It’s a good weekend to be punk fan and CBGB enthusiast in New York City.
The CBGB Festival kicked off this Thursday, July 5, features music showcases, film showcases, a music conference and film conference, as well as a Spirits Festival to close out the weekend on July 8.
Krist Novoselic kicked off the festival as it’s keynote speaker on Thursday and events have been on a rolling schedule ever since. The line-up consists of 300 unknown bands as well as a few more well-known headliners playing in various venues around Manhattan and Brooklyn. There will even be a free concert in Times Square on July 7!
In true CBGB fashion, much of the news about this festival has been underground, at least from what I’ve heard here in California. The festival, which I heard about a few months ago, seemed to sneak up on me!
From what I’ve read and what I’ve seen, this seems to be a truly unique twist on the festivals we have seen more and more of the past few years. The spirit does seem to mirror that of the former club in that it features mainly unknown or underground artists, as well as re-formations and appearances by CBGB veterans such as those from the surviving Ramone, Tommy and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols. Richard Lloyd and Billy Ficca of Television, the first band to play at CBGB, were scheduled to perform as well until illness caused them to cancel. The festival boasts many more acts of CBGB fame, as well as 30 documentary and rock films through two days of the festival.
All of this, I think, sounds unbelievably cool without trying to hard, again in true CBGB spirit. Unfortunately for me, I live all the way across the country in Southern California. If you’re lucky enough to be in New York, however, and you like a little punk rock, you may want to check it out - at least go to the free show in Times Square! Let me know how it is. From where I’m standing it seems pretty exciting, but there’s only so much you can get from news articles and short clips. I have a feeling this is something that needs to be experienced and I really hope that it turns out to be as good as it seems on paper so that perhaps in a few years I will be able to say for myself if the CBGB Festival is the festival to attend.