GRINNELL, Iowa—After two days of ear-splitting noise performed under the guise of “music,” consensus was reached by Grinnell College students, faculty, and staffers that Suckfest ’08, a festival staged to welcome people back to the Grinnell campus, indeed was a fest with suck aplenty.
“I know the organizers probably thought it was totally ironic and/or cool to call this thing ‘Suckfest,’ but instead they look like visionaries,” said Grinnell junior Blake Anders. “It did truly suck farts.”
The event, which was staged on a green area in the heart of campus, featured myriad local musicians with very little songwriting ability, stage presence, or anything remotely resembling rhythm; and performance artists who often took the stage with household appliances or “found goods” to deliver their messages.
On Saturday, the festival’s opening day, no fewer than 18 area bands polluted the stage with tuneless ditties, which served as little more than transitional pieces between on-stage rants about “how the government is a bunch of fuckers, man” and how “it was bullshit that the Subway over there [gesture made in a general east-northeast direction] won’t accept the fuckin’ Subway Club stamps that I found in some dude’s glove compartment.”
Sunday wasn’t much better. After a so-so a cappella performance from a guy claiming to be the son of sound-effects guru Michael Winslow, the bill quickly went downhill. One performer clipped his fingernails and toenails, and then proceeded to auction them off as samples of his genetic makeup (the winning bid was eight Subway Club stamps); another performer lay down on a Casio keyboard and took a 35-minute nap. Jerome Gannt spent 16 minutes opening canned goods and dumping the contents on his head; Andy Andrews stared at a shoe he found on a nearby road, intermittently yelling “I’ve got sole!”
Legendary Grinnell-area noise rockers Church Wine Hangover closed the festival with a bunch of sucky songs.
Grinnell faculty member Terrance Moody had a theory on why the festival would choose a name with negative connotations, other than for the sake of accuracy.
“It’s like when African-Americans use the N-word as a pronoun for themselves and their like-skinned peers,” Moody said. “It disempowers the people who were going to use this term in derogatory fashion. The funny thing is, I don’t think it worked for the Suckfest ’08 people—I’m still telling all of my students how sucky this piece of shit festival was.”
Jeremiah Sloan, chair of the Suckfest ’08 planning committee, is undeterred. In fact, he said Suckfest ’09 is already in the works.
“It’s not my fault that some people just don’t get art,” Sloan said. “Fuckin’ townies.”