Fest 13 Day 3: Tacos Are Forever

By Maryam Hassan

Fest 13 Day 3: Tacos Are Forever

When I woke up for the final day of Fest, it felt a little surreal. In some ways it felt like I had been Festing for an entire month (thanks to all the aches and pains and brutal hangover) and in other ways, it felt like I had only just arrived in Gainesville. I was excited for all the bands playing that day, but a small piece of me felt sad that I was nearing the end of my annual escape to my punk rock wonderland.

RVIVR is absolutely amazing #fest13 #ptfest

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I decided to start my final day of Fest back at Bo Diddley Plaza seeing one of my all time favorite bands, RVIVR. Their positive demeanor is super contagious, and they always put on one of my favorite sets at Fest every year. They played a bit of new material off of the EP they recently put out and a mix of stuff from the full lengths. Towards the end of their set they dedicated a moment of silence in honor of a number of victims of police brutality both past and present. The only thing anyone could hear was a siren in the distance which was incredibly haunting and fitting. It is probably one of the most grounding and moving things I have ever experienced at a Fest or any punk show for that matter. One of the things I appreciate about RVIVR is they always have a message and create an environment of inclusiveness and solidarity. It was a really special way to start off the last day of Fest.

If the past few years are any indication, RVIVR’s set was followed by Iron Chic who never fail to disappoint. Erica from RVIVR even joined them for a song and I always love seeing these bands together. What made this year exceptionally fun was the Fest volunteers working the barrier that day. They were all dancing and singing with the rest of us and making sure everyone was having a safe, fun time. The whole vibe at Bo Diddley that morning was extremely positive and invigorating and it set the tone for the rest of the day.

Laura Palmer at Loosey's #ptfest #fest13

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After Iron Chic was over, I high tailed it to Loosey’s because I really wanted to catch Laura Palmer. I have been really stoked on their record (and their Jawbreaker-y sound) and since they are from Australia, it’s not like I have very many opportunities to catch them live. One of the great things about Fest is how many international bands they invite to play. I love being able to check out bands I wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to. Fest is such a great way for bands from overseas to get exposure and it’s wonderful they get the opportunity to do so.

Last night of #fest13 later grams. @restorations had one of the most amazing sets of the entire weekend. #ptfest

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As much as I love checking out bands from other parts of the world, I also love watching the bands from my backyard in Philly do their thing at Fest. I was super stoked to see Restorations at Fest. They put out one of the best records this year and their live show is unreal. They legitimately are one of my favorite active bands right now. As I’ve said before it’s also really awesome to see people get excited for bands from your scene and I can’t think of a band more deserving than them. Their set was heavy on material from their new record with a few old gems thrown in the mix and it’s a toss up between Restorations and PUP for my favorite performance of the entire Fest this year.

I decided to end the night at Bo Diddley Plaza again, as the smokiness of 8 Seconds really started to get to me. I didn’t think my lungs could take much more of dark smoky rooms. What made the open air of the plaza more enticing was getting to catch a rare opportunity to see Lifetime. I went into full on nostalgia mode the second they charged onto the stage with “Turnpike Gates.” Rounding out the night, still on the nostalgia high, was Hot Water Music. I couldn’t think of a better way to end Fest than to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary with them in Gainesville. It was really special and despite it being ultra cold outside, I still felt warm and fuzzy.

Celebrating Hot Water Music's 20th anniversary was such a fitting way to end #fest13 #ptfest

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But just because the bands were over didn’t mean the party was quite over. Every year for the past few Fests, there’s been an after party at the Holiday Inn full of cover sets and dancing and drunken goodbyes that goes all night. I took it pretty easy for most of the day because I wanted to go into full on party mode at the after party.

It’s for that reason, I lapsed on a bit of my journalistic responsibilities and what transpired can only be determined by stories from friends and photos taken from that night. I recall Timeshares doing a Lucero set, and members of Beach Slang and Caves covering the Weakerthans. There were multiple visits to the Fest Photo Booth, lots of hugs, weird group selfies, lots of beer and mixed drinks. And a lot of dancing to Taylor Swift. What is still a mystery from the after party is how I woke up with a chipped tooth. It really wouldn’t be a Fest without something absolutely ridiculous happening, would it?

To commemorate a successful Fest, I ended up crossing off something off of my Fest bucket list. I’ve always wanted to go to Anthem Tattoo and get a Stressface tattoo. They were incredibly friendly and accommodating, and gentle with my broken, severely hungover body. Artist Tim Strating did a fantastic job with my taco Stressface. It is the perfect thing to permanently remind me of how this was easily one of my all time favorite Fests and all of the delicious tacos I ate the entire weekend.

This really was a Fest for the books. The ride home was long, cold, and a little sad. But watching my phone notifications blow up with a steady stream of photos, Tweets, and stories kept reminding me of why I put my body through this every single year. It was chock full of bands at the top of their game, wonderful food, and the best friends a kid could ask for and I’m already counting down the days until Fest 14.