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239 Fest: Two-day music festival set for this weekend

By Staff | Oct 12, 2017

Nearly two dozen bands will perform this weekend in the South Cape for a two-day festival.

The seventh annual 239 Fest will showcase a mix of punk, ska and reggae acts on two different stages at Rack’em Spirits & Times today starting at 8 p.m. The event will pick up again Saturday at 5 p.m.

“I’d say this year has the most new bands yet,” Eric Demayo, co-organizer for the event, said. “We’ve tried to dig around and throw some new blood in there.”

All 22 acts are from throughout Florida.

“They come from all over the state, from as far away as Orlando, Miami and West Palm, Tampa,” he said. “We try to use 239 Fest to showcase the talent around the state.”

Open to ages 21 and up, the festival is free; however, donations will be accepted.

“That helps go toward the bands,” Demayo said.

Last year, an estimated 500 people turned out for the event.

“Last year was definitely one of the biggest ones we’ve had,” he said. “We had a great crowd.”

Some of the headliner bands this time include: The No Name Ska Band, from West Palm Beach; Guerrilla Panic, which is based out of Tampa Bay; and longstanding F, hailing from Miami.

Demayo noted that The No Name Ska Band has never played the festival.

“We were lucky to grab them,” he said, adding that the band is made up of veteran musicians in the punk and ska scene. “They’re doing a lot of big things already on the east coast.”

The event is also a first for Guerrilla Panic.

“They’re a really strong up and comer in the Tampa Bay reggae scene,” Demayo said. “They were just a perfect fit for 239 Fest.”

With the recent release of a new EP, F is a “straight up punk rock ‘n’ roll” band.

“They’re actually been around since the mid ’80s,” he said. “They’ve been a band for 30 years.”

“Lots of energy and a great show,” Demayo added.

Eight bands are scheduled to perform tonight. The lineup will include The Bird-Men, Sophomore Slumps, Long Lost Enemies, The JPP, Blood Wise, Abortion Twins, F and Outside Threat.

Demayo described Sophomore Slumps as a young punk group from Fort Myers.

“They’re an up-and-coming new band. They’re quickly gaining notoriety in the area,” he said.

Another Fort Myers-based band, Blood Wise, is a crowd favorite.

“They’re one of the bands that’s played every single 239 Fest,” Demayo said.

He added that the band’s sets are very memorable.

“Straight up rock ‘n’ roll, with a hint of metal,” Demayo said.

On Saturday, the remaining bands will play. They include Offset Era, Everything I Am, Opposite States, FleaMarket Politics, Chieforia, S.S.K. Band, Unchecked Aggression, The No Name Ska Band, Sketchie, Bargain Bin Heroes, Abandon The Midwest, Guerrilla Panic and Shenanigan’s Wake.

Unchecked Aggression will travel from Tampa Bay to play the festival for its second time.

“We always try to rotate the bands a little bit,” he said.

Demayo noted that the group has a great horn section with “an intricate horn line.”

“Really high-energy punk ska,” he said. “But more on the ska side.”

A member Bargain Bin Heroes, Demayo and his bandmates will hit the stage for their third year.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “For the area, we’re been making some pretty big waves.”

Demayo hinted that the group has some new things in store.

“We’re also finishing up our new EP to put it out next year,” he said.

For the first time last year, event organizers brought in a handful of deejays to perform. DJ Kelly, hailing from Fort Lauderdale, will kick off Saturday’s lineup at 5 p.m. to continue the tradition.

“She’ll be spinning a lot of old school ska, reggae and, of course, punk,” Demayo said.

“She’ll also go periodically throughout the night in between band sets,” he added.

The Fort Myers Derby Girls will make a guest appearance on Saturday.

“They’ll be passing out their swag,” Demayo said.

He encouraged the community to come out.

“We have a bunch of great bands from all over the state,” Demayo said. “Anyone who’s ever gone to one, they always have a great time. They love it, they love the music, they love the atmosphere.”

For more information on the 239 Fest, visit online at www.facebook.com/239punkskafest/ or the festival’s event page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/803296499839322.

Rack’em Spirits & Times is at 1011 S.E. 47th Terrace.