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Two-night 239 Fest takes the stage this weekend

October 10, 2018
By CJ HADDAD ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

239 Fest is coming into its eighth year of bringing the best local punk, ska and reggae bands together for two nights of live music in Cape Coral.

"If you're at all a fan of punk, ska or reggae, you pretty much owe it to yourself to come experience 239 Fest," said Eric DeMayo, member of the band Bargain Bin Heroes, and 239 Fest organizer.

Taking place at Rack'em Spirits & Times on Oct. 12 and 13, the event is free for music lovers-and is a great atmosphere to jam with more than 20 local musicians, even if you may not be familiar with the bands taking to the indoor and outdoor stages.

Friday night music begins at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 5:45 p.m.

"If you're not necessarily a fan of the genres, but like original music, well then I have a good feeling you're still going to enjoy yourself," DeMayo said. "I have people tell me all the time, 'I'm not really into that kind of music, but man, did I have a great time,' and 'When's the next show?'"

The fest also brings people together to share a common love of music, where people create connections that last, De Mayo said.

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"I always love hearing stories of how friendships or relationships were made during 239 Fest weekend," he said. "And how bands that played together for the first time here and are now gigging together across the state."

DeMayo, alongside fellow musician Tim Bruder, came up with the idea of having a large showcase of bands from all around the state they were performing with.

After contacting the bands, and getting the support of Rack'em Spirits & Times owner Andrew Gray, things took off.

"It was the perfect match and, at the time, just what this area needed," DeMayo said. "Since the first 239 Fest, I've seen this scene spring back immensely."

Friday night will feature more of the heavy, fast-paced punk style, while Saturday will spotlight groovy rhythms and walking bass lines of ska and reggae music.

The music scene in Southwest Florida is still flourishing, thanks to events like this, that highlight local artists and groups who give people a reason to come enjoy a night out.

"As the scene in Southwest Florida continues to grow and grow, 239 Fest does its best to capture and showcase a little piece of that," DeMayo said. "So if you're new to the original music scene, this is a great way to learn about some area bands."

For those who may be familiar with the local talent, crowd favorites such as "Opposite States," "The No Name Ska Band," "The Freecoasters" and "F" are all included in 239 Fest's lineup.

DeMayo also makes sure that new and up-and-coming bands get a chance to perform for the audience.

"For some of the bands, it's their first time here," he said. "Every year, as the scene grows, we have more and more great bands to sift through. There are honestly so many great bands in the state/region right now, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. But, at over 20 bands, I'd say it's a good sized tip."

And, don't forget you beach ball

"Beach balls for some reason... there is always a ton of beach balls at this thing," DeMayo said.

The event is 18 and up, and Rack'em Spirits & Times will be having drink specials all weekend.

"A big thank you goes out to Andrew of Rack'em. I really thank him a lot for giving us a place to do this," DeMayo said. "It was at a time when a lot of venues and clubs had been closing, but he was willing to take a chance on us and this event."

For more information on the event, including the full line-up, visit the Rack'em Spirits & Times Facebook page.

Rack'em Spirits & Times is at 1011 S.E. 47th Terrace in Cape Coral.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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