Show review: Detroit Ska Fest at the Sanctuary, Sept. 4, 2015

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Who: Rut Strutter, The Mushmen, The Skashank Redemption, The Duppy-3, The Butts, Still Alive
When: September 4, 2015
Where: The Sanctuary


Spending the night at The Sanctuary is one of the most intimate experiences one can have at a concert. I showed up to The Sanctuary (an old church fixed up and converted to a venue for events like this) on the second day of the festival and got a nice intro into the kind of atmosphere that would be going on throughout the night. The first band wouldn’t be performing for a couple hours now, but until then I was sitting with a mini-crowd of people. Performers, volunteers, organizers and attendees were all seamlessly mixed together, warmly cracking jokes and getting deep into discussion about ska and punk music. It was like hanging out with a big group of friends. This kind of feeling was consistent through the whole night. The organizers had made the decision to put a good chunk of time between each act specifically to facilitate this kind of interaction.

The theme of the festival was ska and ska-inspired bands. For those not familiar, ska is a genre that grew out of Jamaica and became very popular in the US in the 1990s. Since the beginning of the genre, it’s evolved by taking inspiration from a lot of different types of music, most commonly jazz and punk.

The roster featured not only local Detroit bands, but also performers from all over the country. Organizer Ignatious Wolf said that his intention was to select the lineup so that the festival would hear from “every corner of the nation."

The Detroit Ska Fest was an amazing experience. If you’re a fan of ska or punk or if you’re even just a bit interested, you don’t want to miss it next year. 


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