Phil Pucci isn’t afraid to admit he doesn’t know what he’s doing. That was how he felt in May 2014 when he organized his first music festival in Charlotte at Neighborhood Theatre: Reverb Fest. He roped in local bands such as Girl Pants, Sinners & Saints and Grown Up Avenger Stuff. The resulting eruption of music benefited Chronic Illness Relief Fund and won Creative Loafing’s Staff Pick for Best New Fest.
It continues. Pucci, 28, is bringing Reverb Fest back to Neighborhood Theatre on May 16 for round three (he held a “mini” version in January).
This time, Pucci is stepping it up with national bands, including headliner Beach Fossils, from Brooklyn. Other ensembles set to hit the stage are Elvis Depressedly and Yardwork. This event, complete with records and artwork for sale, and, of course, drinks, will support the Humane Farming Association. “I’m a vegetarian and it’s just something I’ve cared about for a long time,” Pucci said of the nonprofit.
♫ Just Announced: Charlotte, NC – May 16 at Neighborhood Theatre (Reverb Fest III) http://t.co/Ke9BUL3bQ5
— Beach Fossils (@beachfossils) March 31, 2015
The same goes for music: he’s loved it ever since he got his first guitar from his father at age 13. “It’s my only real hobby,” said the musician, who has played in bands on and off since high school. Now, he rocks out on the guitar with Aggrocragg (named for the mountain that TV show contestants climbed in the Nickelodeon hit “Guts”) and feels more connected to the music scene than ever. He wants the rest of Charlotte to experience that connection, too.
Lamont Brown, Aggrocragg’s bassist, said, “Festivals are cool because people seem to be more open to checking out bands they haven’t seen before, compared to a normal show where people can show up just to see their friends’ band and leave without taking anything else out of it.”
He added that exposure to other bands during festivals has helped him grow as a musician, “either by different genres bringing in different ideas to introduce to your own music, or even by taking notes on things most people may not think about like stage presence, set listing or merging songs together.”
Whether you take in the sounds of Reverb Fest as a musician or an audience member, you could be seeing the start of something big. “What I’m trying to do is slowly, very gradually, build it up to one of the coolest, largest indie music festivals in the southeast,” Pucci said. “I think we’ll get there eventually.”
Photos courtesy of Brian BT Twitty