I didn’t know what to expect coming into this year’s Phuzz Phest. I had never spent much time in Winston-Salem and I had little to no idea of what the local music scene was like, but I was excited for the opportunity to explore it over the course of a music festival. Overall, I would say the festival was fairly successful, but I had my gripes.
Phuzz Phest utilized three venues for the festival: Krankie’s Coffee, The Garage, and Ziggy’s. Krankie’s and The Garage each appeared to have capacities hovering around 200-300, while Ziggy’s was at an astounding 1,000-person capacity, an incredible difference. This could have been really useful for the festival to put their larger names at but, instead, the decision making in that area seemed flimsy. Putting a band as large as Mount Moriah at The Garage irked many people because they weren’t able to get inside the over-packed venue. This was occurring on the same night that I saw Woodsman perform at Ziggy’s to a total crowd of around 25 people. Headliners White Fence, No Age, and The Love Language, all played at Krankie’s Coffee. I was simply left questioning these decisions. It also did not help that Krankie’s Coffee is a solid 15-minute walk from both The Garage and Ziggy’s, making it very difficult to transfer from show to show without missing anything. It was also difficult, as an out-of-towner, to stay all the way through Sunday night in Winston-Salem when Diarrhea Planet, the final band, didn’t start playing until 11:40 PM.
Despite my gripes, Phuzz Phest was a really fun time! The Tills, Body Games, T0W3RS, Mount Moriah, and Loamlands all put on amazing sets and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see them in addition to some great Winston-Salem acts. The day parties at Reanimator were a blast. Krankie’s: thank you for the delicious coffee that kept me alive throughout it all.
Final thought: Winston-Salem, you’re pretty cool. Just don’t try so hard to be Portland.