In a name
It takes a lot of moxie to name a music festival after yourself, but that’s what local musician Fil Corbitt did.
“I have a good justification!” Corbitt said recently. “I started it when I was 15, and I’d just seen Wayne’s World. I was like ’Oh, Waynestock, I can do that.’”
The fictional music festival Waynestock, named after the title character, is of course actually a central event of Wayne’s World 2, but the point remains: Impressionable teenagers love to imitate movie character’s bad ideas.
Corbitt grew up in Gardnerville and played in the rockabilly band The Xenophobes while he was in high school and college at the University of Nevada, Reno. He studied journalism and still works at as a broadcast technician for the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. As a freelance journalist, he contributed a few stories to the RN&R a couple of years ago. Since graduating, he’s played in the short-lived bands Handsome Vultures and Earth Scraper, and had a stint as the drummer for the popular local indie folk band Buster Blue. Now, he plays in the group Martin Howls Corbitt and produces a music-themed podcast, Infrequency Reno.
The first Fil Fest, back when Corbitt was 15, was in 2006 at a Carson City parking lot. The second was in 2008, at the now defunct Fritz’s Bar & Grill. The third, in 2009 at West Street Market, featured Buster Blue and the Cobra Skulls. The fourth, and most recent festival, was in 2010 at Studio on Fourth.
This year’s festival, on Sept. 11 and 12, is on a different scale: at least 28 bands at six different Reno venues. (“At least” 28 bands because Corbitt there's still a gap or two in the schedule to announce.) The lineup includes several of the best local bands, including Plastic Caves, Casino Hearts and Alphabet Cult. Most of the bands on the bill are Reno locals, although there are four touring bands, including Awahnichi from Merced and Coastwest Unrest from Las Vegas.
The Friday night portion of the festival will feature rockin’ bands at Sierra Tap House, for 21 and over, and an eclectic all-ages show at Good Luck Macbeth Theatre. Saturday will feature a main stage at the Holland Project from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and then three simultaneous shows afterward at three different venues: an all-ages show at Fort Ryland, a punk rock basement venue, and wild line-ups at bars Monolith and Pignic. The bands are staggered to accommodate some back and forth among the venues.
Martin Howls Corbitt is playing the first set at Holland Project. He credits his bandmates, Andy Martin, Christopher Stehman and RN&R contributor Kent Irwin for help organizing the festival. Martin’s other project, Up is the Down is The, and Irwin’s group Actors Killed Lincoln are also playing the festival.
The Pignic line-up is perhaps the oddest: ranging from hip-hop act Locus to singer-songwriter troubadour Lucas Young, along with a set by versatile musician Jen Scaffidi’s ambient noise project, Tiny Alarms.
The great local indie rock band Post-War has the sweetest spot of the festival: 8:30-9 at Holland Project on Saturday. That band’s Sutafe Bogale is good-humored about playing a festival named after its own promoter.
“You know, a competent, confident promoter is what you want,” he said. “I only met him last summer, and he seemed kind of reclusive, very kind of private, and then I heard he was hosting a festival and his name was the name of the festival so it was like, ’Who is this guy? What’s he really about?’ But I like him—he’s a really calm kid.”
“The thought is to bridge a lot separate genres, bridge a lot separate scenes, and make some sort of community event that everybody can come and watch, and get in for cheap, and hopefully see a bunch of bands they wouldn’t see otherwise,” said Corbitt.