds us here in Gainesville, Kississipi’s sound benefits from creative songwriting and lyricism where her genre peers fall flat. I’m very excited to see Kississippi (at Fest of all places!) and swoon beneath the stage. Y’all should be too! 

Click here for more information on the band. 

Aliya Miranda:

War On Women:


I fell in love with War on Women’s music the second I heard Shawna Potter’s hawk-like screech over a crowd of teenagers on stage at Warped Tour in Orlando. But I’d fallen in love with the band for their activism long before. I was at Warped Tour last year to interview their organization Safer Scenes, an initiative Potter had formed specifically for that tour to combat and offer services to victims of sexual assault and harassment at shows. War on Women is a band that walks the walk and when they talk, they scream. When riot grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill was writing Rebel Girl, there’s no question, “that girl,” she’s talking about is Shawna Potter. Which is why it only makes sense that Kathleen Hanna would resurface to loan her vocals to the sickest track on their latest record, Capture the Flag. I listened to their single YDTMHTL on a loop on the bus ride home when it released. It still gets me hyped. Please do yourself a favor and appreciate the terrifying and glorious monster the patriarchy spawned with this record.

Click here for more information on the band. 

Sincere Engineer:

I only started listening to Sincere Engineer last week when Charlie (our Fest corrdinator) recommended them to me but I haven’t stopped listening to their debut record Rhombithian since. There’s something frighteningly relatable about their lead singer and songwriter Deanna Belos…and I think I like it? She’s managed to pile up all the onus of young failure and self-loathing and create a record you can swing your legs to while you sit on top of them and, simultaneously, own them. “This bruise ‘aint so bad,” she sings on the record’s opening track Corn Dog Sonnet No. 7, and you desperately want to believe her as badly as she does. If you haven’t listened to this record or come to terms with the idea that you will sabotage yourself before you ever amount to anything, then have I got a rec for you.

Click here for more information on the band. 

Days N Daze: 


I can’t overstate how happy I was to see Days N Daze on this line-up. Folk punk is my absolute jam and I am a complete sucker for nihilism and catchy wholesome lyrics. With Days N Daze I get the best of both worlds. There’s an anarchic cynicism that is persistent throughout their discography but also a defiant hope and I deeply respect artists that can seamlessly balance those two themes the way this band does consistently. Rogue Taxidermy is my favorite record of theirs and Fuck It! Is a great song you can imagine singing with group of your friends and I fully intend to sing along to it with other Days N Daze fans at Fest. Give them a your ears, your ears will thank you.

Click here for more information on the band. 


You can buy tickets and view the full Fest lineup here.

The Fest:


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