It was 107 degrees outside in San Bernardino, but that didn’t stop hundreds of punk rock fans from showing up dressed head to toe in black attire. Having missed out on the first run of the It’s Not Dead Festival in 2015, I was really thrilled to be seeing a bunch of my favorite bands at this year’s festival.
Keeping to his traditional style with Warped Tour, founder Kevin Lyman didn’t announce set times until after the doors had opened. The lineup contained so many punk rock legends from over the last few decades and spread across four different stages; it was almost impossible to see everyone playing.
Fans were already lined up to watch the first bands perform and were not disappointed with Spider, Channel 3, and Wraths (featuring Jim Lindberg of Pennywise) opening the show on the first 3 stages. Their energy was just what the fans needed to get in the mood for a long day, filled with amazing music and memories.
The intense heatwave didn’t stop festival goers from rocking out and dancing along to the Interrupters, who were the second band to perform on the main stage (and the only band on the lineup from the first festival). The rotating main stage was such a genius idea, and wasted no time dealing with set changes between performances. Once one band was finished, the next band was rotated in (some even started playing as the platform was still in rotation). The main stage included performances from Good Riddance, GBH, Buzzcocks, and OFF!
An hour into the festival, you could see fans making trips to the Vans merch tent to purchase $20 beach umbrellas to shield themselves from the desert heat. For the fans who didn’t want to carry around a giant umbrella, the festival also featured an art gallery set up inside a giant circus tent. The gallery featured lots of awesome art work and photos from past music gigs, some dating back almost 30 years.
Although it was difficult to catch all the amazing bands performing on the different stages, there was a great turnout at the side stages for acts such as Slaughter and the Dogs, The Flatliners, The Unseen, and The Casualties (with David Rodriguez of the Krum Bums). Jimmy G, of Murphys Law, even managed to get one of their younger fans from the crowd into his arms and singing along with him.
As the sun had begun to set, fans moved to the main stage to catch the final performances of the evening. The Adicts gave a vibrant performance, full of streamers and joker cards being tossed into the crowd. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes did not disappoint with their wide array of cover songs; “Hope you guys know, we are a cover band.”
Finally, Drop Kick Murphys and Rancid closed out the show with a conclusion to their “From Boston to Berkley” summer tour. DKM went on at around 8:30pm; about 9 hours after the doors to the festival had initially opened. But judging by the crowds singing and pitting along, you would had never guessed they had been dealing with record breaking heat all day. Unfortunately, this little lady got knocked in the head with a jug of water from the crowd during DKM performance. Maybe they thought I looked thirsty? In any case, I had to miss out on Rancid’s performance and called it a night.
Walking away from the performance I realized that this festival really lived up to its name; punk is definitely not dead.