Words and photos by Joe Calixto

For those who aren’t familiar with the festival, this may seem like a very subtle name, but it is nowhere near subtle. SOS booking, founded by Nate Rebolledo of hardcore outfit Xibalba, has brought together hardcore and punk’s heaviest hitters for two days of circle pits, crowd surfing, stage dives, headwalks, moshing and collecting toys and raising funds all for a good cause for the past few years. FOR THE CHILDREN.

This year the festival brought bands from Canada, Mexico and all corners of the USA, as well as people from all parts of the globe. Day 1 featured 100 Demons who have come out of retirement to play this great benefit. Southern California’s Twitching Tounges and Downpresser brought the heavy while New York hardcore bands Backtrack and Regulate also graced day 1 with some of the craziest sets of the day. Although a fight broke out towards the end of the day, I would still say that it was a great start for the toy drive.

Day 2 had bands like Comeback Kid, The Warriors and Donnybrook headlining the main stage, but Bay Area’s Culture Abuse (who played the smaller stage) and Orange County’s Furyboth who’ve put out great records this year (both are in my top 10..ayyeee!), were clearly the crowd favorites for the day.

As for the toy drive, let’s just put it this way. THERE WAS A UHAUL TRUCK FULL OF TOYS LAST SUNDAY. HELLA FULL!

So, on a more personal note, I hear and read a lot that the hardcore and punk community still has racism, misogyny, sexism, homophobia and whatever bullshit negative thing around, but that’s just like any other community or scene. There’s no such thing as a perfect world. All we can do is be united to make our community better, and that’s what I saw that weekend. That is what I think FTC is about – getting a helping hand out there in our own little way. There was no room for rock stars, no room for bullshit, there was no “boys club” attitude, and even though things did get a little out of hand at one point, people made sure it didn’t get to a certain level of fucked and kept the spirit of giving alive.

Mad props to everyone who made this event possible. Every single person who worked it, every single band who played for free no matter how far they came from, and every single person who bought weekend passes, paid $10 at the door and brought a toy. Aside from playing the heaviest, fastest music ever and pulling off the craziest spin kicks and stage flips, this is what hardcore is about. Friendship, unity and giving back. There’s nothing more tough than that.

Also I lost my shit to Regulate, Judiciary, Lifeless and World View. Holy Shit!

Anyways, can’t wait for what FTC 2017 will bring, aside from smiles on children’s faces.


“Hardcore! we will show our pride with good friends, good music & good times”

Write A Comment