Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing on the East Coast: it’s MACRoCk time! The Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference is celebrating its sweet 16 this year on the weekend of April 5th. What is MACRoCk, you ask? It’s a music festival held in Harrisonburg, Virginia that includes bands from all over the country. Folks from across the east coast travel to the small college town to celebrate music and the first official weekend of warm weather, porch hangs, roof hangs, and my personal favorite: jorts wearing. Past bands that have played MACRoCk include Aloha, An Albatross, Algernon Cadwallader, Anathallo, Animal Collective, The Appleseed Cast, Avail, Souls, Bracewar, Converge, Dashboard Confessional, Dillinger Escape Plan, Elliott Smith, The Faint, Fugazi, Fucked Up, Government Warning, Hot Water Music, Magnolia Electric Co. (rip Jason), Maps and Atlases, Mastodon, Menzingers, Mewithoutyou, Municipal Waste, Owen, Q and not U, Saves the Day, Slingshot Dakota, Sufjan Stevens, US Christmas, and so many more.
The festival operates similarly to New York’s own CMJ with various showcases at local bars and venues (ALL the delicious food and booze specials!). The MACRoCk committee does an excellent job of booking kick-ass regional acts to open for the larger headliners, and this successfully paves the way for bands to get more exposure while drawing in the crowds with the headliners. I’ve personally had the pleasure of venue-heading the heavy showcases for a few years, which I have to say is a pretty awesome feeling–I get to tell a bunch of big, bearded dudes what to do all day. Saturday’s festivities also include a label expo and discussion panels including record labels, zines, and PR groups (label expo) and discussions about local music as well as college radio (panels).
Not only does the festival itself rule, but the after-shows at local houses are a blast. Examples of past awesomeness; a Wow! Owls impromptu reunion and living room shows by Algernon Cadwallader and Equestrians. Of course my all time favorites are the after party shows at the wild and wonderful Crayola House, where I also had the pleasure of residing earlier in life. If you’re into a hot, sweaty basement full of gnarly metal dudes and dudettes, Crayola is the place to party.
This year, MACRoCk boasts some NYC area bands that we will also have the honor of catching up with, so, if you enjoy sweet tunes, making new friends, hot and smelly basements, and obviously jorts wearing, I highly recommend the trip.
Some NYC area bands playing this year include: