After a controversial 2018 event stemming from some boneheaded comments by Punk Rock Bowling’s headliner NOFX, the festival seems to be attempting to make up for the fiasco by curating one of the biggest punk lineups ever.
The Memorial Day weekend festival, taking place May 24 through May 27 in Downtown Last Vegas, announced on Nov. 21 an all-star lineup of sorts led by Rancid, Descendents and two-tone leaders The Specials.
While some of the 30-plus punk and ska bands on the list are PRB veterans — with Rancid last headlining the festival in 2015 and Descendents last leading the lineup in 2016, for example — many are newcomers to the festival but still pack a punch. Highlights include Swedish rock bands The Hives and Refused, as well as The Stranglers.
Of course, it would be tough to fit such a packed lineup on one stage. Luckily, for the first time in the festival’s history, PRB will feature two side-by-side stages. (Not to mention the festival’s intimate after-party-like club shows that span bars and venues in Downtown Vegas.)
The festival sparked controversy earlier this year when NOFX frontman Fat Mike made comments about the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, which took place six miles away from PRB in October 2017.
“At least they were country fans and not punk rock fans,” the singer said.
While some people defended the band and said their shtick is to be offensive, many others protested the band and the festival’s reputation was also arguably affected.
Shawn and Mark Stern, the creators of PRB, released a statement condemning NOFX’s words after video of the band’s antics popped up on TMZ and went viral.
The band — which was subsequently booted off other tours and shows, including their own Punk In Drublic festival — also released an apology, which many took found the words to be too little too late.
We can only hope the event goes more smoothly this year. With such a packed lineup that unifies some of the best in punk and ska, it’s tough to imagine otherwise.
Three-day festival passes for Punk Rock Bowling are on sale now at www.punkrockbowling.com. Prices range from $155 for three days of general admission to $400 for three-day VIP passes. Individual day tickets will be available Jan. 18 at 10a.m.
By day, Brittany covers hard-hitting city news in San Diego. By night, she’s prowling the Orange County music scene, and is usually a regular attendee of local ska and punk shows. Reporting and music have always been Brittany’s passions. She wrote for her middle school and high school newspapers and studied journalism at Cal State Long Beach, where she graduated in 2012. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her French Bulldog, watching probably too many Disney movies for someone her age and napping.