Listen to (Almost) Everyone Performing at Why Not Fest 8
It's that time of year again: Summer is scorching hot, so bands are getting in their tour vans and hitting the road. The long days, the brutal sun. Like Pavlov's dog, I start salivating for what I know is coming. Why Not?!? Fest. Three August days in Minot, the true heart of North Dakota, where a small, committed music scene puts on the best underground music festival in the state.
To newcomers, Minot — in the north-central part of the state, with an air force base and a university but a couple hours away from the interstate — must seem like the most random place to hold a festival of such importance. Even growing up a hundred miles south in Bismarck, the cultural vibrance of Minot has held a certain mystery to me. But make no mistake, it's a real thing. In an interview from 1995, Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna was asked about the best show she's ever played: "BEST SHOWS ARE ALWAYS IN MINOT because the kids are spazzy and don’t care about cool."
Each year, when Why Not?!? Fest announces the upcoming schedule of performers, I drool over the lineup. I search through the list and check out every one of the 80+ bands I haven't heard of yet. This time, I thought I'd pass the list of links & tunes on to you. Instead of spending hours hunting everything down like I did, you can just look & listen. Bonus.
If you've gandered at the Fest list, you'll already have noticed the #FestClassics — those local bands and out-of-towners that make Fest a family — but I'm stoked to see new North Dakota bands and a bunch of groups from other states: Minnesota and South Dakota in particular, but also Iowa, Montana, Illinois, Kansas. Nice. And although there are a handful of mainstays missing from the schedule (shout out Mr. Dad, Victor Shores, the Zen People hip-hop collective, Duffy and the Beer Slayers), there's enough new faces & familiar voices to get me very excited.
Dear Fest, here we come.
It's only a matter of time. And when you find me there, let's rock & roll and talk about life & death & stuff. I'll be there, p. Goth mic in hand (unless my social anxiety spirals out of control again lol!!!!!!!!!!) ready to carpe f*ing diem.
So what are you looking forward to most at Why Not Fest 8? Who are you most excited to hear? Let me know in the comment section. (It's down there! I promise. Keep scrolling!)
P.S. You can "Scroll on Through to the Other Side" or Ctrl+F your way through this basically alphabetical beast but, fyi, here's a few bands I have no info on, just in case you're looking: The Catastrapheliacs, Grace and Madilyn Typical Bat Things, Moth House, Nocturnal Blues Emission, A Cult Pity.
P.P.S. Only like 16 of the 80+ bands at this year's Why Not Fest are on Spotify but here's a playlist!
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A Little Mouse
Folk • Minot, ND
Indie Rock / Experimental Pop • Minot, ND
An Atomic Whirl
Punk / Math Rock / Doomjazz • Wichita, KS
Goth / Post-Punk / Synth Pop • Sioux Falls, SD
Math / Post-Rock / Shoegaze • Minot, ND
Folk / Lo-fi Indie / Emo • Bismarck, ND
Cancelled. Unfortunately, Ben Knight will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.
Hip-Hop / Nerdcore • Westhope, ND
Punk / Metal / Grunge • Fargo, ND
Ambient Emo / Lo-fi Indie / Folk • Bismarck, ND
Cancelled. Unfortunately, Bull Market will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.
Punk / Sludge / Noise Rock • Billings, MT
Psych Rock • Hadley, MA
Alternative / Emo / Math Rock • Bozeman, MT
Folk • Minot, ND
Home is where your nap is.— Chris Stroschein (@baefild) January 9, 2016
Chris is the producer behind Prairie Fire Songbook, a podcast that tells the stories behind songs written by musicians from North Dakota and the great plains. A member of the Lampshade Brigade, Chris is also an actor and improv comedian.
Alternative / Rock / Blues • Bismarck, ND
Experimental / Noise / Plunderphonics • Minot, ND
Clutterpiles is Chris Brown of Midwest Modulation.
Pop / Rock • Minot, ND
Cancelled. Unfortunately, Cool Dog will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.
Punk / Grind / Powerviolence • Minneapolis, MN
Pop Punk / Hardcore • Fargo, ND
Daniel and the Johnsons
Folk / Punk / Alt Country • Minot, ND
I am 90% sure that
Daniel and the Johnsons are Daniel Johnson aka Dani Raccoon. Maybe he's playing with a band? Maybe I'm totally wrong. Await a correction.
Indie Rock / Shoegaze • Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN
Punk / Indie Rock / Surf • Moorhead, MN
Post Rock • Bismarck, ND
Members of Sequences.
It Was Her Idea
Folk • Minot, ND
It Was Her Idea's members include singer/songwriter Rick Watson, who you can hear in the video below.
Folk • Minneapolis, MN
Joe Davis & The Poetic Diaspora
Spoken Word Poetry / Soul / Funk•Minneapolis, MN
Folk / Lo-fi Indie / Emo • Bismarck
Joshua Plague's Sanctuary of Sound
Queercore / Punk / Folk • Los Angeles, CA
Where can I start with Joshua Plague? Why Not Fest would not be the same without him. Mr. Plague — aka Joshua Ploeg, aka the Touring Vegan Chef — is a punk rock vocalist for like a dozen queercore bands who also writes vegan cookbooks and has cooked for everyone from, like, all the bands at Why Not to uhhhhhh frickin Fugazi.
Let's take a look at his bio from his blog:
I used to/ still sing in punk bands (Mukilteo Fairies, Lords of Lightspeed, Behead the Prophet N.L.S.L., Warm Streams [also Select Sex]), now I cook vegan food and tour around in a fashion similar to the band tours of yore, mostly doing dinner parties and soirees in people's apartments and art spaces. I tour on public transportation for weeks on end, sometimes bringing my knives along and cook in a wild variety of kitchens (been doing it this way since 2003). I've also done several vegan cookbooks: "In Search of the Lost Taste", "A Typografic Meal to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Libelle" (Netherlands), "Dutch Much", "Twelve Knights In My Kingdom" and "Something Delicious This Way Comes: Spellbinding Vegan Cookery". Hot Stuff! Currently I live "wherever"!
I've been enamored with Mukilteo Fairies since I was basically a child, so the fact that their vocalist comes and hangs out and cooks vegan food that fills my belly still blows my mind.
Kids With Beards
Folk • Bismarck, ND
Electronic / Psych Pop / Rock • Sioux Falls, SD
Many Months Left
Emo / Post-Hardcore / Math Rock • Bismarck, ND
Punk • Minot, ND
Nora and the Janitors
Hey it's me! You can listen to a track from my lo-fi punk album from last year below, but this year at Fest, I'll be playing a drum machine & synthesizer. Solo, no vocals. The music is inspired by footwork/juke and acid techno, but it's not really either of those things.
If you want an intro to the sounds I've made over the years, this Spotify playlist is a good place to start.
Americana / Bluegrass / Folk • Beulah, ND
Pass the Flask
Punk / Emo / Hardcore • Fargo, ND
Cancelled. Unfortunately, Pleasure Wounds will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.
Grunge / Shoegaze / Alternative Rock • Minneapolis, MN
Pop Punk / Emo • Minneapolis, MN
Red Eye Ruby
Cancelled. Unfortunately, Red Eye Ruby will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.
Americana / Jazz / Rock • Minneapolis, MN
Folk / Rock / Lo-fi Indie • Minneapolis, MN
Metal • Bismarck, ND
Folk / Rock • Bismarck, ND
Rock / Punk / Post-Hardcore • Bismarck, ND
Punk • Grand Forks
Indie / Folk / Punk • Bismarck, ND
Folk / Punk / Indie Rock • Sioux Falls
The Darning Hearts
Folk / Bluegrass / Jazz • Rapid City, SD
Folk / Punk • Minot, ND
Punk / Indie Rock • Lansing, MI
Punk / Hardcore / Alternative • Sioux City, IA
Femme Art Rock • Missoula, MT
Although Tormi has no links to their band's recordings posted on their social media, their vocalist Molly Liu Buchanan has demos on her Bandcamp page. From Tormi's Facebook page last November:
Hello! Two members of Tormi; slammed with school; one member, we had to bid a farewell back to Boise; the others... nonexistent. We'll be quiet in these next few months. Which also means more time to make nice tunes. In the meantime, here are some demos off of Molly's bandcamp.
Well, I'm gonna take a minute to ponder the status of the "nonexistent" band members. Maybe Schrödinger's bassist?
In the meantime, here's Molly Liu's Bandcamp.
Melodic Punk • Fargo, ND
Emo / Shoegaze / Post-Punk • Williston, ND
Hip-Hop • Minot, ND
Pop Punk / Alternative / Indie Rock • Minot, ND
You can hear Vanity Plate and the Juniper Drive on episode #18 of Prairie Goth, after they returned from their 2016 summer tour to the west coast. You can also hear Vanity Plate on Prairie Fire Songbook, telling the backstory for their song "Princes Street."
Folk / Punk • Fargo, ND
With Iowa in Between
Punk / Emo • Minneapolis, MN
Lo-fi Punk • Northfield, MN
Zebra Zebra is the duo of Jazmine Wolff Schultz (of Vanity Plate) and the young rock star Amisa. They're a #FestClassic not to be missed!