Growing Up Is Dumb Fest - VLHS Pomona - June 28, 2013
The first installment of the Growing Up is Dumb Fest--a three-day event--began in Pomona with two days at the secretive all-ages venue VLHS. With Steep prices for festival tickets like $100 for FYF or close to $400 for Coachella, the first Growing Up is Dumb Fest was started as a way to see a bunch of your favorite bands and not have to save up all year.
Growing Up is Dumb is a completely DIY run event and all proceeds go to the bands. That means that the $25 a ticket person for the three-day event isn't touched by any promoters, venues, roadies, or anything like that. It's not exactly a good business plan for anyone involved, but it's definitely a cool idea.
Walking up to the venue on day one, we ran into a table where the organizer of the event, Aaron Kovacs, handed us an envelope with two zines, a Growing Up Is Dumb compilation cassette, stickers, and a purple bracelet we weren't allowed to take off for the next three days.
As soon as we walked into the overcrowded warehouse, pitted in an industrial area of Pomona, the body heat and excitement people had saved up for the next three days was palpable (and in the case of the heat, slightly unbearable). VLHS is a special brand of DIY. The small venue isn't an extremist political or anarchist vibe like most really good DIY spaces. This space is almost like an "anything goes" dance party that has live bands, a beer stained floor, and always a couple crusty punks.
The show on day one started with Yorba Linda acoustic act Roman Candles, who are putting out an LP next month with the help of Plan-it-X Records. The band played a few tracks from the new album and also did a cover of 7 Seconds' "Young Til I Die" which fit perfectly with the theme of the fest.
The Second band to play was LA punks La Bella. The best part of the set was when singer Cam was shouting "No human being is illegal" repeatedly at the end of their song "Todo Para Todos." La Bella is one of the most innovative Hardcore acts we've seen, playing jazz samples while they tune between songs and incorporating Latin beats and scales into their music. Looking around the room a lot of people really seemed to be enjoying their set. Although not everyone knew who they were, people were piling in the room to see who was playing.
Next was Oakland screamo outfit No Tongue. I've been hearing a lot about them because they have some releases they are putting out this year on the KYEO SPEAKS label. When they came on stage the singer was wearing a cape. The only thing they said was "No Tongue, Oakland." It was coated in so much reverb it sounded like it was being yelled from the back of a cave. With only one release under their belts, the band played a lot of new tracks. There set was full of energy but pretty short.