"We had a guaranteed sold-out show at Spanky's, including some national bands," Tchekmeian says. "But we had to keep it local to accommodate the smaller venue we moved it to." That venue, naturally, is Ray's Downtown, the city's last all-ages holdout.
The convention, he says, is all about networking. In addition to the bands performing for a bigger audience than many of 'em are used to (Tchekmeian expects more than 1,200 throughout both days), they get to show their stuff to record-label reps from Hand of Hope, Fluff, Undecided, and Eulogy.
"The whole thing is set up for networking purposes," Tchekmeian says. "It's us giving back to the artists we work with in Florida."
Of course, none of this is possible without satisfied fans. Fortunately, there are enough bands to sate the most eclectic audience, from hardcore bands (Hearts Over Rome, On Watership Down), to pop-punk (Neptune 66, Five Cent Wish), and even hip-hop (Cadet-yo, Marcus Harris ).
"Next year, we hope to have national bands," Tchekmeian notes. Until then, there are plenty of local bands who deserve your attention. Gas money helps too.