Saint Louis' alternative music station, 105.7 The Point, has recently announced the line-up for its yearly rock music festival, Pointfest. On May 10th, the Verizon Amphitheater will once again be filled with bands from all over the country as well as some home ground sounds. But this Pointfest, which will be the station's thirty-second in a row, is already drastically different from its most recent predecessors - and it is raising a lot of discussion among Point listeners in the area.
This Monday, The Point formally announced on its Facebook page the bands that will be performing at this year's Pointfest, barring any surprise drop-outs or announcements. They are: Queens of the Stone Age; The Offspring; AFI; Blue October; Neon Trees; The Head and the Heart; ††† (Crosses); Band of Skulls; The Airborne Toxic Event; Morning Parade; The Orwells; Chelsea Wolfe. Of the group, the most local band is The Orwells, which was formed in Elmhurst, Illinois.
What has long time Pointfest riled up about this line up? The overall sound of these groups are what attendees have become accustomed to seeing on the Verizon stage, which would include more hard core rock as well as 'screamo'/metal bands. Compared to past line ups, 2014's cast falls upon the more indie side of the alternative rock spectrum. Some of the bands are downright mainstream sounding. Neon Trees is practically pop rock and AFI has been turning more and more avant-garde rock since its lead vocalist branched off with his own electronic music project, Blaqk Audio.
Besides, sometimes you just can't book P.O.D. for the millionth year in a row and have to make do with other acts. It happens! Or as one Facebook commenter so put it, booking Hollywood Undead for the twelfth time doesn't a good show automatically make.
For reference's sake, look at the first line up for Pointfest, all the way back in 1995. It included such acts as They Might Be Giants, Aimee Mann, Matthew Sweet, and Midnight Oil. There isn't a single hard rock or metal group among them. In fact, it seems downright nerdy by today's standards and all indie rock to boot. If anything, this recent Pointfest ensemble is closer to the event's roots than any previous show in the past ten years.
And you know what? Having the same core group of bands perform at Pointfest every year gets boring after a while – both for the audience and the bands involved. There's that old chestnut about variety being the spice of life and it applies heavily to the Point's situation this year. They can either stick to the usual bands or break out of their yearly rut and bring the alternative music like rarely done before. This year, the Point is doing the latter, and getting hit for it.
Do the majority of these bands qualify as 'hard rock'? Not really. But as many are arguing on the Point's Facebook page, they are still alternative bands - and the Point has always been local radio's alternative rock station. Considering how long Pointfest has been going on, it's assured to be a hit, even if who is on stage doesn't fit everyone's definition of Point music.
Tickets for 2014's Pointfest at the Verizon Amphitheater go on sale March 7th at 10 am CST. This includes lawn tickets and a limited amount of VIP tickets.