D.C.’s first Breakin’ Even Fest actually managed to. So here comes the second one, bigger than the last.

Organizers say the two-day springtime festival still has the same modest goals as the first time: breaking even after the bands have been paid. But it’s mostly a way for similarly melodic punk/pop bands to get together and play.

Held once more at Songbyrd in Adams Morgan, it’s an all-ages event this year instead of last year’s 18-plus. It’s also being held a little later in the season—May 5 and 6 instead of March—and features a baker’s dozen of bands from the DMV and beyond.

“We’re guys in our 30s that don’t get to tour as much as we’d like, so we made the decision last year that we want to bring something that we wanted to see closer to home,” says Bryan Flowers the drummer of American Television, the Virginia quartet that’s the only repeat act from last year—mostly because they also organize the thing.

After a few years of booking their own band, “we figured we know how to put on a night—let’s see if we put on two nights and make it bigger,” says Flowers’ bandmate Steve Rovery. “We were just inspired by other people doing it.”

They’ve shared the bill or seen the shows of all the bands on the bill which this year stretches the East Coast to cross the Canadian border. Friday night is headlined by The Sidekicks, a trio out of Ohio on Epitaph whose latest album is Runners in the Nerved World. They’re preceded by the Toronto band Pkew Pkew Pkew, fresh off a tour with Reel Big Fish.

D.C. rockers Dot Dash, which includes ex-members of Minor Threat and Swervedriver, are also on the bill. And the night begins with a couple of female led punk bands from the region, Dead End Lane from Baltimore and Flowerbomb. Doors open at 7PM.

Saturday starts earlier, with doors at 3PM and is headlined by the Philly quartet Restorations who have played the D.C. art collective Hole in the Sky in the past. Three Jersey bands are on the bill: The Worriers, which features Lauren Denitzio of The Measure with Mikey Erg on drums, Honah Lee, a fun-lovin’ quartet from Trenton, and Aspiga, an indie punk trio from Collingswood.

In addition to American Television, regional bands playing earlier Saturday include the Bethesda pop punk quartet Boardroom Heroes, Richmond punk trio Teen Death, and the rockin’ female trio from Maryland, More AM Than FM.

Tickets are $15 a day; $30 for both; $18 each day at the door. “We try to keep the costs down and affordable for people who want to see a lot of music in two days,” says Rovery.

With a capacity of just 200 or so, the inaugural event, says Flowers, “was not a complete sellout last year, but we had a really good crowd, and we were able to pay all the bands including the local bands, and the guarantees we made for the touring bands. With the name Breakin’ Even that was our goal—to meet our obligations and not walk away with a lot of extra money. That would mean we charged too much.”

Local sponsors with ties to the music community helps. They include Furnace Record Pressing in Fairfax and Baltimore pedal effects company Noisekick FX. As far as planning for 2018, they’ll have to wait until this year’s fest is over.

“Last year we said, let’s wait till it’s over and decide whether to do next year,” Rovery says. “I would love to see it grow a little further. It’s just the two of us and we’ll have to see what time allows.”

Breakin’ Even Fest 2
May 5-6, 2017

2477 18th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 

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