Local Wire

The Underground Foundation's "Festival" Gets Kids Into Art, and That's Good

"Festival" is a strong word for what transpired at Hayden Lawn on Arizona State University's Tempe campus Saturday. But that is certainly not to say that The Underground Foundation's fourth annual Clusterfest was not a rousing success for the ASU student club concert promoters.

There were multiple (two) stages, grass, and it was outdoors, which are all generally staples of any quality music festival. But other than that is was really devoid of the other markers which can usually identify a festival.

Clusterfest is more like a giant house show than a festival, complete with string lights ... one of the international symbols of "party over here." But it's still more or less exactly what TUF president Jonathan Novak said it was when I interviewed him before the show.

Novak conveyed that he thinks Clusterfest is a good way to bring the TUF house show experience straight to the greater student body at ASU. So that's exactly what the fest was in 2015. Novak and his club mates booked TUF favorites like Playboy Manbaby, Red Tank!, Emby Alexander, and Instructions, and then kicked it up a bit with some touring acts and a little art show hanging on the edge of the show.

One standout set had to be Injury Reserve. The Tempe-based hip-hop group played a high-energy set during the hottest part of the day, jumping into the crowd and inciting a mosh pit.

It was a lot of fun, but far more important, it was real. More than 100 ASU students came out to hear music on the lawn without the inclusion of a national headliner, the promise of free or discounted goods, or bathing suit-clad coeds shaking their stuff. They came out to hear the tunes and hang out with friends.

The Underground Foundation will likely never be Stateside Presents. That's just a fact. TUF isn't really that professional, the sound quality isn't that good, the acts aren't that big, and Clusterfest may never be anything more than a house show on steroids. But none of that has ever really been the point.

The Underground Foundation is building an on-campus scene of 17- to 20-something-year-old students who have a real appreciation for local music and art, who are also blending seamlessly into other parts of the Phoenix music landscape.

They have dedicated crew of officers committed enough to rock shirts around campus that read "TUF Is A Cult." They seem to have a large contingent of members and associates who are always there for every party, and they are making concerted efforts to extend their reach out of the "skuzzy garage punk" scene -- as president Novak called it -- and sharing the skuzz with the greater Phoenix music scene.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

9 Tips for Using A Fake ID To Get Into A Show 10 Classic Punk Records That Actually Kind of Suck The 10 Coolest, Scariest, Freakiest Songs About Heroin The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time


Like Up on the Sun on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest local music news and conversation.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses