Starting out with a band I think is one of the most underrated in pop punk - Oregon's Broadway Calls. It feels like ages since the three piece put out any new material, the last album being 2013's Comfort/Distraction. Perhaps verging on the poppier side of pop punk, the band write some of the catchiest songs in the business and are a fantastic live act.
A band that probably should be considered headliners for the festival are Toronto's The Flatliners. It says a lot about how strong the Fest line up is that they aren't. The Flatliners have come a long way since their ska punk beginnings and over the years they have matured into one of the finest and most beloved melodic punk rock bands in the world. Whenever they release a new album it is considered a massive deal and are always killer live.
Not Half Bad are a band both Emma and I are really looking forward to seeing. The Texans play a fantastic brand of folk-infused punk rock. Not Half Bad are the perfect Fest band, with their beer fuelled songs and rowdy performances. The song Punk Rock Is A Full Time Job could be an anthem for Fest.
When Dead To Me announced they were getting back together the punk rock world was full of excitement. The San Francisco based band have been hugely popular for a long time now and will no doubt draw a massive crowd for their set. Personally I'm really looking forward to hearing songs from debut album Cuban Ballerina.
A band that we'd not heard of before the Fest announcement, and Emma in particular is really excited to see, is Broadcaster. The group from Long Island, New York, have been together since 2010 and play a brand of punk rock that has been compared to bands such as Jawbreaker, The Weakerthans and Superchunk.
Pkew Pkew Pkew are probably the band I'm most excited to see at Fest. Their self-titled album is currently my album of the year and is a piece of pop punk brilliance. Every single song on that album is superbly catchy, fills you with energy and makes you shout along with the band. I imagine this will be the same after seeing them live.
I've been waiting nearly a year to see MakeWar. I was supposed to see them on the first night of Book Yer Ane Fest in Dundee last year but was late due to a severely delayed mega bus. Last year their self-titled debut was one of my favourite records of 2015 and has remained in constant rotation this year. I'm also unbelievably excited for their upcoming Red Scare debut, Developing A Theory Of Integrity, which they will be playing in full at Pre-Fest.
Earlier this year Direct Hit released their new album, Wasted Mind, on Fat Wreck Chords. Being able to release a record on that label shows just how far Direct Hit have come in a short space of time. Taking the genre of pop pun, increasing the intensity a lot and adding stories of monsters, aliens and Satan, Direct Hit have carved their own unique niche in the genre. Having seen videos of previous Direct Hit sets at Fest they are a band not to be missed!
In my Fest preview where I featured bands that would probably be considered headliners I spoke about the relationships between Latterman, Iron Chic and RVIVR. Well there's yet another band that connects those groups - the mighty Tender Defender. After releasing a fantastic debut EP earlier this year, I'm incredibly stoked to see them at Fest. I missed seeing them in London in April of this year as I was on holiday. Now I get to see them on my holiday. Win!
The Smith Street Band are playing. If you're a long time reader of this blog you know how excited I am to see them.
Red City Radio are a classic Fest band. The sort of band you just assume are playing without even looking at the festival line up. Their brand of melodic sing-a-long pop punk is always crowd pleasing and are one of the best live bands around. Front man Garrett Dale in particular is one of the best front men around.
Adding to the incredible roster of Red Scare bands that are playing Fest is Elway. The Colorado quartet play some of the smartest orgcore punk going. Since seeing them in London all the way back in 2013, I am certainly long overdue seeing them and singing along again!
Chicago's The Copyrights could be considered the kings of modern day pop punk music. With their buzzsaw guitars, big hooks and catchy lyrics they are everything you could possibly want in a pop punk band. I've been following their career since hearing their debut album, We Didn't Come Here To Die, way back in 2005 and I've still never seen them live. Until Fest when according to the schedule I get to see them twice. I can't wait!
Since discovering Tens earlier this year they are another band I've listened to a lot. Another band from Chicago - so many amazing bands come from Chicago - Tens’ self-titled album is an instant classic in my eyes. Honest, heartfelt, sing-a-long punk rock. Not the most well known of bands but definitely a band you should be aware of.
Arms Aloft are yet another band from the Red Scare family. They recently released their brand new album titled What A Time To Be Barely Alive. The Wisconsin four piece are another band that play the melodic, sing-a-long punk sound - something that could be described as a Fest trademark - and definitely do it with their hearts on their sleeves.
Perth, Australia's The Decline are touring machines. They always seem to be on tour all over the world. Playing their second Fest in a row, the skate punk band are fast becoming one of the most popular bands in the genre. The Decline will also be touring the USA with the mighty Makewar during the lead up to The Fest.
Up For Nothing, a four piece band from Long Island, New York, are sadly hanging up their guitars this year so Fest will be my last chance to catch them live. Heavily inspired by 90s punk rock, the band have put their own spin on it to create a wonderful throwback sound.
Finally we have Western Settings from San Diego, California. Playing a slower brand of punk rock that manages to pack just as much of a punch as their more up-tempo contemporaries. The crowd will sing loud and proud to the epic songs from their 2015 album, Yes It Is, as well as their brilliant new EP Old Pain.