Bryan Flowers and Steven Rovery were stuck.
After years spent booking shows for their punk bands—including their current project, the Northern Virginia pop-punk quartet American Television—they had seemingly reached the limits of the shows they could organize. Both are married and Rovery is a father; booking out-of-town gigs and touring is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. “We started thinking about what the next logical progression would be,” Flowers says.
Instead of touring, he and Rovery decided to focus their show-booking energy here in D.C., and we’re all the beneficiaries: The first Breakin’ Even festival, scheduled for March 4th and 5th, will usher more than a dozen of the region’s best pop- and gruff-punk acts to the spacious basement stage at Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe.
The weekend of shows landed at Songbyrd after CD Cellar decided it would shutter its Arlington location later this month. Now, the still-new Adams Morgan venue will host both days, roughly split between local and regional acts.
Friday night will focus on the locals, with Frederick power-pop purveyors Lilac Daze and D.C. party-punks Loud Boyz headlining a five-band lineup. Saturday draws from further afield, with out-of-towners Iron Chic, Timeshares, and Slingshot Dakota topping a day-long docket of punk bands that includes local yokels Brick Top, The Rememberables, and of course, American Television, among others.
That’s a packed weekend—and for $27 for both nights, it’s a steal, too. Flowers says he and Rovery have never made much money on the shows they’ve booked, because it’s not really the point. They found a couple of local sponsors for the fest to help cover costs—Mobius Records and Furnace Manufacturing. That helps. At past shows they’ve booked and promoted, they’ve had to pay touring bands out of their pockets. “Sometimes there are promoters who do this for a living,” Flowers says. “Steve and I are not that.” For a fest in its first year, their only hope is to break even, he says. Hey! That’s, like, the name of the fest!