Breadfest offers local, DIY-flavored alternative to that other summer festival
- Teams to watch at this weekend’s WFTDA Roller Derby Championships
- Nick Sanborn explores collaboration, playing well with others with Lend Me Your Voice
- Drinking our way through Milwaukee’s airport (and airport-themed) bars
- Cinco de MONDO LUCHA! Milwaukee’s alternative variety show celebrates five years of masked mayhem
- The A.V. Club’s guide to the 2013 Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival
For the next 11 days, Summerfest—the self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Music Festival”—will be in full swing. While the behemoth festival will rock the lakefront and inspire immeasurable levels of mom snap dancing for the 43rd year while playing host to Imagine Dragons, Pat Benatar, Less Than Jake, Pitbull, Alice Cooper, and Social Distortion, another event with the “fest” suffix will brazenly offer a smaller, more homespun alternative to the Big Gig.
This Saturday and Sunday (June 29-30), 21 bands will play a combined six shows at four Riverwest venues for the inaugural Breadfest. Named as a nod to Breadking, a creative collective featuring members of local acts such as Temple, Animals In Human Attire, and YLLA, the local-centric event gives bands perhaps not conducive to Summerfest’s widely-encompassing booking criteria a chance to partake in a festival. It also grants music lovers seeking to avoid Summerfest-sized expenses and hassles an opportunity to see live music on a weekend local venues traditionally keep quiet.
Myles Coyne, who is in two bands playing Breadfest, co-organized the event. Though he assures the festival is not intended to be “anti-Summerfest,” Coyne admits the timing of the event did factor into the decision of the dates.
“It feels like the city just always shuts down. Instead of closing down during Summerfest, why don’t we just keep going?” Coyne says. “The Summerfest [K-Nation] Cascio [Interstate Music] Stage is always great, but it’s not really a local festival, either. We would like to do this fest with bands that don’t normally get to play Summerfest. It’s kind of purposely done at the same time as Summerfest to sort of be like, ‘I’m not always going to close my door, because there’s more in the world than that.’”
Coyne says that in addition to the above-mentioned Breadking bands, the festival aims to showcase the punk scene. Stylistically, bands range from punk rock (Lord Brain and Scowler), rock and roll, (Absolutely and Like Like The The The Death), garage rock (Fahri) and locally lauded outliers like Old Earth and D’Amato. There’s even some overlap between Breadfest and Summerfest participants, as Calliope and Midwest Death Rattle are confirmed to perform at both events.
“I want to be a music festival in Milwaukee that’s more of a DIY-type of community as opposed to a huge festival community,” Coyne says. “It’s good to showcase another end of the music world.”
Jackpot Gallery and Cocoon Room will each serve as sites for all-ages shows both days of Breadfest. Stonefly Brewery will host Saturday’s 21+ nightcap, and a 21+ show at Quarter’s Rock ’N’ Roll Palace will close out the weekend’s festivities Sunday night.
Despite acknowledging Summerfest’s appeal in terms of big-name bookings—citing Modest Mouse and The Flaming Lips shows in recent years—Coyne and his collective prefer the locally focused, all-inclusive format to that of Summerfest’s monster headliners and proclivity for profit.
“It’s a good thing, but it’s not something that I’m going to be a part of,” Coyne says. “That’s not Milwaukee to me.”
Individual Breadfest shows are$5, all-day passes are $10, and weekend-long passes (every show) are $15. For more details, including a schedule of bands and venues, consult this event listing. A Breadfest 2013 sampler featuring 12 songs from festival participants can also be downloaded here for free or donation.