The most significant Pittsburgh punk-rock event of the season may actually take place thousands of miles away.
On Oct. 31, over 10,000 punk, hardcore, and indie-rock fans will invade Gainesville, Fla., for a four-day music festival named The Fest. In its 12th year, the event differs radically from typical overcrowded, sun-baked outdoor music shindigs.
"The Fest takes some of the best punk bands from around the country and crams them into bars, coffee shops and small clubs — the types of venues they are used to playing," says Dan Rock, of Pittsburgh band World's Scariest Police Chases, which is anticipating the release of a new LP, NOFX ... and out come the wolves dookie, on AF Records next month.
A plethora of local talent decorates this year's Fest lineup, with bands like WSPC, Adventures, Code Orange Kids, Edhochuli, Run Forever and White Wives. (A handful of Pittsburgh comedians also join this year's Fest-ivities.)
Despite high-profile band reunions, cheap beer, documentary screenings and circle pits, not to mention more than 300 billed bands, it's the sense of camaraderie between Fest-goers that lures fans back each year to the (normally) peaceful town.
"It's great to walk around Gainesville and run into people that you haven't seen in weeks, or months, or years," says David Rath, guitarist and vocalist for Edhochuli. "The best part about The Fest is the opportunity to see a bunch of goofy friends from all over the world all in one place."
For the above bands, this event just means one stop on their regular out-of-town ventures. "We are indeed touring to the Fest," says Rath, whose band's self-titled album hit local record stores in August. "Our plan is to get [our new album] onto as many turntables and cassette decks as we possibly can."
With most of these Pittsburghers playing their second or third Fest (and with Code Orange Kids also joining this autumn's Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin), the local punk scene shows no signs of dwindling outside city limits.
"There are a ton of amazing bands coming out of our city right now," says Rock, "and watching bands like Run Forever and Edhochuli kill it [on stage] thousands of miles from home makes you really proud to be from Pittsburgh."