It’s not a fest, fest

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First Posted: 9/22/2014

Tired of the overblown, Live Nation-dominated corporate music festival scene? Your antidote lies within a short drive from wherever you’re reading this in NEPA.

The “It’s Still Not A Fest, Fest” is a DIY music fan’s middle finger to eight-dollar beers, unapproachable bands, and parking purgatory. The festival, now in its second year, is held in the rolling hills of Shickshinny, PA at Par Glass House – also the location for the similarly themed Yardstock Fest, which this past August celebrated its second year as well. It’s Still Not A Fest, Fest, will span Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 with a diverse lineup of hardcore, punk, and emo acts on two stages.

It’s Still Not A Fest, Fest, is a testament to what can be accomplished when musicians and fans unite through social media. One of the festival’s organizers, Derek Jolley, owner of the Wilkes-Barre-based indie label Time Table Records Collective, was originally approached by the other mastermind of It’s Still Not a Fest, Fest, Angel Gonzalez – vocalist/bassist for Pocono Summit emo/punk band In Writing, to run live sound and organize set times. Jolley soon found himself with the much larger administrative role of liaison between the participating bands.

“Angel provided me with a list of bands,” Jolley begins, “most of which he had messaged via Facebook and some of which hadn’t heard of the festival.” Jolley said the raw list of acts made it somewhat difficult to view a better sense of the set layout in advance, but after a great deal of two-way communication with the bands involved, he was able to pin down a solid Day One lineup – and he said, hopefully, Day Two.

“I don’t want to steal all of the credit though,” joked Jolley about the planning involved. “Angel is still in charge of everything on Day Two, which is the bigger day.” Jolley is the man trusted with organizing the Friday portion of the festival, which will feature primarily hardcore bands – including notable locals like Vice Grip and Final Descent. The Saturday portion of the festival will present indie/emo bands like Gonzalez’s own In Writing, and Orange County, New York-based Young English. Jolley said the original scope of the festival could have been an even larger undertaking.

“It was originally three days with a $16 entry before I started working on it,” Jolley said. “However, seeing as though the venue is my good friend Chris Castillo’s property and that there has never been a paid show ever at Par Glass, I talked Angel into a two-day free festival. This spiked interest in the fest via social media and overall.”

Are there cohesive elements that draw together the festival’s bands?

“All of the bands that are playing on Day One are in some way affiliated with the Time Table Records Collective,” Jolley admits, “so it thus makes sense that I would be running sound for the first day. It would be difficult to comment on Angel’s Day Two because I only know a handful of bands, but overall, all of the bands playing on both days bring so much diversity and exceptionalism to the table that I can only say that the fest will be mind-blowing.”

Jolley is excited for not only the showcase that the festival offers to this plethora of hungry, young musical talent, but also the venue itself and the experience that festival-goers are intended to have.

“I always look forward to playing outside at the Par Glass House,” Jolley said “I think that people will look forward to the atmosphere of the festival grounds. The diversity of the bands playing also lends itself to the overall success of the fest. Bands on this festival are playing music ranging from hardcore to indie to punk to metal. There is a little something for everyone.”

Jolley feels that the mental sweat driving the festival’s behind-the-scenes framework is worth the effort.

“I’ve personally had a difficult time completing the organizational work due to the number of bands collaborated, but I felt like I had to help out due to the festival’s sheer magnitude,” he said. “Although in the end I am only responsible for day one, I am confident that the whole festival is going to be awesome. I would like to personally thank Angel Gonzalez for again reaching out to me to organize yet another one of his festivals.”

Look for more of this type of event from Jolley – he’s going to push his music and his bands with every breath he takes. Did we mention Jolley himself is a featured musician on his Time Table Records Collective? A quick perusal of the label’s Bandcamp page finds Jolley’s four-track release of ambient acoustic guitar/piano-based fare titled “Meditation Music.”

“It’s always a treat,” he said of playing and recording, a feeling indicative of all his musically based activity. “I look forward to throwing shows as much as humanly possible through my label and my friends.”