Phil Pucci came to Charlotte when he was 10 years old, but it was moving to Portland, Ore., in 2008 that really made him fall in love with his home city.
So when he came back to Charlotte in 2010, he decided he was going to do everything he could to embrace the music scene here.
“That’s when I really started to dig my heels in and … try to make the music scene better and, you know, contribute back,” said Pucci, who’s played in several bands over the past 10+ years. “Because I realized, you know, we’ve got a really good thing going on.”
One way he’s making the music scene better is with Reverb Fest, the Charlotte music festival he started four years ago. The fifth edition of the festival (it happened twice one year) returns April 29, and will feature 15 bands in four venues.
Pucci said the festival, which is presented by Pabst Blue Ribbon, was inspired by two previous Charlotte music festivals — Recess Fest and Treasure Fest — that have since folded.
“I was trying to pick up the torch, so to speak,” Pucci said.
The first year, Reverb Fest featured all local bands at Neighborhood Theatre. Over the next couple of years he started adding more regional acts, like Diarrhea Planet out of Tennessee and Elvis Depressedly out of Asheville.
This is the first year that the festival has been held in multiple venues. Pucci said he hopes to keep growing the festival — maybe to two days? — but he doesn’t want to grow too fast.
“I would definitely love to grow Reverb Fest into something, but I’m trying to grow it as slowly as possible so I don’t get way in over my head,” he said.
Pucci said he’s not looking for one specific type of music when he books bands, just “anything that sounds fresh to me.”
“I think that this fest provides a very nice and succinct snapshot of what’s good in the Southeast music scene right now,” Pucci said.
Here’s a look at the 2017 lineup:
– The day starts at Lunchbox Records, which will host an all-ages “Cookout & Milkshake Social” starting at 5 p.m. featuring Charlotte’s LeAnna Eden & The Garden Of, plus Tape Waves and Infinity Crush.
– Headliner of Montreal will be at the Neighborhood Theatre at 9:30 p.m. (this show is also all-ages), with Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Christina Schneider’s Jepeto Solutions and JMSN opening.
And to end the night you get to choose your adventure with two 18+ shows:
– The Station will have a more punk-heavy show starting at 10 p.m. with Charlotte’s Alright and Paint Fumes, plus MyBrother MySister and The Coathangers.
– Or head over to Snug Harbor starting at 10:30 p.m. “if you’re trying to groove,” Pucci said. Charlotte’s Blame the Youth and Hectorina will kick off that show with Boulevards closing out the night.
(You can see the full schedule on Facebook.)
The all-ages aspect of the show is important to Pucci, who talked about the lack of all-ages clubs in Charlotte. To illustrate his point, he talks about an experience he had at the second Reverb Fest with his former band, Serfs:
“It was the most rock star I’ve ever felt,” he said. “The front rows or whatever was filled with these young kids and they were losing their minds. And it was so cool.”
Want to go?
Tickets for Reverb Fest 5 can be purchased here. General admission is $20 in advance, and $25 day of show. There’s a $3 surcharge if you’re under 21.
Learn more about Reverb Fest on its Facebook page.
Photos: Brian Twitty; Nicholas Holman; Ben Rouse; Jeff Forney