Punktoberfest occurred over a 2 day rainy weekend in East Baldwin, Maine. The festivities kicked off on Friday, October 6th and ended on Sunday, October 8th. We rocked, we rolled, we camped, we got cold, we danced, we played, and overall we had a great time!
The event took place at The People’s Perch. This is an organization where people come to learn, grow, and create. It has a giant water tower in the front yard, a circular garden, an outdoor covered stage, a pond in the woods, tiny hand-built artistic cabins, a treehouse, bicycle art, found art, bicycles, trails, an outdoor kitchen, and a main house.
The idea of the festival came after a conversation with Scotty Saints from Scotty Saints and The True Believers. They had just played a show at the Midway Cafe in Boston on September 16th. We were talking about old school punk shows. It all moved forward from there, and in a little over a month’s time we had this big festival with 11 bands (originally 15 but some dropped)!
Of course we needed a venue, and bands to play. My friend Merle and bandmate of our four year side project (Riot Grrrl band The Merry Martians), and I were talking and she said we could have the show where she lives. Originally it was going to be a one day show and she reminded me that it was the weekend of Maine’s biggest fair and traffic would be heading by The Perch. Merle was like, “It’s not the fair, it’s Punktoberfest!” And that is how it evolved.
I put up a few “looking for” ads on Facebook but between Scotty, my spouse Jesse, and our friends we didn’t have to search far. Scotty said he could do sound (for 2 days is a lot of work) and provide a PA which was also huge to us. We were really excited with the bands that agreed to play and immediately started promoting. We promoted online and in person from Boston, Massachusetts to Bangor, Maine. I hand drew a flyer, had them printed, and taped/ stapled them everywhere I could.
(Jesse and I flyering photo by C. Marlo Feinberg)
The first night luckily we had little rain. It was in the forecast all day for Saturday, even torrential downpours. We had no intention of cancelling after coming this far. The music started a little after 6:30 P.M. with my band, The Feinbergs opening. We play eclectic, Yiddish punk.
Next was a band from Boston called Ragz to Stitchez. These guys are really entertaining, fun, and solid. Definitely ahead of their time.
Scotty Saints and The True Believers from Maine played next. They got the crowd moving with 90’s nostalgic punk, catchy chorus lines, killer baselines, and guitar solos.
The Keeper Class, from Maine closed out the night with a monster set. They have a keys player as well as two guitarists and they are able to create an amazing live wall of sound!
It was a delight to watch people enjoying the music and amenities. There is a see saw that is well over 15 feet off the ground and it spins around. I could see shadows of adults playing on it while bands were performing. It was quite surreal. The first night ended early and us old punks stayed up reminiscing about the younger times. Wondering what the older punks are doing these days.
Saturday morning we knew we were in for it. It was already drizzly outside. We waited around until afternoon for people to arrive. People arrived. The first performer to go on was INNNNI. The songs were played on an acoustic guitar and were written from the heart. Singer Korra Andrei has a beautiful voice that projects well.
The next act to go on was Nikki Click from New Hampshire. She brought her own magical mic and outfits with her. She danced, sang, and engaged with the audience. She makes her own clothing and accessories. Click is very much a performance artist as a musical artist.
We also had a couple of vendors such as Neon Mushroom Art who made patches, stickers, clothing hats, jewelry, and art. I saw a lot of trading of band shirts, vinyl, and CD’s too. It was great!
After taking a break, singer-songwriter Whitney Walker went on and played a beautiful set. He brought his drummer with him and I have never seen such a technical drummer. They play extremely well together.
Next were The Subfobias from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A duo of guitar and drums.
The Lazy Anarchists went on and really brightened things up. I didn’t realize how funny and talented these guys were! Then the rain started coming in heavier.
By the time Dave Strong went on it was 100% downpour. The rain was so loud that I had to get close to hear. Strong nailed it! He played his greatest hits through the storm then it stopped raining.
The Mighty Suicide Squirrels from Massachusetts came up to play in the rain! Their music will make anyone move and sing along!
Gagger closed out Punktoberfest with a bang. Singer/guitarist Tim Hite got electrocuted but he kept on playing! Hite and bassist/vocalist Alexa Boutin are pros at interchanging vocals. Their set is fast and raw.
Punktoberfest was a success and we hope to have one again next year. The mission was accomplished in less than a month. We couldn’t have done it without our friends and the punk rock community.