Did the punk rawker in you notice something odd this year? Labor Day weekend came and went minus an Awesome Fest. Fear not, faithful festival attendee, the event is still on for its 11th year — it has just been moved to a chillier holiday weekend.
toyGuitar - "I'm In My Head" @Awesome Fest 10, San Diego 9/4/16
“When we started this, there wasn’t a whole lot going on,” Awesome Fest founder Marty Ploy explained. “Now there’s so much shit going on and it’s all within three months from the end of summer through Halloween. I got a calendar out and was, like, ‘When’s another three-day weekend that’s not in the middle of all of this?’ I just went through my calendar and I was, like, ‘Fuck, dude, Presidents Day!’”
According to Ploy, “Nobody’s busy at work in the middle of February.” That was a big motivator since many attendees work service-industry jobs and have a tough time getting off work around Labor Day. Besides bypassing one of the hottest weekends of the year, Ploy said the new dates would give Midwestern attendees “an excuse to get away from the cold.”
Ploy, who lives in Pomona, started Awesome Fest in Riverside. It was sort of a festival that happened by accident.
- Friday, February 16, 2018, 7 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
“We had some band come through and everybody wanted to play with this band,” he said. “It just turned into eight bands. I was, like, ‘Oh, I like this picture of my buddy Matty Awesome. I’ll use it for a flyer.’ So I used that and threw ‘awesome’ in quotations [followed by] ‘fest.’ Then it went off and everybody had a blast. Nine months later somebody was, like, ‘Hey, are you gonna do that Awesome Fest thing again?’ I was, like, ‘I dunno.’ I never thought about it. It was sort of a joke.”
So much of a joke, in fact, that Ploy is eager to ditch the moniker. And if you thought the original name was awful, you’re going to love what he came up with as a replacement.
“I’m still fighting for ‘Happy Birthday,’ he said. “I think it’s such a funny idea. Nobody needs to tell you it’s a fest. It was a joke when we named it. That’s the worst. When you name something that lasts this long and it was a joke to start with. The joke is over. Take it from the guy that named it. I don’t like the name!” [Laughs]