For Floridian punk fans, the last week of October might as well be Christmas. It's when The Fest takes over Gainesville and Big Pre-Fest descends upon Ybor City. So what's up with this internationally flavored Pre-pre Fest happening in St. Pete on October 25?
It's another reason to hang with friends and see bands who don't normally get around these parts, duh.
This year, organizers Christian Costello and Chewy Hemphill have teamed up with other members of the community to host almost a dozen bands at Lucky You Tattoo in Seminole. There are a few resident outfits, but the highlights come in the form of bands from France (Traverse), Singapore (The Caulfield Cult), England (Jake & the Jellyfish), and Panama (Lemmiwinks).
So how do organizers get such a concentrated international flavor for the bill?
"Honestly, it's usually the bands that hit me up," Chewy Hemphill told CL in a message. "It isn't easy, and pretty stressful setting up any show, but personally I want to help any band out that's coming through. It usually involves some mix of setting up a show, promoting the show, offering a place to crash, and/ or something to eat."
Hemphill, 33, is a long time promoter and scene champ. He says a lot of foreign bands contact him via Craig Mazer, who puts on his own pre-fest, Foreign Dissent in Orlando. Hemphill also books other friends' bands playing Fest if they need help, too.
So why a pre-party for a pre-party?
"I think [Pre-Fest in Ybor] has kind of found it's feet and sort of figured out what it is and what it provides," Hemphill explains. "I like the convenience of it being half an hour away as well as the opportunity to be able to catch a band I might not be able to see at Fest proper [in Gainesville]."
Pre-pre-Fest is a chance to distill that experience down even further, and we're all better for it.