My last band before Filmspeed played what has to be the weirdest show I’ve ever played, in like 2013. We were booked to play what we THOUGHT was gonna be this all-day, outdoor festival in San Bernardino, California. At least that’s how it had been pitched to us. We were booked by this guy who talked a really big game, cited all these (probably phony) credits. We’d played a couple mediocre shows for him before, and weren’t expecting too much from this “festival”, but figured, “Hey, it’s probably the biggest thing he’s gotten for us yet so why not?”
The flyer for the event boasted multiple stages, food trucks, live art, and a Red Bull sponsorship. Great looking flyer. Band names listed, looked pro, blah blah blah. We still didn’t have too high of hopes for anything massive
So we trek out all the way to San Bernardino to the address listed from LA in like the early afternoon and get there around like 6 or 7 since I think we were scheduled to play around like 10 or something. Anyway, the place ends up being literally an abandoned building in the middle of fuck-all San Bernardino County. The setting looks like something out of Breaking Bad surrounding this empty building, which also looked like some drug factory in Breaking Bad. No food trucks in sight, just a bunch of strung out rave types either offering folks ecstasy or looking for it. The “stages” are just the front patio area, the back patio area, and inside the abandoned building. Only ONE of those stages, the front patio one, had live bands. The other two were just blaring objectively terrible EDM music. Hilariously, they’d hired security for this “event,” and they clearly couldn’t have given any less of a shit about anything. Attendance-wise, I’d say we’re looking at maybe 75-90 people tops. Essentially we’re at a homegrown rave.
Anyway, at this point, we’re laughing our butts off at ourselves for even having the remotest expectations of this “festival” being a real thing. We unload, meet the promoter guy, who’s clearly coked out and running all over the place and is no help. All the bands are terrible, the thing’s running late, there’s no food, no drinks, and literally nothing but desert surrounding us for miles. And that “Red Bull sponsorship?” I saw exactly one case of Red Bull (half empty by the time we got there) sitting by the entry to the building. So we’re not exactly happy, but we’re keeping it light and joking about the whole thing amongst ourselves.
Eventually, we play the show to nobody because it’s late by that point and everyone had realized what a sham this thing had been and left. We left it all out on the field that night, let me tell you. In our minds we were OWED fucks to give, so we just played with nothing to lose. I think our guitarist stood on his guitar at one point.
In short, I once played a show where I’m pretty sure my entire band had a niggling fear of being stabbed the entire night. Picture Fyre Fest Lite. This was that. And we played it.
Oliver Dobrian, drummer in Filmspeed
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