39 bands to take stage for seventh annual RPM Fest in Montague

  • The crowd at the 2022 RPM Fest at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CINDY BRONSON

  • Lich King performs at the 2022 RPM Fest at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CINDY BRONSON

  • Goblet performs at the 2019 RPM Fest at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Valient Thorr performs at the 2022 RPM Fest at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/DAVID MOLNAR

Staff Writer
Published: 8/31/2023 2:14:39 PM
Modified: 8/31/2023 2:14:04 PM

MONTAGUE — Thirty-nine bands will fill the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club with hardcore music this weekend with the return of RPM Fest.

Now in its seventh year and its fourth at the Rod and Gun Club, RPM Fest is a three-day festival highlighting “heavy” music, including metal, punk, rock, thrash hardcore, psychedelic and ska. It also offers free tent camping with admission and unconventional festival activities such as drag queen bingo, metal yoga, a burlesque show, wrestling and horror trivia. In addition, there will be games, food, craft beer and a market of vendors.

Founder and organizer Brian Westbrook said the strength of the local heavy music scene inspired him to launch RPM Fest in 2014. The inaugural festival achieved an intentionally casual vibe as it was held in his parents’ Greenfield backyard. It remained an underground event until the festival’s loudness didn’t bode well with neighbors. Following a gap year in 2017, the festival found a home at the Rod and Gun Club.

The festival is expected to have more than 1,000 attendees for the first time, Westbrook said. He and co-founder John Gulow attribute the festival’s growth to word-of-mouth and old-school promotion tactics such as putting up flyers.

While previous RPM Fests have featured three stages, this year’s festival will have only two.

“We decided it’s better for the fan experience because there’s more focus on the individual bands,” Westbrook explained, noting that the third stage has been replaced with “a nice little central area where people can hang out and relax.”

Westbrook stressed that focus on the bands is particularly important given how remarkable the acts are. He highlighted Saturday’s headliner, Weedeater, as one band people should be sure not to miss.

“We’ve been trying to get Weedeater, our Saturday night headliner, for years and it just hasn’t worked out,” he said of the North Carolina group. “They’re perfect for this festival … with their gritty, southern, stoner vibe.”

Although bands playing RPM Fest are coming from as far as Australia, at its core, the festival remains a celebration of the area’s heavy music culture, Westbrook said. Between 25 and 30 featured bands are from the region, which he said goes toe-to-toe with any other in the nation.

“This is a highlighting of our local music scene and our weird little pocket here in western Massachusetts,” Westbrook emphasized.

This year’s festival will take place from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets, which come in different packages and vary in price, can be purchased at tickettailor.com/events/rpmfest/757958.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy