When you’re running a record label, a festival’s a great way to get some exposure for the bands whose tunes you’re trying to turn people on to.
That formula is nothing new, especially these days when festival culture is an intrinsic part of the musical landscape. The key is to make it so awesome that fans will come back the following year to soak up more of the music that moves them.
Local label Warped Your Records managed to make that happen. It’s hosting Warped Your Fest: The Sequel on Friday and Saturday, August 11 and 12, at downtown’s all-ages DIY venue, The Trunk Space.
The festival shines a spotlight on a bunch of Phoenix’s indie bands, as well as some visitors from Flagstaff and Tucson, keeping it an all-Arizona affair. You can spend $8 per day to attend, and $14 gets you a two-day wristband.
A mix of bands is featured on the bill. The label has worked with some of them, and others are acts the organizers admire. Sets will happen on two stages, simultaneously, throughout the course of the festival, in Trunk Space’s main room and basement space. A couple of clothing vendor pals will set up shop both days.
Colin Bauer heads up Warped Your Records, and Aaron Ponzo serves as the label’s intern. The two are looking forward to bringing the event back again. Mostly because, as Ponzo says, “They are all our friends and we really like them.”
Stretching the friendly vibes past label business, the pair also make music together as The Expos, with Ponzo on guitar and vocals and Bauer handling drum and vocal duties.
The Expos played last year’s festival and appear on this year’s bill. It’s a chance for them to share the tinged-with-goodness power pop the group creates, and in between they get to yuk it up with their many musical cohorts. Warped Your Records has released some of The Expos’ music on lathe-cut records, as well as branded fidget spinners for the band.
Red Tank, Childhood Asthma, and Logan Green are on the bill. Diners, Closet Goth, The Harrison Hufman Band, and Amateur Hour are, too. (Those bands have released tapes through Warped.) Others in the lineup have been included on some of the label’s cassette compilations.
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Harrison Hufman, a solo artist who sings and plays all the instruments on his upcoming release, is thrilled that the cassette will drop at this “stacked” festival. “I am also really excited to play along some of the best bands that I know,” he says. He notes that Bauer handled the recording, which is titled S/t.
Brandon Serrano, the frontman of Closet Goth, is also ready for the event and to see peer bands. He also expresses his affinity for the label. “If you’re familiar with sliced bread, Warped Your Records is the best thing since its inception,” he says.
Ponzo and Bauer are currently on tour as The Expos, prepping for the festival. And it’s too soon to say whether there will be a third year of the festival. Though the label will continue, Ponzo will go on a hiatus. “Probably a year or two,” he says. With everything going on, he is a little burned out and wants to put a little space between himself and music so that he can again approach it from a rejuvenated perspective.
Warped Your Fest: The Sequel is Friday and Saturday, August 11 and 12, at The Trunk Space. Tickets are $14 for both days or $8 per day. Visit thetrunkspace.com.