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."

Seems legit.

Pavlov Nora

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

all i’ve ever wanted to do is say something true
but lately that seems hard to do
— A Little Mouse

Listen: Bandcamp


Indie Rock / Experimental Pop • Minot, ND

A post shared by Al Gore (@algorillathym) on

Algorillathym's DEMOS were reviewed on episode #23 of Prairie Goth.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

An Atomic Whirl

Punk / Math Rock / Doomjazz • Wichita, KS

Angie Hosh

Goth / Post-Punk / Synth Pop • Sioux Falls, SD

Listen: Bandcamp, Spotify
Social: Facebook

Atom's Rite

Math / Post-Rock / Shoegaze • Minot, ND

You can hear the story behind "Things Being Met Will Burn" on Prairie Fire Songbook.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Bartholomew Goop

Folk / Lo-fi Indie / Emo • Bismarck, ND

Getting back into the stitch game.

A post shared by sarah (@bart_goop) on

Ben Knight

Cancelled. Unfortunately, Ben Knight will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.

Hip-Hop / Nerdcore • Westhope, ND

Social: Facebook

Boxcutter Kids

Punk / Metal / Grunge • Fargo, ND

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

breakup haircuts

Ambient Emo / Lo-fi Indie / Folk • Bismarck, ND

Members of Bartholomew Goop, Your Awkward Prom Date, SonnieWaters, Bummer.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Bull Market

Cancelled. Unfortunately, Bull Market will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.

Punk / Sludge / Noise Rock • Billings, MT

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Psych Rock • Hadley, MA

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Alternative / Emo / Math Rock • Bozeman, MT

A post shared by chairea (@chaireaisaband) on

btw, it's pronounced "cherry-uh".

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook, Twitter

Chris Stroschein

Folk • Minot, ND

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

Clashic is Adam Maragos, Dan Pretzer, Timothy Scott and Jacob Lawler.

Listen: Bandcamp, Soundcloud
Social: Facebook


Experimental / Noise / Plunderphonics • Minot, ND

Clutterpiles is Chris Brown of Midwest Modulation.

Listen: Bandcamp

Cody Blotter

Pop / Rock • Minot, ND

Listen: ReverbNation
Social: Facebook

Cool Dog

Cancelled. Unfortunately, Cool Dog will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.

Punk / Grind / Powerviolence • Minneapolis, MN

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Crab Legs

Pop Punk / Hardcore • Fargo, ND

It’s really none of my business
All the pills you take
Or how you hang around your friends
You claim are all fake
But the way you live your life
Doesn’t make much sense to me
You swear you’re not trying to impress
But it’s all I really see
— Crab Legs

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.

Here's the correction: Daniel and the Johnsons are Chris Stroschein and Jake Flaten and they'll be playing (mostly?) Acoustic Sparkle Additive tunes.

Regardless, you can still hear Dani Raccoon tell the story of his song "Down the Road" on Prairie Fire Songbook.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


EDM • Minot, ND

Also known as Phat Masta Q., DJ PMQ is Ward Lamon.

Social: Facebook


Bismarck, ND

Members of It Came From the Sea, Sweat Hotel and Tres Face Von Dingo. NDTMS is Alex Nash, Sasha Sommer, Zach Mulholland and Braden Hendershot.

Social: Facebook


Indie Rock / Shoegaze • Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN

I stacked the wood, you lit the fire
Everything known released to the sky
— Floods

Free Truman

Punk / Indie Rock / Surf • Moorhead, MN

Sit in the woods, sit on your phone
You pay for weed with your student loans
— Free Truman

Members of Crab Legs.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Greasy Doilies

Lady Indie Rock! • Minot, ND

You can hear Greasy Doilies by checking out this live video from June 25th.

Members of Vanity Plate, Kids With Beards and Chapstick. Greasy Doilies are Lia Marie Balliet, Maria Cree, Kat Kirschmann and Jazmine Wolff Schultz.

Social: Facebook

Home Invasion

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.

Jill Zimmerman

Folk • Minneapolis, MN

Listen: Soundcloud
Social: Facebook

Joe Biel / Microcosm Publishing

Portland, OR

Microcosm publishes books, zines and videos on everything from fermentation and vegan cooking to graphic novels about Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig. Also lots of stuff about bikes!

Social: Facebook

Joe Davis & The Poetic Diaspora

Spoken Word Poetry / Soul / Funk•Minneapolis, MN

Jordaxn Kidwell

Folk / Lo-fi Indie / Emo • Bismarck

Member of breakup haircuts, Many Months Left, Your Awkward Prom Date.

Listen: Bandcamp

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.

Also check out this interview Joshua did with Microcosm Publishing. And oh yeah, buy his books.

Listen: Myspace
Social: Facebook

Kids With Beards

Folk • Bismarck, ND

Members of the Juniper Drive, Strikes Again, Greasy Doilies. Kids With Beards are Kat Kirschmann, Richard Loewen and Evan Morgenson.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Electronic / Psych Pop / Rock • Sioux Falls, SD

When I’m walking all alone and the lights are down low
I feel you
— LowRidingMoths

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Many Months Left

Emo / Post-Hardcore / Math Rock • Bismarck, ND

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Mineral Rights

Punk • Minot, ND

Sitting here wondering
Have I done anything
In twenty six years
That’s worth remembering
— Mineral Rights

Members of the Getters, Atom's Rite.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

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.

Northern Light

Americana / Bluegrass / Folk • Beulah, ND

Opposition Out

Metal / Thrash • Minot, ND

Listen: ReverbNation
Social: Facebook

Pass the Flask

Punk / Emo / Hardcore • Fargo, ND

this tour can’t come quick enough. I’ll run away and finally feel something again.
— Pass the Flask

Members of Windsor Diets, Crab Legs.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Pleasure Wounds

Cancelled. Unfortunately, Pleasure Wounds will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.

Grunge / Shoegaze / Alternative Rock • Minneapolis, MN

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Pretty Still

Pop Punk / Emo • Minneapolis, MN

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Members of With Iowa in Between.

Red Eye Ruby

Cancelled. Unfortunately, Red Eye Ruby will not be performing at Why Not Fest 8.

Americana / Jazz / Rock • Minneapolis, MN

When we were younger, we’d go strolling
Through the dark and turning sea
Converse with mermaids, caress the shadows
In the occult caves of the deep
— Red Eye Ruby

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Robert Kramer

Folk / Rock / Lo-fi Indie • Minneapolis, MN

You can hear Robert on episode #3 of Prairie Goth. Robert is the songwriter for the the Juniper Drive; you can catch Robert on Prairie Fire Songbook telling the story behind "Believe I."

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Metal • Bismarck, ND

Social: Facebook


Folk / Rock • Bismarck, ND

Social: Facebook

Spite Nap

Rock / Punk / Post-Hardcore • Bismarck, ND

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Punk • Grand Forks

Listen: Bandcamp

Strikes Again

Indie / Folk / Punk • Bismarck, ND

Members of Latitudes, Bummer and Kids With Beards. Strikes Again is Michael Garvey, Richard Loewen and Storm.

Listen: Soundcloud

Tapwater Shrimp

Folk / Punk / Indie Rock • Sioux Falls

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

The Darning Hearts

Folk / Bluegrass / Jazz • Rapid City, SD

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

The Getters

Folk / Punk • Minot, ND

Members of Clutterpiles, Mineral Rights.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

The Plurals

Punk / Indie Rock • Lansing, MI

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Punk / Hardcore / Alternative • Sioux City, IA

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


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.

Social: Facebook

Triple Deke

Melodic Punk • Fargo, ND

The homophobes and the sexist bigots. Made great again by closet racists who think it’s acceptable now just because the shit spewed right out. A conceivable notion obtained by the doubt.
— Triple Deke

Members of Crab Legs.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Tuesday X

Emo / Shoegaze / Post-Punk • Williston, ND

Everyone needs a song about falling in love, right?
And I just happen to love Winona Ryder.
— Tuesday X

Members of The Amberlamps.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook


Hip-Hop • Minot, ND

Listen: Soundcloud

Vanity Plate

Pop Punk / Alternative / Indie Rock • Minot, ND

The Aquarium

A post shared by Vanity Plate (@vanityplatend) on

The daily grind’s got us, just trying to find the time to do the things that make it all worth living.
— Vanity Plate

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."

Members of Magonel, The Juniper Drive, Echo's Answer.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Windsor Diets

Folk / Punk • Fargo, ND

Don’t you know gender is dead?
— Windsor Diets

Members of Pass the Flask, Crab Legs. Windsor Diets is Mike Hansen.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

With Iowa in Between

Punk / Emo • Minneapolis, MN

Don’t be scared to cry. Don’t be scared to love. It’s what we’re all made of.
— With Iowa in Between

Members of Pretty Still.

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Youthful Goon

Lo-fi Punk • Northfield, MN

the eternal sunshine of the spotless trash
— Youthful Goon

Listen: Bandcamp
Social: Facebook

Zebra Zebra

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!

3 Horses

Fargo, ND

Members of Uncle Dad, Pavlov's Daughter. 3 Horses are Layne Krieg, Emily Driscoll and Josie Gereszek.

Social: Facebook


Corrections: End Times of Dallas, TX are not performing at Why Not Fest. End Times was the former name of Bismarck band NDTMS.