In 2017, I counted about 50 bands that featured a woman, a non-white person, or someone who identified as LGBTQ+ on The FEST’s lineup. This year that number is up to 73 – around 20 percent of the festival’s musical lineup. Since only 26 percent of musical acts booked to musical festivals feature at least one woman or non-binary musician*, it’s important for us to continue the conversation around creating more diverse lineups. Most of the movement around lineup diversity is centered around gender, and that 26 percent doesn’t include conversation around race or sexual orientation. The reality is this: even in our safest spaces like The FEST, we’re are not very diverse.
It’s with all of that in mind that I’ve put together a super brief list of some slightly under-the-radar bands that do represent a little more diversity in this year’s lineup. The more we show up and support diversity, the more these bands will get booked not just in Gainesville but in your hometown, too.
For transparency’s sake, when creating this list I made a few “rules” to help myself hone in. To be considered, a band needed to have one of the following: A non-white person, a female, an openly trans person, and openly non-binary/genderqueer person, and/or an openly gay person. There are certainly musicians who likely fit into some of those categories, but who aren’t out or open about it. That’s their prerogative and not my place to stick into a list!
Bad Waitress | Toronto, Ontario
This four-piece brings snotty guitar-filled party punk, filling any house show vibe you might be craving. Catchy, danceable and super high energy, Bad Waitress is perfect for grabbing a drink, wrapping your arm around a stranger and having an uninhibited time. If you’re missing Pkew Pkew Pkew on this year’s lineup, these ladies will fill that void for ya and then some.
Bad Waitress plays The FEST at 1.a.m at Loosey’s on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.
Catbite | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you want your Ska with less brass and more two tone, this Philly-based four piece is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Shake off the dude-bro ska wave of 90s with vocalist/keyboardist Brittany’s powerhouse, grooving voice. If we can’t have Operation Ivy, Catbite is pretty great substitute.
Catbite plays The FEST at 7:20 p.m. at Downtown Fat’s on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Choked Up | New York City, New York
A self-proclaimed “Pop-Punk telenovela about reclaiming your heart during fascism,” Choked Up plays catchy, upbeat Pop Punk in both Spanish and English. Guitar forward and catchy as all hell, this four-piece will replace a few of those Copyrights tracks on your rotation. Don’t sleep on checking out “Homes” or “Lomas y Chisme.”
Choked Up plays The FEST at 3:50 p.m. at Hardback Cafe on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Glazed | Jacksonville, Florida
In the vein of Saves the Day or Title Fight, Glazed brings a brand of melodic, atmospheric pop punk. The four-piece delivers emotionally raw lyrical content with a fun-loving, goofy demeanor.
Glazed plays The FEST at 6:20 p.m. at Hardback Cafe on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Pity Party | Oakland, California
This mixed gender five-piece features winding guitar licks and powerfully dark lyrics. Pity Party’s emo-tinged pop punk has all of the sadness of the former and all of the catchiness of the latter. Check them out to sing-scream “we are greater than the sum of our separate parts” with a bunch of new friends.
Pity Party plays The FEST at 9:50 p.m. at Loosey’s on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 (The Distillers cover set) and at 7:10 p.m. at Palomino on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.
Shehehe | Athens, Georgia
With stripped down, 70s punk-inspired jams, Shehehe is a guitar-forward band that doesn’t bury its rhythm section behind licks. If you want your rock and roll to be faster, grittier, and more harmonious don’t sleep on this three piece.
Shehehe plays The FEST at 8:20 p.m. at The Wooly on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.
S.M.N. | Fukuoka, Japan
I’ve hear rumblings that Ska and Punk has a huge and enthusiastic subculture in Japan – every band that I’ve seen touring over there looks like they’re having a blast. Part thrashy Skate Punk, part harmony-laden Ska upstroke goodness S.M.N is a little bit of everything. That usually spells doom, but they actually do that dabbling well. For S.M.N has got to be on your lineup, just to get a glimpse of this fabled enthusiastic Japanese scene.
SMN plays The FEST at 8:10 p.m. at Downtown Fats on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Skatune Network | Gainesville, Florida
One of my favorite pastimes is to challenge the people around me to start a cover band of whatever bad pun I’ve thought up most recently. Skatune Network is that dream come to life: Fully ska versions of your favorite tunes, literally everything from Green Day and Descendents to Billy Eilish. Jeremy Andrew Hunter is playing with a full band, which for followers of their Youtube channel will note that’s a rarity. This set is a gotta-see for pure, genuine fun.
Skatune Network plays The FEST at 9:50 p.m. at Downtown Fats on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Werecats | London, United Kingdom
This snotty London-based foursome cranks out snappy garage punk. With their harmony-filled hooks, Werecats invoke a slightly dark Power-Pop influence. The band’s lyrics about zombies, werewolf boyfriends, and dogs that would be just as at home on a Lillingtons record.
Werecats play The FEST at 4:40 p.m. at Loosey’s on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
To help prep you up, here’s a playlist that just barely scratches the surface of the 70-plus artists playing the FEST that identify as LGBTQ+, women, trans, non-binary, gender queer, and people of color. Enjoy and we’ll see you out there this weekend!
*Source: Book More Women