Three-day post-punk and darkwave Absolution Fest kicks off in Tampa on Thursday

The KVB, Minuit Machine and Creux Lies among the headliners.

click to enlarge The KVB, which plays day two of Absolution Fest in Tampa, Florida on Oct. 7, 2022. - Photo by George Katsanakis via thekvbmusic/Facebook
Photo by George Katsanakis via thekvbmusic/Facebook
The KVB, which plays day two of Absolution Fest in Tampa, Florida on Oct. 7, 2022.
In 2002, concert promoter-DJ Mark Paradise began attending large, alternative, goth-centered music festivals in Germany. In 2018, he said he thought, “Why can’t I do one of these over here?”

That spark led to Tampa’s first two-day Absolution Fest a year later. This weekend—from Oct. 6-8—the third edition of Absolution Fest will synthesize at Ybor City’s Crowbar. Co-founded with Pete Olen, the small-scale, goth-centered music festival has grown to a three-day event with more international acts taking the stage.

Doors each day for Tampa's Absolution Fest—happening Oct. 6-8 at Crowbar in Ybor City—are at 6 p.m.; first bands at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $40, with multi-day passes available, too.
Paradise, who lives in Wesley Chapel, has been organizing and promoting bands and shows for more than 22 years, including the 2015 Industrial Underground Festival at the Ybor City Orpheum. He told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that in 2021, no acts from outside of the United States participated; this year, there are seven.

In 2019, only six bands performed. For 2022, with an expanded budget, there are 18 bands, six each day over three days. Absolution Fest wasn’t held in 2020 due to the covid pandemic.

Paradise said Absolution Fest offers some of the best darkwave, synthpop, industrial and post-punk acts together in one event. In 2021, about 350 people attended.

“It’s the only multi-day, smaller-scale festival featuring indie-alternative-darkwave-postpunk bands in the Southeast,” said Paradise, who co-hosts the Communion After Dark alternative-electronic podcast. “All the other festivals are much bigger so this will be more of an intimate experience with a lot of bands (concert goers) probably wouldn’t be able to get to see otherwise.” Scheduled to perform at the 2022 Absolution Fest are:
  • Oct. 6 Minuit Machine, France, darkwave; Bestial Mouths, California, darkwave; Syzygyx, Virginia, darkwave; Hexheart, Washington, synthpop; Element 104, Florida, darkwave; XTR Human, Germany, electro-industrial.
  • Oct. 7 KVB: England, post-punk; The Foreign Resort, Belgium, alternative rock; Hapax, Italy, darkwave; Corlyx, England, darkwave; The French Police, Illinois, post-punk; Die Robot, Oregon, alternative rock.
  • Oct. 8 Creux Lies, California, post-punk; Vision Video, Georgia, goth-pop; Traitrs, Canada, post-punk; Glass Spells, California, synthpop; The Purge, Virginia, darkwave; Violent Vickie, California, darkwave.
In addition to the live music performances, veteran New York DJ Rexx Arkana will join Florida-based DJs Astari Nite, Winters and Vamp Daddy to keep the music pumping between sets.

Paradise adds that Absolution Fest continues to attract more folks from outside of Florida who want to get a glimpse of a variety of bands in alternative genres of music.

“I want (the audience) to feel that the time they spent there was special. They got something from all the music, met new people and made some new friendships and have new experiences, that’s the whole goal—to bring people together and maybe turn some people onto some bands and music that they haven’t heard.”
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