Caffeine Fest rocks the scene

Caffeine Fest rocks the scene

By Catherine Palmeno

By Catherine Palmeno

Guest Reviewer

“Are you ready to rock, Rockford?” asks the lead singer of the group Breaking Pangaea. His response is the collective “yes” from the crowd. Yes, I think we are. The first annual Caffeine Fest was held over Friday, June 14 and Saturday the 15th, at the Divine Cup, a local coffeehouse that often supports bands from near and far. The two-day festival was filled with eclectic music, a skate park and, what else, coffee. “It’s hard, but it’s worth it,” says the owner, Nate Sjogren. “The Salvation Army and the city have both been very supportive of us, and the kids are great.” And the kids who attended said that the admission price of $17 was well worth it.

“Seventeen dollars is very cheap for 30 or so bands and Skate Park use,” said one local teen. Thirty-two bands attended, and their musical styles varied from hardcore to emo to ska, proving that there would be something for everyone.

Friday started with the bands, Mayfield (who soon will have an album released), Felix Culpra (formally known as Twostepsback) and Corner Club, who recently played with the nationally known Hey Mercedes at RVC. As the night progressed, heavier acts like The Banned played, and were then followed by Little League. Carly’s Day Out made an appearance later in the evening, and Jonathan Hartsaw followed; but one of the most anticipated acts was The Honor System, which included a former member of the Chicago punk group, Slapstick. The headliner of the night was ska band The Insyderz (which featured the owner, Nate, on drums). They had the place skanking up a storm, and the crowd left, excited for what was to come.

Part two of Caffeine Fest featured two stages: the sidestage and mainstage. On the sidestage, Racecar Melody started the day off to a good start at 2 o’clock and was followed by The Dynamo Theorum and the Milwaukee group, Code Orange. Next to play was the rapper, Juiceboxxxx, whose infectious rhymes were a highlight of the weekend. James Stephen, The Response and Sand hit the stage around five, and they were followed by Ifihadahifi, Textbook Traitors, and Never Forgive Never Forget, ending the sidestage’s shows at around 8:30.

Saturday’s Mainstage was kicked off by the all-instrumental band, Emmanuel the Florist, who was followed by the group The Nutrinos and The Saps. By 4 o’clock, local band The Braves hit the stage. Dress Rehearsal and The Audible Campaign were next to play, leading up to the harder-edged No Direction. Alethia (who can be seen with Emmanuel the Florist later in June at the Divine Cup) took the stage at 7 and were followed by The Arrivals and Dead by Sunday before the much-anticipated Breaking Pangaea (which will come back to the Rockford area around August as part of their tour) at 9:20. The headliner and final act of Caffeine Fest was the much-loved local ska band, Magnum Opus. They ended the two-day celebration at around midnight, on a high note, with everyone dancing and cheering.

The skate ramp was another high point of the Fest. Local teens were elated that they could both skate AND watch great live music at the same time. Having the park helped bring kids who might not normally have attended the festivity to the Divine Cup.

At the end of the two days, Caffeine Fest had been well attended and appreciated, and behaviors of area teens were their best, proving that most everyone was mature enough to handle themselves in a public setting. “The turnout has been great, and we might be having another one, probably in the winter… like a Winter Fest,” says Nate Sjogren. With the great turnout of (the first annual) Caffeine Fest, another in the same year would be much wanted and welcomed by the area.

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