Gainesville's annual punk throwdown Fest goes virtual on Halloween as 'The Fest That Never Was'

click to enlarge Crowd shot from FEST 18 in 2019 - Photo by Jen Cray for Orlando Weekly
Photo by Jen Cray for Orlando Weekly
Crowd shot from FEST 18 in 2019
Grab your PBR and your best 2020-model tragically resilient attitude because Fest, Florida’s annual punk pilgrimage, is going virtual.

The Fest That Never Was, featuring dozens of bands from across the globe, will be livestreamed on Facebook and Twitch this Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31. And Orlando's Caffiends, Cool Grandma and Tierney Tough are all set to beam in at various points in the shindig.

Starting at noon, the free 11-hour virtual event promises live music, stories of Fest glories past, a dance party, costumes and, as the organizers put it, "all types of weird shit." Almost like the real thing.

In an alternative universe not plagued by a ruthless pandemic and astonishingly incompetent elected leaders (looking at you, Ronnie D), thousands of punks from across the globe would converge upon Gainesville, Florida, this weekend, the perfectly unlikely place for the annual festival. But alas, the surprise sets, Fest punch, and mosh pits will have to wait.

The IRL FEST 19 has already been rescheduled for next October, and features some iconic acts like Gorilla Biscuits and Cursive.

In the meantime, The Fest That Never Was offers fleeting yet desperately needed joy. Punks look after each other, whether it's in the pit or in the grips of a global pandemic with seemingly no end in sight. So wear your mask, vote like your life depends on it, and tune in to The Fest That Never Was this weekend.

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