BUMBLEFEST 2019

Published on September 3rd, 2019

Poster by Becca Fuhrman!

Life is long and the days are hot, and the nights are getting hotter here in South Florida’s ever more balmy off-season, which we manage best we can with diversions including, luckily for us, the summer weekend every year when Bumblefest arrives. The annual music and arts festival takes over downtown West Palm Beach with national headliners, the finest melody makers in the surrounding counties, and attendees flooding every available space in order to soak it all up.

More than 30 acts in all will perform on six stages for this eighth edition, and for the first time Bumblefest is expanding to two days, September 13 and 14. But it’s still a birthday party for PureHoney magazine, and it’s still something in South Florida that we can truly call our own. Winter Music Conference and Ultra are Miami’s red carpet rollouts for the world’s EDM masses. Art Basel belongs to the global art elite. But here in West Palm we get to keep our little corner of artistic weirdness on Clematis Street with its amalgam of punk, garage, psych, hip-hop and more.

The Blank Tapes

— Among the headliners for Bumblefest in 2019 is the Los Angeles collective The Blank Tapes, the working moniker of Matt Adams, a producer of ’60s-inspired music running the gamut of adjectives that describe the dreamy, tuneful, winsome and what-have-you rock and pop of that decade. Essentially, the Blank Tapes are a garage band with a Brian Wilson mastermind behind the controls. But Adams’ colleagues are much more than blank cassettes and passive relayers of his Wilsonian inspiration: Will Halsey of the band Sugar Candy Mountain; Veronica Bianqui, herself a garage pop savant; and Eric D. Johnson, an L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist and leader of folk-rock band the Fruit Bats. Together they make a sound that is a perfect mixture of sun-baked California garage pop and folksy rock.

The Fantastic Plastics

Fantastic Plastics, from Brooklyn, N.Y., are a band whose aesthetic is the atomic age ideal of the future — “the future of the future,” as the band calls it. Sci-fi, neo-new wave and television-small-t obsessed, Fantastic Plastics channel the likes of Devo, the B-52’s and Servotron into a synth-fueled, Voltron-like juggernaut that keeps the 808 beats thumping. Whimsically named cohorts Drummond Bass, Miranda Plastic and Tyson Plastic keep the party going like it’s 1982, but, like, a ’60s version of 1982. A band that’s just as much a visual treat as an aural one, as evidenced by their offbeat videos and outstanding merchandise, they’ll make resistance futile. So be sure to say hello and get your “future cadet” patch.

Big Bliss byKevin W Condon

— If you’re moody and forlorn and need your punk to be of the “post” variety, Big Bliss can fill all of your Interpol-meets-Joy-Division needs, with a style and aplomb that can only come from Brooklyn. Imagine trying to explain to Ian Curtis that his band would become the catalyst for a whole new sub-genre of punk music. Perhaps that piece of information would have helped him to cope a little better. At any rate, Big Bliss are masters at taking the sounds that defined ’80s post punk bands and applying those ideas to 2019 music craft. “Fortune,” off the group’s 2018 release, “At Middle Distance,” is a bass-driven tune with jangly guitars reminiscent of early REM and a hint of U2. It’s a pretty rocking song for a band that seems to have mastered the idea of lo-fi punk.

Winter by @mollyktadams

Samira Winter grew up in Brazil surrounded by music of all genres and wound up a hemisphere away in Boston, Massachusetts. What stuck were her father’s punk records and her mother’s love for Brazilian popular music. That combination informs the dreamy indie, shoegaze-y guitar pop that makes Samira’s band, Winter, such an awakening of the nostalgia and wonder of childhood. Formerly of the Boston underground, Winter have resettled in Los Angeles. They are currently working on their new record, “Ethereality.”

Worn-Tin

— The Los Angeles musician Warner Hiatt, who goes by Worn-Tin after a drunk buddy’s misspeak of his first name, rounds out the headlining quintet for Bumblefest 8. Like The Blank Tapes, Worn-Tin also hears the faraway call of ’60s-era West Coast pop. But the reference feels more indirect, with Hiatt bending those echoes to suit his strange, lonely breed of psych-pop. His 2018 single “Chartreuse” could be the last call song at some ghostly Lynchian tavern. The album that followed in early 2019, “Cycles,” was recorded by all accounts in a back yard shed, and even in its most ensemble form feels like the work of a troubadour — a solitary voice surrounded by sparse but affecting arrangements.

BUMBLEFEST 2019: (37 bands / 2 nights / 6 stages)
Friday, September 13 & Saturday, September 14, 18+
500 block of Clematis Street – Downtown West Palm Beach ~ Tim Moffatt

THE BLANK TAPES, WINTER, WORN-TIN, BIG BLISS, THE FANTASTIC PLASTICS, COOLZEY w. Timothy Eerie + Las Nubes + The Dewars + Palomino Blond + The Darling Fire + Lion Country Ferrari + Glass Body + Boston Marriage + Woolbright + Glaze + Spirit & the Cosmic Heart + The Spoon Dogs + Dust Fuss + Pleaser + Nervous Monks + Electric Supply Company + Ghostflower + Soul Particles + All the V Words + Obsidian + Ghost Party + Turtle Grenade + Toro Jones + American Sigh + Mega Fluff + The Treetops + Violet Silhouette + In Motion + Makoto + Grima + JR Apollon

SIX STAGES: Kismet Vintage * Respectable Street (inside/outside) * Voltaire * Hullabaloo * Subculture Coffee

Watch a video compilation of some the 2019 bands below:

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