Shoot The Shit with James Applegate (NOT FEST)

October 3, 2013 | By

DIWireless_ShootShit_NotFestThe pilgrimage to Florida for the punk rock super-party called FEST is one that will remain close to D.I.Wireless. But organisers of NOT FEST in Melbourne have an interesting option for those who can’t make the trip.

In another of our ‘Shoot the Shit’ interviews we catch up with James ‘B-Ry’ Applegate of Whisk and Key Records who is putting on this unique bastard cousin event of FEST featuring a bunch of bands from all over the country covering songs you would be hearing in Gainesville anyway – and doing it with the same gusto and party atmosphere.

So take us through the concept of NOT FEST.

NOT FEST is actually the brain child of my good friend Garrett from Too Soon! He threw together a show a few months back called ‘Fast Times at Punk Rock High’ in which all the bands played influential songs from their younger years. It was a real hit. FEST was decided for the theme of the next show. Upon getting wind of this a few pals got together to help organise, and the show just kept growing, until it became four shows across three days…basically, we are trying to recreate FEST in Melbourne to help deal with the fact that we won’t be there this year. All the bands will knock out covers of bands that are playing fest this year and everyone is encouraged to really get in the spirit of things and just get silly.

Who’s involved? Hit us with the lineup.

Nudist Colonies of the World (NSW), White Oak and Stuyvesant (WA), Four Zero One Four (QLD), The Secondhand Squad (SA), Foxtrot, Up and Atom, The Shadow League, Too Soon!, Del Lago, Initials, I Am The Riot, Max Goes To Hollywood, Lucy Wilson and many MORE!

I love the idea that you are getting all bands to play covers from bands on FEST this year, or in some cases ALL covers? What have you heard some people have ready to play?

We really don’t know much about that, we kind of like the surprise element. There were a few initial concerns about bands possibly playing the same songs, but in all honesty, why does that matter? It just means we get to sing along to a song we love TWICE. There’s a real good mix going down though, from Paul Baribeau to No Trigger.

It’s all national bands – a lot of new or up and coming acts which I think is cool. Was there any ever plan to pinch an international act that might happen to be in the country?

Yeah, most of the bands on the line up are pretty fresh, but have been playing a lot of shows lately. Some are just finding their feet. The idea was that we got a bunch of bands together that would really be pumped to play and to cover FEST bands. At the same time there’s a chance for a little bit more exposure outside of playing a regular show. We hadn’t really thought much about bands outside of Australia to be honest. We did try for a few more interstate acts, but turns out its a busy time of year. The line up is pretty much a bunch of friends getting together to party as hard as they can and to celebrate the music they love. Much like the original FEST.


What’s it been like trying to pull together the schedules of approximately 20 bands full of flakey punk rockers for the first time?

Actually it hasn’t been that bad! All the bands contacted have been totally pumped on the whole idea of NOT FEST. A few bands that wanted to play couldn’t due to members going to actual FEST. We don’t hold that against them…a lot of bands actually approached us, which is excellent.

Any other fun activities planned other than music and all-round messiness?

Yes! Saturday will see a wheel of fortune style spinning wheel hit the stage that has been dubbed ‘The Shame Spiral’. It’s to celebrate the release of a split album from Del Lago and Too soon! that is out the same weekend. Basically a select amount of people will score a spin, with the chance to win a prize from either of the bands OR they will lose and have to do something shameful. There will also be a photo booth, possibly acoustic punk rock karaoke and a bunch of excellent food!

How would you describe the FEST experience to those in Australia who have never had the chance of attending?

The best and biggest party of your entire life, where everyone is wonderful and all your punk rock dreams come true.

Is there any specific way – aside from the cover songs – you will try and replicate the FEST experience at NOT FEST?

Bands and partying aside, you can eat some amazing food in Gainesville during FEST. So we did our best to pick venues that we think have great menus, all of which have a bit of a southern twist on them. Ms Katie’s Crab Shack at public bar will be open and are putting on a special tropical FEST menu for the weekend too! There will also be drinks specials on American beers and a bit of Floridian decorating going on. You know, alligators and junk.

These mini festivals, or specifically large lineups over a single day at a local venue, are becoming more and more prevelant. Do you think it is becoming a neccessary way to get people off there arses and out to a venue to see bands? Will it ever replace the regular, local, three-band lineup show?

I hope not, there really is nothing better than a three/four band bill tucked in the corner of your favourite dive bar. I think to some extent people are drawn to these festival type shows for one reason or another but at the same time, others are put off by them for a multitude of reasons like cost, venue etc. No matter what way you look at them, festivals do tend to bring in a certain type of party goer if the right line up and atmosphere is set.

Do you think NOT FEST, or any other festival for that matter, could possibly achieve a level of popularity that means people won’t find the need to head to Gainseville for FEST each year?

I think for people like us, that live in a whole different country to the event, the whole experience is not just FEST itself but the getting there too. The adventure of it. Same goes for any music festival outside of your own country, I guess. I met a Japanese dude that had traveled to FEST six years in a row, and he was still absolutely loving it. So, I guess my answer to that is, I hope so. The people, the food, the party, it’s definitely something that could be done. When the right elements are thrown together…the people will party.

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