I’ve gone from one stage, one room, 3 days and a lineup of bands that mattered to hardcore kids today to something much more. This Is Hardcore has come to encompass not only a weekend of bands that young people want to see, but my best attempt at spreading the entire culture of hardcore.
Whereas there are fests that are focused on a specific genre or a regional area of interest, I’ve found that its time to shed light not only on the bands and the labels that work hard to put out the music, but to shelter and nurture the zine culture that is growing each day. We’ll have a zine workshop with a few people able to help guide and just talk about zines and what they do to make them happen. If you have a zine, please bring it to TIH. Its important to put work into something like a zine, how many hands will hold each issue is up to what goes into each issue. I can remember reading zines in the back of vans and at people’s houses for hours on tour. I miss seeing something I’ve never heard of and getting a full description or taking on the writers perspective of a situation or a viewpoint that isn’t my own. There is nothing more eye opening then looking at something from a new perspective. Zines give us that and its amazing that despite the internet’s firm grasp on hardcore culture that young kids still put time and effort into zines.
This year with the extra building I’m able to give two documentaries a chance to be viewed. OC Scenesters will be screened a few times throughout the weekend and is a film with alot of great insight and footage to the 90s OC scene. We’ll also be running the City Gardens Movie Trailer to those who’ve yet to see it. Its surreal to think that what I was interested in as a kid is now worthy of being filmed for a movie screen. Given the space and the ample audience, I think its important that these films get some recognition. This is our history being retold and its incredible.
I’ve kept the labels like Bridge 9, Deathwish, Youngblood in the main room of the fest despite having the bigger room and their absence would create 200 more tickets, I think that because they were there before the quick sellouts they belong there. When I was a kid going to big packed hall shows, it was great to be able to go from watching bands to looking at records. Each year I have kids telling me they’ve never seen so many records in one room etc. Its important with the internet downloading age that TIH provide the kids with the chance to spend a few hours across the weekend going through the records. I spent weeks learning band names and records by spending the time with empty pockets sifting through all the record stores on South Street. Its an aesthetic of my hc upbringing and I’m glad that its alive again at least for that weekend. With the new building, we’re able to house special sales from merchants like All In Merch, Relapse Record who is doing a yardsale full of cool items and many more. It will be hard to walk through either building and not spend a few bucks on great records and shirts.
What I’ve kept with me from my earliest days is a true sense that when I’m at a big show, I’m not alone, I don’t stand out. I like the ability to see so many people come from all over. To think that something started as a few pages written in a notebook while on tour in Sweden would turn into this is unreal. Today someone from Nepal said its his dream to go to TIH. I’m now thinking of ways to raise $ to be able to fly him out next year. I used to worry if I was going to do it again, now I don’t think of TIH as not happening as much as I think what I need to do with it next. I’m amazed how many people look forward to it as much as I do and plan further ahead then I do to make sure they can be a part of it. That is the motivation and then some to keep moving TIH forward.
With so many people in the room and a part of This Is Hardcore, it would be hard to not use the opportunity to give to charities that I feel are important. In recent years, the Broad St Ministry has become another center city venue for us to meet and hold shows in Philadelphia. It is also an amazing group of people that meet the demands of bitter winters and an army of homeless with a city too broke and too apathetic to fix the issue. We’ll be working with the BSM to collect the necessary items that are passed out weekly to their homeless cafe. I know you all have your FML times, but speak with the people who work with BSM and the cafe. They’ve seen the faces and know the stories of lives who are not completely fucked, but are in much worse shape then yours. I’ll have a full list of items you can bring to help out.
Our most silly and fun charity this year will be the Hardcore Allstar Dunk Tank. Expect to be able to dunk the likes of Toby Morse, Freddy Madball, Rob Fish, Scott Vogel and many more. We’ll be using the proceeds to help the Eliza Shirley House for Abused Women and Children. The idea sounds ridiculous, but it will be a good time and a good cause to give to when you spend your bucks to dunk your favorite hardcore kings.
There will be more in depth, detailed listings in the weeks to follow but I just wanted to put all of this out there. Aram from Betrayed once said to me that hardcore needs to be focused on making a difference. Years ago I was unfocused. I feel like this year’s fest is the most focused its ever been despite the many directions and aspects that are being added to it. I want our culture to not only thrive but to spread. Where someone may have come with just an idea as to what HC is, after a weekend with such a variety of bands and exposure to zines and the charity work, that people will come out with a deeper sense of what the scene is.
Its a great weekend and what I most look forward to, but beneath it if I just turned the lights on and off each night and didn’t think about the impact I could make on each kid or how our collective impact could be used, its was for nothing. I hope with all the added attention paid to the needs of the crowd and the extra curricular activities going on, we’ll have something that feels bigger then a hardcore show but remains it in spirit. It is a celebration of the best of our culture and I’m humbled that you want it each year and happy I could bring it to you.
Have fun and stay tuned to ThisIsHardCoreFest.com