There might not be any obnoxious plugs on X-103 or any full-page ads in the Star announcing its arrival but there is no denying that Bloomington's Plan-It-X Fest is the most important music event in the state. While other concerts might draw more people and sell more tickets, nothing attracts a more dedicated and far-reaching fan base than Plan-It-X Fest.
The sometimes-annual event made a roaring comeback last year with a three-day festival that featured dozens of bands and attracted hundreds of crusties, train-hoppers, anarchists, oogles and other DIY punks to Rhino's in Bloomington. Festival organizer and Plan-It-X Records owner Chris Johnston is attempting to recreate 2011's success with yet another fantastic line-up of fiercely independent punk, folk and pop bands.
One of the stand outs of this year's line-up is Harry and the Potters, a band of J.K. Rowling devotees who infamously mix Hogwarts drama with catchy pop-punk. Despite the massive, mainstream appeal of the Harry Potter series, Harry and the Potters have upheld a DIY ethic and maintained a fiercely devoted underground fanbase.
Also playing are progressive pop-punks Delay. Hailing from Ohio, Delay jokingly claims to write Ramones songs "in reverse", which may sound silly at first but makes plenty of sense once you actually listen to their music. Also representing team pop-punk are Cincinnati cutoff aficionados, Vacation. Never afraid to venture to Indiana, Vacation has already developed a sizable following in Indianapolis and Bloomington.
Representing the Indiana scene, cult heroes Defiance, Ohio will bring their passionate brand of folk punk to the festival. Other local acts like Paul Baribeau, Good Luck and Ghost Mice will also be fortifying the already impressive line-up.
Highlighting the festival, however, is Athens, GA wündergroup Nana Grizol. Forging adorably perfect pop songwriting with the horn section from indie legends Neutral Milk Hotel, Nana Grizol produces the kind of warm, inspired music most pop bands only dream of making. Their most recent album, 2009's Ruth, is a sensational collection of underground indie pop.
While tickets sold out months ago, there are plenty of house parties and basement shows going on in Bloomington in conjunction with the festival to warrant a trip down. If anything, the oogle-watching alone would make the excursion worthwhile.