Since learning about the upcoming Decade of Dumb Decisions: Square of Opposition 10 Year Anniversay Fest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and about the altogether amazing handful of bands on the bill, virtually a small portion of the who’s who of today’s independent and underground music scene, I have been more than a little excited. It was back in April that this event was brought to my attention, and now the wait is nearly over, with the shows taking place on Saturday, July30th and Sunday, July 31st.
If any of you reading this are music enthusiasts, of the punk and its seemingly countless subgenres especially, you should definitely make it a point of attending this event, even if you have to make the short trip from Philly, Jersey, New York, and the numerous small towns and communities surrounding the Lehigh Valley. On the 30th you can catch a great bunch of bands, like Laugh It Off, Storm the Bastille, Revisiting A Massacre, Virgins, and Slingshot Dakota. But with the bands on Sunday, the 31st, like Mischief Brew, imadethismistake, Pissed Jeans, Yo Man, Go!, Iron Chic, and Spraynard on the bill, it shouldn’t even require much inner debate to attend. Call off work; do what you’ve got to do to make it out to the show. It’s one of those rare things that’s most definitely worth it.
On Saturday, the venue is Secret Art Space in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. If you don’t know where it is already just e-mail Square of Opposition Records for directions. The venue on Sunday, the 31st, is the Fountain Hill American Legion, also in Bethlehem. Unlike most punk shows, indeed unlike the all ages venue the day before, it is both all ages and 21+ (don’t forget your ID). For the latter is BYOB, while for the former there is a strict no booze policy in effect. And on the second day, while the artists are rockin’ the house and whatnot, a bunch of independent local businesses will be flogging their wares: Save the Kales! will be dishing out vegan and vegetarian dishes, with heaping sides of positivity; Double Decker, the Valley’s best record store, will have music for sale; artist James Ravelle will have some cool visual arts-related items; and lastly, Homebase Skate Shop will be taking care of the attendees’ skate needs.
As far as music fests go, the price isn’t anything to worry about here, since it is $12.00 in advance or $15.00 at the door. Not a bad deal, all things considered. Saturday the doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the first band is scheduled to go on at 7:00 p.m. And on Sunday, doors open at 12:30 p.m., and the first band is scheduled to go on at 1:00 p.m. Oh, and the first fifty people through the door will get free t-shirts. Obviously the second day is the larger event, and one that I am certainly not willing to miss.
Basically, Chris Reject and Square of Opposition Records have been staples of the Lehigh Valley punk and hardcore scene for decade. Now, that’s no easy accomplishment for an independent label committed to punk ethics and DIY practices, especially in this islolated corner of Pennsylvania, where the punk and hardcore scene is certainly not what once was. But projects like Square of Opposition have kept the integrity of the scene and the spririt of the music have kept it going. It’s all about the scene and the music; it has to be; after all, running an independent label is not only financial suicide, it is also a lot of headaches. For Reject and friends it has been worth it, though. With a middle finger extended to the mainstream and no small amount of grit, the label and its endeavors have stood the test of time. So this year’s Square of Opposition Fest, suitably titled the Decade of Dumb Decisions Fest, is a way of saying, “Thanks for ten stupid years!”
If you’re not from the area and already planning on attending the Decade of Dumb Decisions: Square of Opposition 10 Year Anniversay Fest, get your asses to the Valley and stop by!