• Fested : A Journey to Fest 7

    Released By:Blue Elephant Media
    Released On: 07/26/2011
    Director: Reese Lester
    Cast: OK Pilot, Dirty Money, Hour of the Wolf, None More Black, Static Radio

    The Film:

    Who doesn’t like beers and loud music? That’s probably what the guys from No Idea Records were thinking when they decided to put together a punk rock festival in Gainesville, Florida, back in 2002. Now in its 10th year, The Fest continues to draw snotty, scabby, unwashed youth from all over the world, with the promise of hundreds of bands and the opportunity to drink yourself blind beside other like-minded folks. It sure would be great to see such an event on DVD, but next to impossible to capture the energy and scope of the extravaganza….right?

    Fortunately for punkers who missed their chance to attend because they blew their allowance on Pabst Blue Ribbon, Blue Elephant Media has released Fested: A Journey to Fest 7 on DVD. Beginning days before the Fest itself, Fested follows the fans as they mission by bus, van, plane and Night Train to Gainesville to see over 270 of the punk rawkingest bands to ever grace the stage (or warehouse floor). Interspersed with band interviews, fan hijinks, and a ton of booze consumption, Fested doesn’t pull any punches in letting the viewer know exactly how hardcore this event is. If you want multi-camera setups with remastered soundboard recordings, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you prefer distortion, flying sweat, naked bass players and pissing in the streets, this disc may be your idea of a good time.

    Covering all of the bands would have been a ridiculous task, but Director Reese Lester has done a swell job of assembling the footage from a wide variety of acts; from local heroes Dirty Money, Austin’s The Anchor, to OK Pilot from the UK, you can expect everything from shitty garage bands to crowd-pleasers like New Jersey’s Static Radio, who do a bang on cover of “Small Man, Big Mouth” by Minor Threat.

    The downside is that in the effort to be as rough as possible, some of the audio from the various gigs is almost unlistenable, with non-existent vocals and drums that will make your speakers sound like they need to be replaced. Coupled with a poor decision to use a whole lot of video effects and some pretty severe blurring happening in dark venues, this is not, as mentioned, your pro-shot Good Charlotte concert. The upside is that in the effort to be as rough as possible, you get some energetic, raw footage of a lot of bands you may have never heard of, and the occasional humourous clip of somebody passed out drunk in the street. Hey, we’ve all been there.

    All in all, there were two ways to tackle a project like this; polished and professional, or loud and in your face. Fested presents just the way it should; like a boot in the yarbles.


    Shot largely with handheld cameras and no professional lighting, Fested: A Journey To Fest 7 varies in video quality (1.78:1 anamorphic) from somewhat warty to downright ugly. Fortunately, the audio (PCM 2.0) matches the video, going from inaudible to over-saturated with fuzz. This is not the disc you’ll be using to show off your high-end system.

    The first extra on the disc is Stage Dives of Fest 7, a montage of stage-diving shots set to Chariots of Fire, which runs just over three minutes.

    Up next are the rules for a Fested Drinking Game, though if you’re watching it, you’re probably drunk already.

    Rounding out the extras is a bonus video clip of Hour of the Wolf (naked bass player) cover “Fix Me” by Black Flag.

    The Final Word:

    If spitting, swearing, boozing and brawling while listening to loud, fast music is your thing, you’ll probably really like this disc. If you like your music a little shinier, you probably won’t.

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      OK Pilot...never heard of 'em, but, can hipsters be punks?
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I was going to ask something similar. Since when are hipsters fucks considered to be punks?
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      OK Pilot weren't good, but they weren't representative of most of the other crusty bands. Most of the dirtbags on the disc were smelly bastards.