Invisible Oranges Presents: ZBR Fest 2023 (lineup + Interview)
Invisible Oranges is proud to announce that we will be presenting this year's installment of ZBR Fest, to be held May 6th and 7th at SubTerranean (and also on the 5th for a special prefest show at Empty Bliss) in Chicago. Featuring bands like Jeromes Dream, Sawtooth Grin's first show in 15 years, Meth., and countless other acts, ZBR Fest is a celebration of all things screamo and post-hardcore. Read our interview with Zegema Beach Records founder and ZBR Fest curator Dave Norman and find out how to get your own tickets below.
The Sawtooth Grin
Euclid C Finder!
Rotting in Dirt
Crowning/Eyelet Battle Set
Apostles of Eris
You've put on festivals in the US and Canada, and while I do know your other half Dave Cullen is in Chicago, what was it about Chicago that made ZBR fest return here?
It was a very different experience in the best possible way. Vancouver in particular was really hard and we didn't have many attendees so 2021 was planned as the first one but obviously it was canceled for covid in Chicago. Then after it went down in 2022 it was literally the greatest experience. So I think I'm over doing fests in Canada. Too hard. New Friends Fest in Toronto has it down pat so I'll leave it to them! I can provide specific examples but generally just amazingness in Chicago.
What went into putting such a huge fest lineup together?
It seemed just like the other years at first. So a few weeks after the 2022 fest I began hitting people up because I was so excited. It's mostly me and Cullen (ZBR USA and Crowning) asking bands we loved. Seb from Kickstand Productions (Meth and Virgin Mother) also helps us in Chicago as we go through Kickstand and is also friends with us. So like 90% of it is just sending emails/messages to bands I'm already friends with. It ends up being quite easy in that regard. Seb got Sawtooth and JD though and when he told me I kinda flipped out lol
Do you feel it's gotten easier to get these lineups together over time and iterations of the fest?
As of this year it officially became easy. Essentially we usually ask round 1 and then have a bunch of yes/nos and maybes. This year our round 1 pretty much everyone said yes. So when we put our first wave we had a few slots open to give to the 5-10 bands that usually ask after the poster is released. Then we released the poster and the fest just blew up, and we were inundated with over 50 requests, most of them from very legit bands. So for the first time I had to divvy out like 30 nos to bands that I really wanted to see. It was weirdly stressful to send out all the "sorry" messages cuz I usually didn't have to do that. But it was also very affirming.
You mentioned Seb Alvarez securing Sawtooth Grin and Jeromes Dream as pretty big moments for the lineup, but do you have any other standout favorites?
Oh for sure, there are always some unknown bands that I'm salivating over. This year I am beyond ecstatic for Encarsia who I did a split with through a project I play in called Apostles Of Eris. I'm also a huge Victor Shores and Venus Twins fan so the "less heavy" bands were definitely because of my influence lol. I've been waiting years to see Closet Witch too. Last year it was Heavenly Blue, but that band has definitely gained momentum since and I wouldn't call them pretty unknown now.
What can we expect from ZBR Fest 2023?
This is the first year we've had a venue with two floors so it's jam-packed with almost twice as many bands as before. This is the first year we'll start our annual pre-show battle set, this year with Crowning vs. Eyelet. A battle set is when two bands set up to play at the same time but instead alternate playing a song each. We'll have some very decent merch tables for the bands, ZBR, and some friends including Wax Vessel. We'll be filming it again and a fest recap/documentary will follow. SAWTOOTH GRIN! First show in like 15 years. If that doesn't get you pumped, nothing at this fest will. Oh, and my silly project will play for the first time at the pre-show.
ZBR Fest tickets are available here.