Skull Fest returns for its 10th annual iteration | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Skull Fest returns for its 10th annual iteration 

More than 60 bands will play 11 shows across town this weekend

Arctic Flowers - PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT SULLEN
  • Photo courtesy of Robert Sullen
  • Arctic Flowers

Sometimes a punk show doesn’t have its location or address listed; instead, it simply says “ask a punk.” That’s generally so unwanted guests don’t show up unexpectedly to a semi-illegal house show.

No need to worry finding secret punk shows this weekend. It’s Skull Fest — the punks you’re looking for are probably there.

Between Thursday and Sunday, the schedule for the 10th annual edition of Skull Fest is full of head-banging punk. 

The Cro-Mags. Mob 47. Annihilation Time. The F.U.’s. The Proletariat. Arctic Flowers. Haram. Those are just the headliners who comprise a handful of the 60-plus bands that will perform at nearly a dozen shows across Pittsburgh. Everything from post-punk and hardcore to thrash metal and psychedelic punk is on the bill, so there’s sure to be something for every variant of the genre.

And if you want to head to one, some, or all of the shows, you won’t need to ask a punk — though you will if the Punks Picnic on Sunday afternoon piques your interest. All of Skull Fest’s shows are at local venues that just about everyone knows and loves: Spirit, Cattivo, Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive, Rock Room, The Shop, Babyland. 

The F.U.’s - PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN SOX
  • Photo courtesy of John Sox
  • The F.U.’s

Skull Fest is organized in part by Dusty Hanna, the owner of Skull Records in Allentown, which caters to vinyl lovers looking for a new or used punk, garage rock, or metal record. The festival actually began as a birthday celebration for Hanna and co-founder Jimmy Rose back in 2009.

Having grown astronomically since that fateful birthday party, Skull Fest kicks off with opening ceremonies at The Shop on Thursday afternoon. The opening show will feature raw Canadian punk from Parasytes, hardcore from Norwegian group Negativ, and the pulse-pounding local “thrashcore” punk brothers who comprise Möwer. Also scheduled are Oakland (California) hardcore group Khiis and Philadelphia punk-metal rocker group Iron Wind. Lupus, Janitor Scum, BB Eye, and Collision round out this show.

That’s just the first of the 11 scheduled shows, and one of the three open to punk enthusiasts of all ages (bring the kids!). Full weekend passes sold out back in early July, but tickets to 10 of the 11 shows are still available. The Friday evening show at Spirit, headlined by the Cro-Mags and Annihilation Time also sold out in early July.

Check out the full lineup online. Just remember to ask a punk if you need something — as long as you’re not there to shut down the party.
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Skull Fest
Thu., Aug. 16 through Sun., Aug. 19. Various locations. Individual shows $10-27; full weekend passes sold out. skullfestpgh.com

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