While this psychedelic music festival is all about the under-the-radar music scene, its presence is well-known.
“It’s underground in that none of the bands are national acts, but as far as local shows go, it’s one of the biggest of the year,” says Max Levy, drummer for the Boston punk rock band Zip-Tie Handcuffs. This weekend, Fuzzstival invites 30 bands to take over the Middle East Downstairs for a two-night psychedelic rock party to close out the summer.
Whether you’re deep into the local underground scene or a radio music junkie, Fuzzstival is an extreme live experience. Two stages are set up in the Middle East Downstairs space as bands perform one after another in rapid-fire fashion. “There’s nothing else like that around here,” Levy adds. “It’s the best way to experience what Boston has to offer [for] psych bands.”
But Fuzzstival is more than just a group of hipster headbangers and post-punk rockers. It also fosters a community of local musicians within the dog-eat-dog music industry.
The event is hosted by Illegally Blind, a concert series run by local indie booking agent Jason Trefts. Through both Illegally Blind and Fuzzstival, Trefts hopes to create a network of local musicians without the exploitive nature of the booking world. “[I was] tired of seeing the exploitation in the promoting and booking world,” he explains. “[Illegally Blind] tries to keep things transparent and empower local musicians.”
Part of empowering local musicians is creating the perfect lineup, which Trefts will spend months working on. For the Fuzzstival lineup, Trefts was looking for fresh bands that have never played at Fuzzstival and a regionally diverse — but still local — lineup. This year’s bands hail from Boston, Cambridge, New York City, Providence and New Hampshire. The key thing Trefts isn’t looking for in Fuzzstival? National headliners.
“I could easily put in popular bands,” he says. “[But] Fuzzstival is for everyone to celebrate and be a part of local music.”
Rather than bring in hot-shot headliners, Fuzzstival’s goal is to bring some deserved recognition to the growing Boston music scene. “People feel they need to move out to do things,” Trefts says. “We’re sending the message that Boston’s not a bad place, especially for DIY stuff. There’s a fun, creative population here.”
But what’s Levy’s main goal? “I just want everyone’s faces to be melted off.”
Two-day Fuzztival passes are $30 at mideastoffers.com.