For Rob Romesburg, lead singer of The Street Priests, it sounded like a bad, late April Fool's joke: Colorado Springs doesn't have a punk scene.
"The honest truth about how Colorado Punk Party started was due to a Facebook rant I posted last year," says Romesburg. "I had been hearing all kinds of people claim the Springs doesn't have a punk scene. The majority of folks I was hearing say this from were people that you rarely see at shows, if ever you do. One day, I just felt like ranting about this issue on a public forum, and listed every punk band I could think of, along with a statement about how we hadn't had [any sort of] punk festival since 2012 or 2013."
Immediately, local musicians began to respond to Romesburg's post, including heavy hitters of the local music scene. Andrea Stone of the Mostly Don'ts, Luke Blanton of The Sleights, and Bryan Ostrow, manager of Flux Capacitor, all weighed in, suggesting that Romesburg try to organize a festival to highlight the Colorado Springs punk scene.
"On top of that, a bunch of people I know who have been in the scene for years were saying, 'Dude, I didn't even realize how many punk bands we have in town,'" explains Romesburg. "I knew I had to do something, so I started asking every punk band in town if they would be interested in doing a festival. Within a week, I had about 15 local bands interested."
At this point, all Romesburg needed was a venue, and, amongst his many friends within the local scene, he found an easy solution. Stone offered Zodiac, and the Colorado Punk Party was born.
In addition to the celebration of Colorado Springs-, Pueblo- and Denver-based punk bands eager to participate in Romesburg's event, his contacts also attracted a few national acts. Through his friendship with Gutterunts frontman Justin Runt, San Antonio-based acts Sonic Ammunition and The Semi-Automatics were eager to join the lineup of Shiii Whaaa, Cheap Perfume, Terrible Tom & The Dingbatz, The A-Holes, The Sleights, The Youthful Nothings, and many more.
"I didn't want to release the exact order and times of when the bands are playing," says Romesburg, wanting local punk fans to catch largely unknown acts they might not otherwise see. "The scene has been exploding over the last year, and I've never seen such an amazing amount of local punk bands that absolutely slay live and sound great on record. The local punk scene is also very well-reputed with touring bands — people come to the Springs from some of the craziest, hardest scenes out there and love it because we don't put up with bullshit and hate. All our musicians accept everybody who's not a complete piece of shit, and I think our scene really thrives on inclusion and acceptance. Which, in my opinion, is the true social nature of punk rock."
The Punk Rock Party opens at the Zodiac at 5:30 p.m. on April 29, and 2 p.m. on April 30. Online ticket sales end at midnight on April 27, so act quickly.
In the meantime, tickets are also now available for the 16th annual Denver Underground Music Showcase, filling various venues on South Broadway from July 28 through July 31. The newly announced lineup includes soul standouts Lee Fields & The Expressions, garage-rock heavyweights Thee Oh Sees, MeadowGrass performers Strawberry Runners, Bristol Music Festival favorites Porlolo, and Rob Drabkin, who shot the stunning video for his song "Stay (The Morning Light Fades)" at Shove Chapel last summer.
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