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Space Coast Music Festival One Year Later
Steve Keller took another look at the SCMF a year later.

Eau Gallie Arts district has been the home of many memorable events.  At any given time over the past few years, the streets have been closed, filled with local vendors and people scouring the area having a great time. Flashback to a year ago when for 12 hours Brevard celebrated original music…
“What started as an idea to showcase our local original music community, quickly grew into one of the most positive live experiences I have ever had the privilege of being a part of in this county,” stated Steven Spencer, organizer of the 2019S pace Coast Music Festival and founder of Harbor City Local; a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the Brevard music scene. “Not only were we able to showcase our local talent; but we were able to promote music education as a necessity in our community, and local business partnership.”  
    The free event, held Saturday November 2nd 2019, capped off the many months of preparation as well as cooperation of hundreds of volunteers, bands, vendors and fans that participated. HCL along with the Fleagad Market reintroduced an event dating back many years earlier created by EARTH Awareness. The cause remained the same: raise money to purchase musical instruments for local schools in need.
    “I loved that we started our planning with zero funds,” said Keenun Barley, SCMF organizer and cofounder of The Fleagad Market. “When people see other people put on huge events like SCMF (estimated attendance of 4500 people), it serves as a reminder that you don’t have to have a ton of funding to create something big and exciting. It just takes a little extra elbow grease and a whole lot of community outreach. The SCMF was a perfect example of that. I could talk about it all day...I do talk about it all the time (laughs) because I loved it so much.”
    One of the first public outings and a test of what was to come, was a photo shoot for the October issue of Brevard Live Magazine. “How you guys got all of us musicians to show up that early in the what a turnout,” remembers Darin Foxx. Foxx’s popular Who Was I was one of the 68 bands that played at SCMF. The photo shoot, held on a Sunday morning in mid-September, had close to 80 band members attend. The finished product went to print and set off the excitement of what the day would bring.
Finally, the weekend arrived.  Friday night saw a pre-festival party held in downtown Melbourne.  The debut of Bang A Drum; an offshoot of the cause where people could purchase autographed drum heads from bands like The Supersuckers and Switchfoot as well as other memorabilia from The Cult and Foghat. Plans are still underway currently on offering these and new items for purchase on the website. Brevard based October’s Flame kicked the event off and included Orlando based The Longest Hall and Backstabber Punk. Although a late night, everyone was ready for the main event the following morning.
    “A year later people still talk about the energy of that day and how great it was,” recalled Barley. Singer/songwriter Kristen Warren pulled double duty; performing mid-morning at a rally hoping to bring a Trader Joe’s to Brevard, as well as an after party at Standard Collective. “It was just cool to finally see a showcase for the talent we have here,” she said.
    Seven stages of entertainment spread out all over the Arts District. One of the details that may have been overshadowed is that all of the artists performing from 12-9pm were local to Brevard performing original compositions. The music ranged from straight up heavy metal and punk, to acoustic, reggae and techno. “I won’t ever forget how the streets were buzzing with high vibes and great music,” recalled Tracey Coryell, a veteran of the music business and a performer there herself. “I’ve been around the world as both a performer and as a tour manager, and I can say that this was a very well-organized event.” Zeddemore’s John Robert Bridges had a similar experience, “being able to walk around our downtown arts district and see so many bands at so many stages.  We were able to play the main stage, which was an honor.”

The day did have at least a couple of hiccups. Andrew Walker of Higher The Mountain was instrumental (pun intended) in so many aspects of the festival. “Perhaps the greatest highlight for me was the fact that we were almost 2 hours behind at the Intra-stage. My band playing last at that stage, I was worried all day about us not being able to play due to sound ordinances. John from Intracoastal Brewing put in a phone call to the Code Enforcement or maybe it was even the Police Chief, somebody important, and got special permission for us to go late as long as we kept the volume down. We are not really a quiet band, but we played at medium level with no problems, basically closed down the festival, so the very beginning of the day and end of the day were definitely my two shining moments.” While many of the stages were outdoors, some were indoors which meant capacity limits. “When we tried to start, Ryan noticed his family getting denied access to see him play,” remembers Sike! drummer Tanner Clark about his bandmate Ryan O’Reilly. “So, he said some “choice words” about the venue and the capacity rule and we started playing. We don’t exactly know if it was power or somebody doing audio that didn’t agree with his words, but his mic kept getting cut off. Luckily, we had just released “Are These Your Knives In My Back?” a couple of weeks prior and the fans that got in actually sung most of the song for us. When the breakdown of the song hit, an unplanned mosh pit broke out.” Local promoter and musician Carlos Santana witnessed the whole thing. “A true punk rock moment.”  

From a behind the scene perspective, things ran pretty smoothly. “I had a lot of fun drinking beer in the green room before playing, is that lame?”, asked Jeff Daughtridge, scene veteran and bass player for Iron Will. “The camaraderie of all the bands, everybody was in a great mood and excited to play. Volunteers also enjoyed themselves while making sure that everything kept running. “I loved how everyone came together so fluently,” recalled Theresa “TC” Carroll, a SCMF volunteer and musician herself. “Any time something was needed, there was a flood of people there to help solve it, giving a “relay race” example of people taking the trash bags out to avoid an overflow.
    Selflessness was definitely the name of the game. Tony Soland from Standard Collective and Wes from Against The Grain tattoo (both musicians of The Easy Uzis and SFG respectively), gave 110% professionally and personally.  Building of sets and designing and painting art that would adorn all over the festival was just a tip of the iceberg. “Carrying a heavy ass guitar cabinet two blocks on my shoulders to prove that 48 is just the number of years I’ve been here and not how I act,” Wes joked post performance. Another highlight of the festival was The Musical Petting Zoo; kids of all ages were encouraged to pick up and try out various musical instruments. “I remember the smiling faces of all the kids trying out instruments for the first time in their lives,” remembers Brock Wollard, owner of The Groove Shack who partnered with The Love Hut in sponsoring it. “My favorite part of the event was the kids zone, which also showcased local high school jazz bands,” recalled Steve Spencer.  
    While the bands played that day, people met for the first time and some reconnected. New musical projects emerged. “I just really loved how the community came together, said Brittany Renee Grant. “It was awe inspiring watching all my friends play and create this awesome experience and definitely was a huge catalyst for me joining Ektogasm. The energy and vibe of the whole festival definitely pushed me to want to be on stage, to be part of this awesome thing we’ve got going on here in Brevard.”  
    Non musicians were dually impressed. Photographer John Sluder was confident of the day’s success but was unprepared for the level it achieved. “I had a few early morning head shots before the first performance. It wasn’t till the last act that I realized I had filled 100+ GB of memory space, used 4-5 sets of batteries, and done 25K+ steps walking.” Brevard resident and local music superfan Wayne Sherwood also took full advantage of the daylong event. “I remember how freaking hot it was that day especially being the first week of November,” he said. “The heat was so rough; I actually came close to passing out. I was lugging my camera around, and shooting photos all day. The Who Was I and SFG back to back sets were a highlight for me.  Having my Space Coast Music Fest t-shirt custom made for me while I waited was cool. The ice water stations were a major bonus, and probably kept me from overheating. My highlight was seeing Pat Travers playing live from the front row. Pat is a favorite, and we have been following him since the early 80’s. Over the years, we have become acquainted with him and his wife Monica. Pat calls my wife Sharon ‘the purple lady’. He usually gives her his guitar pick at the end of his show. Things got way better when two of our friends (and Brevard’s own) Tommy Craig and Dave Pastorius joined his band a few years ago.”

Obviously, anticipation and planning for this year’s event started the morning of November 3rd 2019. “Unfortunately, COVID has cancelled our festival for this year. We are ready to resume preparations for SCMF 2021, which will be held next year on November 6th,” Spencer had recently announced. “The year long wait to return will only increase the excitement of what will take place next. Spencer speaks wisely about what to do over the next twelve months. “In the meantime, please continue to promote our local musicians through their social media donation opportunities; as well as promote music and all education to our youth.  Check out local music stores as they are leaders in our community for lessons and instruments. As an educator, there is no better feeling than to see parents and communities foster education as primary to ensuring our youth’s success. What started as a motto for HCL and our music community, now seems bigger in light of this year’s struggle: We build this together!”

Brevard Live Magazine
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Melbourne, Florida 32902

Phone: (321) 956-9207