I didn’t know if I could hang because I went alone, but quickly found more friends than I could talk to. I hung back for a sec, but then I heard this undeniably sick bass line I couldn’t ignore. My fate was sealed: I was a moth drawn to the sweaty, ecstatic flame of Not Enough Fest 2014.
After weaving through the mob of people in the backyard, on the porch and in the doorway, I found even more people inside. The audience was sandwiched between two stages. To the left, there was a merch table and a table with people selling comics (AG’s own Ben Passmore was there). The bass line was still drawing me in, deeper and deeper, into an epic party zone with posi vibes rippling through the Red House and rattling my brain.
Friends in the front of the stage reached out to me, pulled me in, and then my brain totally melted: the sick swarm of sound derived from only two people, Saiya Miller on bass and Janke on drums. Together, they are Swampass: heavy, metal-ish melodic bass lines that were not overly complicated but played with intention to rock as hard as possible and drums, balancing the sound out by playing with a more splashy, lighter vibe. I was totes hypnotized. That’s when I felt thankful Not Enough Fest existed. I never knew I could have such a great time as an unassuming audience member!I wanted to see who was responsible for mind-controlling me with their music. I pushed in, thrashing through the crowd, which was exhilarating because I didn’t know who was playing. It wasn’t like any other show I’ve been to, where I know the music and the band. It wasn’t about being a typical fan at a rock show—people were there purely for the promise of brand new bands.
Immediately after they played, MC Splendora Gabor took to the mic and directed everyone’s attention to the other stage, where Panty Waste was set to play. I have a short attention span; if there’s a lag between sets I’m liable to lose interest. I loved the fact that it was seamless as a Spanx bodysuit. I don’t know if they were influenced by Bikini Kill or Kathleen Hanna, but in my humble opinion Panty Waste sounded like the next evolution of that sound. Their energy was undeniable, powerful and infectious. It seemed like they were working out some real emotional buildup on stage. Lead singer Julie was a natural, singing with the kind of grit you can only earn from fucked- up breakups and accumulated anger, the cathartic experience stripping her down to skivvies. Is “new riot grrrl” a genre? It is now, folks.
Not Enough Fest is the final product of a months-long process of planning, meeting, coordinating, and organizing. It wasn’t just one person or organization: it was Rachel Speck, Saiya Miller, Osa Atoe and countless—infinite?—volunteers making skillshare books, fliers, and working events; it was Girls’ Rock Camp, the Red House, and more.
I talked with Osa after the show. She compared this year’s experience with last year’s, which was the first year for Not Enough Fest in New Orleans, saying, “This year, the new challenge was organizing equipment. Last year everyone just used their own (there were only five bands). I delegated everything, but most of the pressure for me came from the final event: finding the venue, organizing all the events and making it happen. Girls Rock Camp did all the skillshares, whereas last year Queerspiracy did all the skillshares. I had volunteers do all the social mixers. This year we just decided to do backlined drums and them most bands brought their own equipment and some borrowing happened. I think that’s how it’ll be from now on. It was easy to get people to make this happen. Last year it was kind of normal, one band played, broke down, next band set up, etc. It was definitely more streamlined this year—13 bands played in 4 hours, usually it’s like 3 bands in 3 hours. Everyone had short sets and it was the perfect setup. It didn’t take as long because of the two stages—while one band is playing, the next band was setting up on the other stage.”
Most bands from last year broke up. Goat, an experimental 2 piece, played a couple shows after Not Enough Fest, and another band, Spring Break Up (who changed their name to Troubled), played a couple shows then broke up. This year, Osa is putting more emphasis on bands continuing and staying together, keeping in touch with them and letting them know she’s open in case they need help booking their own shows. If a band from NEF books a show, she tries to spread the word to other bands, to inspire them to keep playing.
The great news for everyone is that this year’s NEF bands seem more juiced to stay together, grow together and rock together. A handful of bands—We Need To Talk, Eucharist aka Angel Grinder, Rim Job, Swampass, Beautiful Sons, just to name a few—already have shows lined up for the summer.
Planning for next year’s NEF will probably start this winter. The organizers are out there, they got ears in tree trunks all along these streets and bugged into punk houses and venues ( just kidding… maybe). Real talk though: If the community shows demand for it, it will happen for sure. Put the wish out there and it will come true.
For more info on Not Enough Fest, check out nomorefiction.tumblr.com/notenough.