FEST Feature Friday: Timeshares
Written by Kayla Albee
For this week’s FEST Feature Friday, we’re happy to introduce you to Timeshares! This self-described post college rock band are from New York, and this November will mark one full decade of performing at FEST in Gainesville, FL. This three day music festival hosts bands and attendees from all around the world, starting in the afternoon and continuing into the early morning hours from Friday - Sunday, November 1st - 3rd.
We talked with Mike Natoli (bass / vocals) about FEST’s evolution over the past ten years, daily FEST essentials, what artists are on his “must see” list, and more! Check out our interview and listen to Timeshares down below!
Q: This November will mark Timeshares’ 10th FEST! How have you seen the festival evolve over the years from when you started playing to now?
A: It's kinda surreal to think about this being our 10th. Playing FEST was a goal of ours since before we were even in a band together. When we got asked to play in 2010, it was such a big deal for us just to be part of this thing that had been growing for eight years already. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of changes in DIY music but FEST continues to be the best event of its kind in the world.
Some of the venues have come and gone over the years and the outdoor Bo Diddley Plaza really added a nice element which allowed more people to attend. Legacy acts have been mixed into the lineup while still maintaining focus on independent artists. Showcases for stand-up comedy and wrestling have been a popular addition in recent years too. It’s no coincidence that FEST has officially made it to adulthood in sold out fashion!
Q: If you were describing FEST to someone who’s never heard of it before, what are three words that you would use?
A: This is a really hard question! I think “punk family reunion” is a pretty accurate description. FEST is a community of people that live all over the world and come together once a year to share music and ideas and immerse themselves in what they love for three days.
Q: When it comes to music festivals in general, what do you think sets FEST apart?
A: I think the biggest difference is the foundation on which FEST was built. Thinking back to when we started Timeshares, there was a whole network of bands, promoters, show houses, DIY venues, artists, photographers, home recording engineers, and all-around creative types that were connected across the country. We’d tour throughout the year and then show up in Gainesville for FEST in October, and it seemed like every person we’d played with or stayed with or met was there.
It was like an industry convention for the DIY music community. People that hadn’t met would get introduced and contacts would be shared and the wheels would start turning for the upcoming year. That’s been the essence of FEST since before we joined in and the key to its longevity. I’ve never seen anything else like it on this scale and it’s something I feel is missing from larger music festivals.
Q: What are your daily essentials to have on hand during FEST?
A: The FEST phone app is really great for looking at the schedule and planning but it can drain a battery throughout the day. A couple years ago, I started bringing a small power pack to charge my phone so it isn’t dead by the end of the night. Other than that, I don’t like to carry a lot of stuff around. I usually park our van in a central location where I can get a hoodie when it’s cold or drop off something I bought. A good wake-up beverage in the evening usually helps me out too. I love bouncing around and seeing as much as I can.
Q: What artists are you looking forward to checking out this year?
A: One of my favorite records from 2018 that I somehow didn’t hear until this year is Salvation by The Penkse File. Their set at Pouzza Fest was one of the highlights of that weekend for me and I’m very excited to watch them again. Another band I’ve been really into since FEST 16 is Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. They’re from Alabama and they have a message that everyone needs to hear. So far, my favorite release of 2019 is Chris by Big Nothing. They’ve been on the road a lot since it came out and I can’t wait to see their set at FEST.