Sound & Fury Fest Organizer Ray Harkins Talks to Us

The Sound and Fury Festival is in it's 7th year this year and this time around organizer Ray Harkins talks to us about what you can expect from this year's experience!

1. How does it feel to have the Sound & Fury Festival be in it's 7th year?

Ray: In a word: incredible. Granted, this is only mine and Joey's 3rd year in planning the festival but watching something like this grow and evolve into what it is now is very gratifying and glad that I could be a part of it.

2. What do you think it is about this festival that sticks out the most and has the fans coming back year after year?

Ray: This is the magical question, what gives the fest the "secret sauce" that makes it different in the first place. What I have noticed is that people love the area in which we do it (Santa Barbara, CA). It's a great excuse for kids to plan a trip to an amazingly beautiful area, see some of their favorite bands and above all see a ton of friends that they may only be able to catch once a year. We do have a distinct geographical advantage of being by the beach.

3. No Sleep Records will be the presents at this year's festival who got in contact with who to set this up and why did you want to go with them?

Ray: We are always looking for partners that can help expose the festival to new kids while still making sense within the context of hardcore/punk/independent music. Joey and I have known Chris Hansen (owner of No Sleep Records) for close to 10 years and we simply brought the idea to him. He loved it and it worked out very easily. It's been really cool to see his devoted following pay attention to something that is a bit "outside" of the norms.

4. This year will be the third year that this fest has taken place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds why is this spot so popular and is this the place the fest will stay or do you plan on moving it in the coming years?

Ray: We want to have the fest here for as long as they allow us for a couple of reasons.  They are incredibly cool and easy people to work with. It's not every day where you can approach adults, that have very little context for what punk/hardcore is, explain moshing and they go, "Cool, just be safe!" It has a great area in which kids can hang out when they aren't watching bands and the hall in which the bands play is big enough to never really feel crowded.

5. You just did an interview piece with Complete Control with Joe Sib how did that turn out?

Ray: Complete Control was a fun experience for us. We always love to talk about the fest to interested people and it worked out perfectly. I just wish we had a full hour to talk about the fest, ha!

6. Who are some of the bands on this year's bill that you think will draw in the fans or consider checking out?

Ray: There are a lot of bands from all levels (veterans, new blood etc...) who will bring in their respective audience but I personally am exceptionally excited about two bands in particular; Comeback Kid and Blacklisted. Comeback Kid has never played the fest and are one of the better bands within the scene so that will draw a lot of interest from people. Blacklisted are just such a volatile band that you never know when they are going to play another show near you, so I think kids will see this as one of their rare opportunities to see them.

7. While this year's festival is underway do you have ideas for next years?

Ray: We keep a running list of bands that we have ideas for throughout the year so technically, we are always planning.

8. Before this festival even kicks off you are having a pre-party for it having some bands come out what bands will be there and why do a pre-party?

Ray: The lineup can be found on for the pre-party and it's our way of giving kids that travel even more to do the night before the fest. We also like to give bands that we dig, the ability to play a show that is affiliated with S&F but we just didn't have room for them for one reason or another.

9. Have you been in talks with any of the other festival promoters to do a combination of festivals or you don't think that would be a good idea?

Ray: It's not something we have thought of for the sheer sake of simplicity. Each festival has their own vibe, atmosphere, lineup and kids that are coming out.

10. What other projects do you have lined up for this year if any?

Ray: Under the Sound and Fury banner, this is all that we do from that perspective. We have thrown around the idea of doing something in the winter but since S&F takes up so much of our time, we tend to want to take a few months off from planning a festival.

11. Why should music lovers, fans, bands, check out this festival and why should they attend?

Ray: The simplest reason is that it's unlike anything else that's out there right now. Obviously there are other festivals across the country (Rain Fest, This Is Hardcore, Chaos In Tejas etc...) and each have their own distinct flavor that makes them special. This fest is literally put together by 2 people with the help of a few great friends and because of that, we are easily accessible for people to reach out and talk to. It is literally for the kids, by the kids.

12. Anything else you'd like to say or add?

Ray: We appreciate the questions and the interest, keep the intelligent conversations coming.

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