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Two-day 239 Fest to feature punk, ska, reggae

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

A two-day festival featuring nearly two dozen bands will kick off today in the South Cape.

The fifth annual 239 Fest will showcase punk, ska and reggae music on two stages – one inside, one outside – at Rack’em Billiards starting at 8 p.m. It will pick up again on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free, but it is only open to ages 18 and up.

“We felt that a mini-festival like this was something that the area was lacking,” co-organizer Eric Demayo said of launching it. “For this area, it’s not something you get to see all the time.”

A couple hundred people attend daily, with 23 bands set to perform this year.

“We keep the set times at half an hour, so you get to see a lot of bands between both stages,” he said, noting that the two stage schedules are staggered. “So they’re not playing on top of each other.”

“You get this constant flow of music back and forth,” Demayo said.

Nine bands will perform tonight. They include Rootsalive, The Antidon’ts, The Injurees, Zero To The Left, Abortion Twins, Blood Wise and Despierta! Dispara!, as well as F and Black Falcon.

With its members split between Fort Myers and Miami, F is one headliner.

“For them, it’s like an ’80s-style punk band,” he said, adding that the band recently opened for The Misfits at the Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral. “They’ve been around since the ’80s.”

Fort Myers-based Blood Wise is a regular in the local punk scene.

“They’re a good favorite that’s always there,” Demayo said. “We love having those guys.”

Black Falcon, also coming out of Fort Myers, brings some edge to the night.

“They’re punk, kind of on the metal side, so things get a little bit heavier with them,” he said.

On Saturday, the remaining bands will take the stage.

On the list are Offset Era, Former Planets, Simple Jack, Unchecked Aggression, Jeb Taylor Band, Broseph Skalin, EVERYTHING I AM, Caffiends, Chieforia and Fly South, along with others.

Demayo explained that Sarasota-based Sketchie offers a melding of styles.

“To me, they have a cool mix of reggae, ska and punk within their music,” he said.

The Freecoasters hail from Fort Myers.

“Of all the bands, they probably have the most traditional ska sound,” Demayo said, describing the band’s sound as kind of groovy. “That’s another one that’s always a local favorite.”

One of the headliners on day two is the band UNRB, of St. Petersburg.

“These guys are really good,” he said, noting that the band recently finished its first national tour. “Musically, they’re a good mix of ska, reggae and even a little bit of jazz.”

Demayo’s own band, Bargain Bin Heroes, will also play.

“We’re a fun punk ska band,” he said, explaining that the members are Cape and Fort Myers residents and recently released their first self-titled EP. “We like to get the crowd going.”

The festival will also feature a guest appearance by the Fort Myers Derby Girls.

“It’s definitely a chance to see something different. It’s one of those try-it-you-might-like-it things,” Demayo said of the event. “Chances are if you come, you’re going to have a great time.”

Rack’em Billiards will offer drink specials during the festival.

“Bike Night is also going on Saturday, so we plan on it being one heck of a party,” he said.

For more information, visit the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/239punkskafest or the event page on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/events/1541489036073571.

Rack’em Billiards is at 1011 S.E. 47th Terrace.