A Response from Festicide

Aaron Sharpsteen / August 23, 2016


Yesterday I published an editorial about MFNW and Festicide that resulted in a lot of discussion. I invited Josh Hughes, the organizer of Festicide, to respond. Read his response below. (Note: Not a single thing happened when I published the same piece on the Project Pabst wall. The fact that the people who are involved with Festicide feel passionate enough to defend what they do should speak volumes about the difference in approach between the two.)

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This morning Aaron Sharpsteen posted a piece on his thoughts about MFNW presents Project Pabst and Festicide.  I helped organize Festicide for the third time (I’m the “dumbass” that schedules it the same week as MFNW every year), and when someone writes about it—since so few do—I take interest.  I’ve read Aaron’s stuff over the years and talked to him at shows.  He strikes me as thoughtful guy, though his writing occasionally reads like a college thesis, and I get the impression he cares about what he’s doing.

He certainly is not a big fan of the current incarnation of MFNW/Project Pabst, and that makes two of us.  But he called out Festicide for being “all about reaction” and “going negative”–-our “attack mode, meme-lord antics might be good for a chuckle, but can get tiresome.”  He took especial umbrage with what he saw as our waging a meme war on people for their aesthetic taste.

Let’s just get it out of the way: Yes, Festicide is a reaction to MFNW and—now—Project Pabst, and we tagged it as an “anti-fest” for that very reason.  And yes, we have totally been bagging on people going to Project Pabst and stereotyping them as yuppies, squares, transplants, and whatever else we can think of that’ll stick.  But we also razz our friends and bandmates that are going to the waterfront festival or the auxiliary shows around town, and some of our friends are—GASP!—even playing at the festival instead of our anti-fest!  Seemed to us it was all in good fun.

Guess what?  We don’t have the deep pockets needed to fly in big acts from all over, put ads in every paper, and fill the local bars with coasters and posters and commemorative beer cans.  But we do have memes.  And they make us laugh.  They make us laugh when year after year we’ve been watching our favorite venues close.  They make us laugh when we have to move farther and farther to the outskirts of town to find a place to practice or live.  They make us laugh when we think about how most of us spend all our free time and extra money making music and putting on shows without ever expecting to make it back or make it big or whatever.

If you identify with what we’re poking fun at, please review your current life choices.  If you’re happy with who you are and what you do, you certainly don’t need to worry about what the Great Unwashed think of you let alone Festicide.  But we have to worry about you, because you’re fucking with our current life choices


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