Over the years, a fair share of music promoters have made their respective marks on the local music scene. While some have come and go, many others have soldiered on in thankless capacities. Their contributions have been at the forefront of making (or at least trying to make) South Florida a viable and lucrative destination for touring bands.
As of recent, the local punk and hardcore scene received a much-needed shot in the vein thanks to the efforts of the Speedfreek crew. Roger Forbes and Torche's Rick Smith developed a unique way of bringing bands to our backyard.
We recently had a chance to catch up with one-half of Speedfreak, Roger Forbes, to shed some light on their approach and on the upcoming and promising 305 Fest 2012.
New Times: How did the whole Speedfreek thing come about?
Roger Forbes: My partner Rick Smith started doing shows under the Speedfreek name a while ago. I moved to Miami from Boston in 2001 and became friends with Rick through mutual friends and from seeing each other at the same shows. It wasn't until November of 2011 that we got into business together with the Speedfreek thing.
This would've been the DropDead show, right?
Yes, because of my corporate day life, which is a bit of an anomaly in this scene, he asked me if I wanted to financially partner with him on a short tour that he was booking with them. I love that band and used to see them when I lived up north. We did the show, and it went really well. Afterward, I was like: Rick, you wanna keep doing shows together with this Speedfreek thing? And he was like, fuck yeah!
We work really well together and have similar interests in graphic design and music.
We're also pretty evenly matched in that I do well with the negotiations with club owners, management, and sponsors while Rick has tons of experience in booking bands and negotiating with the artists themselves.
Noothgrush - "Dianoga"
So what sets the Speedfreek style aside from others?
Speedfreek does something that wasn't really happening down here. We fly in the bands that we book for one-off shows rather than tours. Miami gets skipped a lot on tours because geographically we are so out of the way. Now people all over the country are noticing that Miami is getting all the good shows.
Since we started working together, we've done shows with DropDead, D.C.'s Coke Bust, Disciples of Christ, grindcore legends Phobia, Magrudergrind, Hawg Jaw, In Defence, sludge metal legends EyeHateGod, Weedeater, ASG, and many, many more.
And now you guys have taken over the 305 Fest; how did that come about?
305 Fest was offered to me by one of the former organizers in February. They didn't want to do it anymore because of some issues they ran into last year, and I'm thinking that they noticed that we had some money to be flying in all these bands and might be able to take the fest to a different level. I told them that I was definitely interested in taking it over, and when I talked to Rick about it, he was into it too.
I know that when you announced that you'd be doing it, I sent in, like many others, a wish list of bands I'd love to see on stage. How did you guys pick your lineup?
We both sat at a bar one night writing down lists of bands on napkins that we wanted to fly into Miami, and as we were going through the lists, it seemed like in every name we listed, either he or I knew someone in the band and could deal with them directly.
Rick has been drumming for touring bands (Torche, Shitstorm, Post Teens, etc.) for a long time, and he has made friends with a lot of bands out on the road. I've been going to shows in Boston, New York, and Miami for longer than I care to admit and have gotten to know a lot of bands and promoters over the years.
This festival is a lot of work. Flights, hotels, negotiating booking fees, scheduling, backline, transportation, promotion, press, etc.Bastard Noise - "Dedication to Man"
What can we expect of this year's Fest?
This year, we brought 305 Fest back to Churchill's, where we do all of our Miami shows, and have about 50 bands booked for the actual fest, which takes place from July 6 to the 8 with a prefest show on Thursday, July 5. Unlike previous versions, we decided to book mostly South Florida bands but with the added Speedfreek touch of booking and flying in some amazing headliners from different parts of the country like Noothgrush and Bastard Noise.
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We're getting a lot of national and even some international attention for this year's festival and lineup. But we're also going to give it a very Miami twist with DJ Juan Basshead taking to the air every night after the last band finishes, performing sets of Miami bass, ghetto tech, electro-bounce, and stuff like that. We thought that would be a fun way to end each night and to give people who travel from other states a taste of Miami flavor.