REFLECTIONS; Time, Growth, Evolution and Redefinition.
As alluded to in the zine, it’s impossible for me to discuss Book Yer Ane Fest from any real perspective other than my own. I’m far too closely involved to be truly objective, try as I might, and in the ten years we’ve been doing this label, I’ve learned to accept and understand that there are things over which I have no control. Book Yer Ane Fest seems to mean many different things to many different people, all with their own unique experiences, worlds within worlds. This is a truly beautiful thing.
Book Yer Ane Fest X last weekend was remarkable in many, many ways and even a week later I’m still struggling to fully digest it all. Thoughts and memories come back at me in waves, out of nowhere, and I remember fragments of conversations that I had with people who I see all too seldom. I’ll admit to being pretty nervous about the whole thing, especially in lieu of the the takeover of Buskers and all the fallout from that, and the weight of my own anxiety about hitting the ten year milestone. It’s no trade secret that I was considering that perhaps this year may be the last Book Yer Ane Fest.
Nostalgia unnerves me and life has changed so much since 2006, not just for me but for everyone I know, our entire culture and society. This is the only way it can possibly be, everything is impermanent. However, the older and more experienced I become, the more I value reflection and taking stock as important, not to wallow in perceived past glories and accomplishments but to remember exactly why it is you do what you do in the first place, to give thanks for the path that you’ve traveled and those who’ve supported you along the way. Does the flame of mid-thirties burn as bright as the flame of youth?
Ten years of supporting Safe-Tay, ten years of cowpunk and ten Book Yer Ane Fests seems like the perfect narrative ending; to round things out at a tidy decade and call it job done. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t appeal to part of me, mostly my nihilistic streak, and it is something that I wrestle with. No doubt there’s plenty of ego bullshit in there too. Going into this year, I didn’t know where my own head was at in this regard and didn’t have any answers, in the greatest MTAT tradition of the best plan being no plan at all, which you can never plan for. Sometimes it takes someone to ask the question before you know the answer.
It has been an honour to support Safe-Tay and the causes they support over these last ten years and we thank them for their vital work as they wind up operations, leaving behind an important and impressive legacy of safety education and awareness-raising. I had a conversation ten minutes before my Tragical History Tour set on Sunday evening that floored me and in that moment I knew that what we do is greater than me or any one individual, that we are all part of something so much bigger than ourselves. This was reaffirmed in the conversations I had with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years and some whom I was meeting for the very first time. I felt it when I played, punk rock my meditative space.
It’s a long weekend for everyone involved and I did all eleven shows across the five days including playing three times, getting home at 3am on Tuesday after dropping Josh at the airport, then going straight back to work until yesterday. I’m still exhausted and only now is the comedown fully kicking in. Having the opportunity to play with Uniforms one last time before the birth of Matthew Fraser McGinty was a privilege and playing with Joey T again was just indescribable. Ben is my oldest friend, Gain and I have been in this since day one and being in that band was an education like no other. It was like slipping back into the mask and pulling a Springboard Frankendeeker; a total Wrestlemania moment for me.
I would like to personally thank each and every person that participated in making Book Yer Ane Fest X a success. It was undoubtedly our most ambitious attempt yet and it would not have been possible without the herculean efforts of so many people. Thank you so much to all of the amazing acts who performed over the weekend and every single person who came from all over the world to enjoy them and participate in the festival; to all the BYAF Crew and extended MTAT family and volunteers who opened up their homes and hearts for the weekend, helped with sound, manned the merch booths, ran errands, loaded/loaned gear, cooked food, provided physical and emotional support, we can’t thank you enough. You are all amazing humans.
Much love and thanks to Roseanne, Dave and all the staff at The Firefly Dundee, including Mark for his tireless work with sound and chefs Alex and Sean for going above and beyond the call of duty; Lee and Simon of the excellent sound crew at Buskers for their indefatigable graft over the weekend to support us and Buskers and for allowing us use of the space; all at Bloc+, Conroy’s Basement, Groucho’s and The Banshee Labyrinth; Dundee Music Studios for providing us with backline for the weekend; Rainbow Music for their continued support and endless patience; Mitch and all the crew at Audiowave, all at Sanctuary Tattoo Dundee for Book Yer Ane Flash and all the punks who got BYAF tattoos (pics plz!); Catholic Guilt, No One Knows Records, Black Lake Records, Umlaut Records, TNSrecords, Round Dog Records, Anti-Manifesto and everyone who donated prizes to the tombola; Hold My Pint Photography; GGM Photography; Adam Morrow for all the help with the A Fat Wreck screening; Urban Print; IDIOTEQ.com, Punktastic, TheCourier.co.uk and everyone who covered BYAF in the press and to anyone we may have forgotten; thank you!
We haven’t yet got our final total as we’re having a merch sale and will donate 100% of proceeds from the leftover “Still Joey Terrifying” shirts and the “Complete Collection” CD sales for December to the BYAF total to be donated to Insight Counselling, Tayside Mountain Rescue and The Royal Life Saving Society. Here’s hoping we can beat last year’s total. Check out my friend Graham’s awesome playlist of live videos too, think he’s got most bands from across the weekend. While there may be a few (mostly personal) dissatisfactions from the weekend, there’s no point in belabouring issues, perpetuating beef or throwing people under a bus, and all parties already know the score anyways, so that’s all the vague details I’ll go into. In the finest Paul Heyman tradition, if booked right nobody’d ever know, right? If we don’t learn, we don’t evolve and if we don’t evolve, we stagnate and die.
As with everything, Book Yer Ane Fest must evolve and MTAT along with it. As we embark upon our second decade as a collective and in the current cultural climate, I believe that the DIY punk rock community is of greater importance than ever before. I believe we are at a pivotal point in our evolution, Brexit and Trump the latest twisted manifestations of globalised nuclear capitalism and the echo chamber. We now live in a world where simply being “anti” is not nearly enough, where words and information are weapons. It is what we DO that it is important, beyond rhetoric.
It’s good to engage in discourse, to be challenged, and accept valid constructive criticism and advice; to develop reflective practice, if you will. We will always be an anti-sexist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic collective, but how can we grow beyond defining ourselves by what we are not in a world of perpetual change and unprecedented evolution? If we define ourselves in negative terms, it logically follows that generating positivity becomes a greater struggle. The world will beat you down and “other” you, we need not unnecessarily “other” ourselves.
As such, for the first time, I have redefined our “mission statement”;
We are a progressive secular DIY punk collective and independent record label based on the east coast of Scotland. We aim to contribute positively to our community and believe in the equality of and equity for all humans regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, class, status or any other perceived identifier.
Our collective/label formed at a house party show in 2006 and has evolved over the last decade into something we never anticipated. We are very grateful for the increased level of interest we’ve been receiving recently and are very excited about the possibilities that the future may hold.
We have a fairly wide understanding of what constitutes “punk”.
For all MTAT enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The answer to the question is yes, there will be a Book Yer Ane Fest XI. Where it will be and what form it will take remains to be seen but things will continue to evolve as they’ve always done. Thank you to all involved, for everything.
The job ain’t fucking done yet.