Plan-It-X Fest 2011

November 25, 2010

What do you get when you pack 508 punk kids into one venue that have hitchhiked, train hopped, and road tripped (most of whom have not showered in over a week) in the dead heat of the summer to Bloomington, Indiana? Sheer energy, but also, unfortunately, the pungent smell of garlic and onions. But this summer’s Plan-it-x Fest will be much more than a hedonistic punk free-for-all with stinky kids drinking beer and yelling at police. The festival is the quintessential event for every self-proclaimed ‘folk punk’.

Folk-punk as a genre deviates largely from the nihilistic stigma created by the punk movement in the early 1980s and 1990s, its lyrics usually involve sensitive materials such as maintaining a positive outlook on life in the midst of fear and depression, riding bikes, traveling, suicide and death, and perhaps most importantly, love.  There is no doubt that this year’s festival will follow the ethos of Chris Clavin, founder of Plan-it-x records and organizer of the gathering. His own band, Ghost Mice, critically analyzes the punk movement in the song “Up The Punks” singing:

“What have we done? What have we done?

Are we making any changes or just having fun?

What have we done?

Is this more than just music?

Is it more than just a club?

Are we making any difference?

What have we done?

Well just take a look around and I’m sure that you’ll agree,

That we’ve done a lot of things to improve communities,

Like organizing protests and serving Food Not Bombs,

Sending books to all the prisoners that’ve been locked up for so long…”


It is because of this that Plan-it-x Fest will be unlike most stereotypical punk rock events. To begin, all bands will only be covered for traveling expenses; the thousands of other dollars will be given away to various charities. If that was not enough, various workshops will be available most likely ranging from anything between community outreach to combating racism.

It is no wonder that all the tickets for this event were sold out in less than 3 hours; folk-punk is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Guided by solo acoustic acts to bands equipped with banjos, upright basses, and cellos, this will unquestionably be a unique event in punk rock history. For every “folk punk” long gone are the days of Black Flag and other punk rockers cynical visions to destroy, but rather now, a new tale is being sung, a tale about hope, caring, and rebuilding a world that has been lost. Even if the music may sound too raw and crude, no one in their right mind would disagree that folk-punk is taking punk to a new level.

Recommended bands to see: Defiance Ohio, Ghost Mice, Nana Grizol, Kimya Dawson, The Max Levine Ensemble, and The Mountain Goats, among many, many more.

Plan-it-x Fest 2011: June 24th, 2011 to June 26th 2011.

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