Arts Desk

Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Festival Turns to Fundraising

You may remember Dave Mann, erstwhile City Paper cover boy and founder of last year's two-headed DIY juggernaut, Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie. If you don't, here's a recap: Last summer, Mann improbably pulled together a sprawling rock festival at a handful of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants around town. The thing kept growing, but ticket sales remained flaccid, so he made it free. Then he did it all over again in October. Both festivals hosted more than 100 bands each.

Now, Mann's back with an even bigger STPP fest, scheduled to take place Oct. 5-7. But for this one, he's fundraising.

"After the two festivals last year, I realized that paying the bands really works in your favor," he says in an email. "Even though this year we plan on having 200-300 bands at 12 different venues, we hope to be able to provide the out-of-town bands with gas money at the very least while the locals are still playing for exposure only."

Mann originally aimed to raise $5,000 via Eventstir. Since then, he's scaled down the goal to $1,000 ("Just because of the time constraints involved," he says). This summer, Black Cat hosted three fundraiser shows, which helped him bring in $1,500, which he's put toward flyers and promotion.

"Please keep in mind that the festival is still free," he says, "but by allowing attendees to purchase the pre-sale wrist bands, it gives the attendees an opportunity to support this music festival."

The Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Festival runs Oct. 5-7 at various venues. See the festival website for schedule information.

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  • 99b

    "exposure" is the biggest warning sign in the arts.

  • Bryan

    I understand your point, to a point, but every artist has the brain power to make the decision if that is worth it to them...for us, it is worth it, and especially worth it to support the local scene, which, without it, wouldn't really leave us with any opportunity to play anywhere for payment anyways!

  • D

    Also, some people play music because it's fun.

  • Michael

    It isn't up to anyone to decide what the artists do. It seems that at this festival, the artists want to get their name out more and support a really local scene which I think has tremendous potential!

    I for one am looking forward to the festival.

  • F

    99b ~ come on. As an indie band, you know you are going to be playing for "exposure" sometimes. And no one is being forced to play. I'm super looking forward to playing this festival for *exposure* and hope that some merch sales will cover the costs and we'll gain some new fans for the next show we do in the area that charges a door. That's how things work.

  • Tyler

    Are you kidding me? I have friends that played this guy's STTP fest in the past. What a joke. No organization. No respect for the acts. He covered it all up with the "DIY" excuse. Really? Dave Mann is doing nothing for DC music. When you honor "out of town" bands more than local bands you set up a terrible dynamic. There is a reason why none of the shows are at proper venues (no one wants to work with this clown) and the fact that other than the clearly condescending City Paper cover story last year, the "festival" has gotten no exposure. Think about it. When you have a festival in a city, why would you openly disrespect the local acts who are likely going to be bringing people to the venues? I feel bad for the bands that are so desperate for gigs that they agree to play this awful "festival."

  • alexander mackenzie

    Hey look DC's own little engine that could is back to ruin your dining experience for one magical weekend. Little wonder that nobody ever seems to work with him twice. Or that this year was plagued by cancellations. Heads up, this year's bands! When this train wreck, well, goes over like a train wreck, expect it to be your fault and your fault alone.

  • Robbie

    Sounds like Tyler and Alexander are good buddies. Lets see if we can add a little objectivism here in the mix.

    Lets start with Tyler...
    "...I have friends that played this guy's STTP fest in the past. What a joke. No organization. No respect for the acts. He covered it all up with the "DIY" excuse. Really? "

    I imagine with any festival of this size, not everything can be organized, right? I mean, the writer said that the festivals from last year had over 100 bands. Yeah, that's pretty damn ambitious but it sounded like it happened not just once but twice. So we are looking at a total of at least 200 bands that have played this festival. Which brings me to point #2

    This one is from Alexander..
    "... Little wonder that nobody ever seems to work with him twice."

    So, if 200 bands have played this festival, can we all assume that not 1 band from the first festival played the second festival? Furthermore, if Alexander's theory holds any weight, can we assume that none of the 200 bands that have played this festival is going to play this next festival? Seems a little hard to believe. Are there really that many bands out there that haven't heard of this guy, who apparently is a "clown" who sets up festivals which are really disguised as "train wrecks".

    Okay, lets move on to point #3 which involves Dave not having any respect for the bands, especially for the locals.

    Tyler, it's your turn...
    "...When you honor "out of town" bands more than local bands you set up a terrible dynamic. "

    So last year it sounds like NONE of the bands got any money whatsoever so last year Dave was a really terrible person who not only 'dishonored' the local bands but had the nerve to 'dishonor' the out-of-town bands as well. But, this year, his heart has changed (50%) because he wants to help out the bands who are traveling from areas that require them to put gas in their tanks. I'm not sure how that is 'dishonoring' but whatever.

    Here is another classic quote from Tyler...
    "...When you have a festival in a city, why would you openly disrespect the local acts who are likely going to be bringing people to the venues?"

    Was this festival intended on putting all of the weight on the shoulders of the local bands for them to bring out the audience alone? Hmmm. Do we have to assume that everybody that showed up for any of the shows was there specifically because some local band (who was 'disrespected') was forced to bring their friends to ensure that there was a crowd. Here comes point #4, Tyler.

    And, this is the last quote I will paste from Tyler..
    "...There is a reason why none of the shows are at proper venues (no one wants to work with this clown) and the fact that other than the clearly condescending City Paper cover story last year, the "festival" has gotten no exposure."

    Was the WCP the only source of media (exclusively) covering this festival? In the great words of Zach Galifinakis, "it's worth a Google".

    Alexander, I'll leave you alone for now and will start planning my weekend to attend this festival that seems to be improving over time.

    Hooray for the naysayers!

  • Dave Mann

    Attention bands! We still need to fill the Saturday 10-11 am slots at the Chuck E Cheese's on Canal Road. At this point we can only offer compensation in balls from the ballpit, but this venue DOES provide a stage and a PA. I can only compare the potential crowds to what you'll see at CMJ or SXSW

  • Robbie

    ^^^ Priceless!

  • Bryan

    do you have any idea how many cd's i would sell to parents at a chuck e cheese?! that would be incredible! third year playing the fest...i play because i want to, i love that dave has found a way to try to help the out of town bands cover some costs...i know plenty of people who have worked with dave numerous times...i LOVE playing the venues he many bars, theaters, and big box rooms with black walls can you play? even when playing nicer places, which i have, it is always awesome to go play somewhere where they do not usually have music...

    and the best part is, i am going to have a great time, see bands that i would never get the chance to see otherwise, wander around some eclectic neighborhoods on a beautiful fall day, eat good food, meet new some fuckin tunes with my buddies...and i'm going to do it for free, because that sounds awesome and i am lucky to be a part of it...and you are lucky to, because you dont have to be a part of it...but if you like spending your time spreading negativity instead of just living your life, go for it! we'll be having fun down at the show.

  • alexander mackenzie

    third year playing a fest that's less than 2 years old, eh?

  • Jonathan L. Fischer

    @alexander mackenzie: It's the second year, but Mann hosted two festivals in 2011. The upcoming one is the third.

  • dm

    I don't remember leaving that comment about Chuck E Cheese but if I could get them on as a venue, I would! How cool would that be to say that you played alongside a bunch of stuffed animals who only know a few songs and they play those songs ALL DAY long to a bunch of kids who don't care but are there to have fun.

    Yeah, thanks for turning on that lightbulb "Dave Mann".



  • Tyler

    Here are my responses.

    1) No one told this guy to bring 200 bands to DC for a "festival." You act as if someone forced him to do this and he is just doing his best. This is typical of the megalomaniac, thinking of many budding music moguls. It's something called overreaching your capacity. If Dave Mann doesn't have the mental or organizational capacity to bring 200 bands to DC in an organized and realistic manner then bring fewer bands and actually do a good job. Bryan, you are clearly not reading or listening to the repeated complaints from bands about the last two festivals which were at best unorganized.

    2) From the beginning Mann has pitched this festival as a means for putting "DC music on the map." Which is a stupid thing to say in the first place. But let's just say we take him at face value. So instead of prioritizing local music and providing an incentive other than "exposure" to local bands he hands over "gas" money to out of town bands. This is disrespectful, especially because he is bringing no major bands from out of town. Bring unknown, mostly shitty bands to DC then say DC bands are playing for "exposure." It is actually the other way around.

    3) I'm talking about this year. For something that claims to be the "biggest" festival in DC for indie music it gets shockingly little press. Why? Because it is clearly a clown show. Even the big City Paper article on Mann last year made him out to be a sad story of a person who can't let go of a past dream and accept the fact that he has little talent and little vision with a bunch of ambition. Only someone with no sense of reality would tout that article as an achievement. He was and is fodder for music writers to illustrate the dangers of unchecked ego and desire with no talent to back it up. Again, look at the venues for the 3rd festival. There has been really no improvement. Almost all these shows are being held at bars that are no music venues, that have no stages, no sound systems, and no capacity to hold more than 50 people.

    Calling me a naysayer simply ignores my points. The notion that we should celebrate everyone for trying, even if that attempt is poor, disrespectful of musicians, and done in a closed door, sketchy manner, is just insulting to those who look at things with intelligence. Part of the reason DC music has a bad rep among DC musicians is that people like Dave Mann are crowding and attempting to colonize the space for music in the city, putting volume over quality, and treating local musicians poorly. You can continue to childishly and blindly support this disaster, the rest of us will use our brains and see it for what it is.

    The truth is it's a complete clown show. Just look at the other successful festivals put on this year in DC. The trillectro festival this summer for example drew thousands of people and promoted several DC area electronic and hip hop artists. From the people I know who played it, it was handled professionally, properly promoted, and ALL artists were compensated. Not all festivals are made equal. A shitty job is a shitty job. Someone has to say it.

  • Matt Thomas

    My band from Southeast VA played the inaugural festival, and although our crowd at Queen Makeda was not huge we received a warm reception. Walking around to other venues that day I saw larger crowds, also very receptive, and I was floored by the fact that the entire festival was run and organized by basically one man. Yes, I know he has some volunteers helping out but in reality all of this has been the work of a single dude who wants to bring bands together for three days of rock. Will there be some let-downs? Of course. Will there be succesful shows? Absolutely!

    Festivals aside, any truly independent band knows that some of their shows are going to stink crowd-wise, and some will have a kick-ass audience. Some will pay, and some will be for free. To expect royal compensation and excellent crowds at every show for an independent band, especially when starting out, is completely unrealistic. This festival is no different. I am guessing that 80% of these bands are playing because they love to play and hope for exposure, and for no other reason. Nobody is getting rich here and that is just plain understood.

    I challenge anyone else to plan and organize a festival on their own, even if it is nowhere near this size. And this does not include anyone who has many thousands of dollars to invest or a wealthy organization to back you up. Dave has provided an opportunity for in-town and out-of-town bands to join together for three days, and it will probably not be perfect, but shows will happen and rock will ensue. I am grateful to have the chance to play DC again and our band knows that like any out-of-town show there is always that chance that we will play to the bartender only and get paid nothing. That's how it goes for all DIY bands and in this case a DIY festival.

    Anyone with much higher expectations needs to shell out the big $$ to hire an agent that can ensure them crowds and compensation. Otherwise be grateful that someone cares enough about independent bands to provide the CHANCE for more exposure.

    Lookin forward to it and if you secure the Chuck E Cheese, sign Uglyography up for an extra slot!!

  • ugh

    again we'll see 200-something bands come in to play rooms that aren't equipped or prepared for bands to play, filled with the bands that just finished or are waiting for their set to start.

    again the bands are being asked to pull the audience (yes, the local bands DO have the weight put on them to bring people to these shows). only this time, most of the best local bands on the bill are playing Friday night, in the same time slots, at different venues. genius way to organize set times -- let's get the most popular/best known local bands to all play from 11pm-2am Friday night, that's the best time to see shows (and not get a noise complaint from next door!).

    again Dave will give himself a stroke and a bunch of the bands will leave with a bad taste in their mouths (that sounds way more gross than it was supposed to be), but it'll be a self-described SUCCESS!!!!!! because it didn't completely collapse and some people are happy playing a local one-off show and having their picture on the STPP blog.

    i can't figure out why Dave hasn't realized that one or two good venues with maybe 20-ish thoughtfully picked bands (not the first 300 to email him a Bandcamp link) would be easier to handle, easier to promote, easier to sell, easier to attend, easier to repeat and grow from.

  • Dave Mann

    Sorry, Uglygary, but I took Tyler's idea and ran with it. I gave the Chuck E Cheese's slots to an actual clown show. The clowns didn't want to work for free and that money had to come from somewhere, so I'll need all the bands to settle for getting paid in extra exposure.

  • piccardy third

    I really don't understand all the NEGATIVITY surrounding Dave's festival. If you don't like it, don't go! You have to SEE THROUGH the LIES about the DC music scene. It is run by corrupt connected insiders who try to stop NEW scenes from getting places. And besides, he has been thoroughly upfront about what it will consist of, and to top that all off - he's just ONE MANN ;)

    I am really happy he gave us the opportunity to play this show!!!. I am tired of the sheeple who don't see the truth that happens right in front of them! Please read more about this kind of stuff, the truth is right in front of you if you want to actually SEE it

  • piccardy third

    if i wasnt clear, what I MEAN is that it's no SURPRISE that this festival is not being covered by the larger DC press! STP fest THREATENS those who have the clout in this town so it makes perfect sense they WOULDNT help promote it and instead post negativity about Dave on articles like this!!

  • dm

    This thread is funny. Just that fact that "Dave Mann" (who is supposed to be me, I guess) says the word "clown" twice in one paragraph really makes me laugh because I don't think I've ever used that word to describe people before. But, "Dave Mann", I guess you would know better than I. Also, why would I call Matt's band "Uglygary" when I obviously know its 'Uglyography'?

    If only, these comment threads were better monitored in terms of people not being able to post under anonymous names/multiple of them to boot. The language is all the same. If you are going to attack me/or whatever you are attempting to do, at least do it with class and not sound like all of the other negative comments.

    @ Tyler - So I am a megalomaniac?!? Hmm...if that were true, I'd probably would have found an investor from the get-go and make sure that so much money was pumped into this thing (where's Miller Lite when you need them?) that there would be no room for mistakes of any kind, except that they probably would have required Three Doors Down to headline the event. With that said, it would be a lot easier to "tout" my name around because I could say...well, pretty awesome that every band walked away with tons of money and the sound was on the 930 club level and there were thousands upon thousands of people watching the bands. I think that would be the time to boast about what "I have done" with this festival. This festival isn't about "me"...if it were, I'd make sure that my own bands were covered heavily moreso than any of the other bands playing the festival.

    If anything, this festival is moving forward and not backwards and I can't think of a better way for this to evolve than that. Do I regret how things have gone in the past? Yeah, I do. But, I learn from my past mistakes and try to make the festivals better by getting a festival committee involved/behind this (and they are doing a helluva job!) and looking for sponsors, etc.

    Say what you will, but I think there is a reason for the cliche that goes, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again". And, I'd like to keep this thing going to hopefully see it succeed so it does work out for everybody involved.



  • piccardy third

    Hmmm, is it really a SURPRISE that DAVE MANN is being attacked in the local scene here, a city called washington dc which IS run by A REPTILIAN plutocracy? the plain and simple fact that these anonymous posters will not reveal themselves explains so much about the situation, like dark puppet masters in the shadows!!

  • dm

    Really?!? If you are going to pretend to be me, please do a better job at it. Class, dude, class! Plus, your last post at 12:36pm was a doozie seeing that I was at lunch with a friend of mine but then again, I clearly see that I have multiple personalities who all think they are "dave mann". Awesome!



  • ugh

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  • dm

    Heh, I just refreshed the window to see that the post was removed. Now, that is class!



  • Nate

    Its pretty unbelievable that somebody (DAVE MANN) is putting on a solid festival in DC, and is getting crap about it. Ok, so the FIRST festival may have had some issues, but lets be honest with ourselves, THAT is to be expected for a first time. I'd like to see you put on a festival of the same proportion with the same budget. At least somebody is attempting to create something in a city that desperately needs more MUSIC and ART.

    DC is honestly void of this kind of festival/event, which is why I moved to NYC. People are allowed to try to make something, you haters are simply that. Just haters. Creating nothing, DOING NOTHING.

  • dm

    I'm not sure why I am coming back to this thread but I am amused by the comments and curious...

    @ Nate - I agree with some of the commentors about the first festival. It wasn't intentional or anything but a good number of bands were left hanging to their own devices. Do I like that that happened? No, but when venues promise me things like

    1. there will be proper sound/sound techs, etc...
    2. we will give bands free beer/drinks

    I take them on their word. And, when they don't deliver on it, what do I do?!? I had no one helping me out for the inaugural fest w/ damage control. So yeah, it sucked that some of the bands had to work their own sound or sets didn't start/end on time. However, things got significally better the next time around. And, that's the point of this thing. See what works, and see what doesn't work. If it doesn't work, try something else and don't repeat past mistakes.



  • Tyler


    Clearly, you are more interested in serving your personal desires than bands. If you gave a shit about DC bands you wouldn't march in loads of shitty bands from out of town and promise to pay them while using that all too familiar language, "play for exposure", to local bands. So I would actually know what I'm talking about I did a little research. UGH is right. You put the best known DC bands on at very late hours on a Friday night. You basically relegate them to "opening" night status while you prioritize little known out of town bands that you probably are using to leverage gigs, favor for your own musical project. You are not original. It's been done before. So yes, you are clearly self interested and don't give a shit about the DC bands you are "building" this festival on the backs of.

    I also did a little research into your music, which I honestly didn't even know about before you mentioned it. Are you kidding me? Dude, your music is just objectively bad. Of course, you wouldn't promote it. You shouldn't promote it.

    You are also using that handy rhetorical tool of pointing out extreme cases as anecdotal evidence. There is a difference between have NO sound, no stage, no evidence of any management and "930 Club Level Sound." It appears that you haven't even reached the first step. Instead, you prey on bands desperate for a gig with the name "festival" next to it.

    By using that cliche' you are conceding that your past efforts have not been successful. That is where we agree. However, what you done about it? Instead of scaling things back and actually finding legitimate sponsorship and press you've just brought in more bands to play an increasingly unorganized series of shows. Honestly, what have you done to improve things? Trying doesn't count. What major sponsors have you brought in?

    Also, in your previous email you implied that Trillectro had huge corporate sponsors and that is what made them successful. As far as I understand that is absolutely false. Sounds like an excuse to me. If it is all about the bands you should be doing a better job there. Has it occurred to you that you are really bad at this and might need to step aside?


  • dm

    Tyler, I don't know what to say?!? You are right about EVERYTHING. I am going to break it to my band members that we need to break up b/c I have just realized that I too think my band is "objectively bad". From there, I am going to email all of the bands and just cancel this festival because clearly it's going to be a total failure. I mean, how on earth can something actually get better in time???

    I should probably change my name too b/c it probably is translated "failure" in some foreign language. Got any suggestions?



  • Tyler

    You can use sarcasm to hide the fact that, yes, your music is terrible.

    I'm sorry if you misunderstood. I didn't say that you couldn't make your festival work. I simply asked you what substantive steps you've taken to do so. You have pointed to no substance in that regard. If you were actually willing to be smart, strategic, and organized then maybe you could have the success Trillectro had. Until then, you will be the laughing stock that last year's city paper article made you out to be. Are you proud of how you were profiled in that article?

    In the end, I don't really care. I'll continue to go out to shows and support the DC bands I really like. I'll use my buying power to go out and buy local music and go to local shows. I think you are refusing to value DC bands and it's amazing that you don't recognize how disrespectful it is to say "locals play for exposure." WTF? Do you not understand how disrespectful that is? Seriously. Geez.

    I do more with my ongoing support of DC bands than your crummy festival does for the scene.


  • dm

    @ Tyler

    I'm just curious as to why you are under the impression that this festival is a "locals only" festival? If that were the case, then wouldn't it clearly be labeled as such?

    Also, you do realize that I am in local bands too, right? Meaning, if I had so much disrespect for the local scene, would it really make sense for me to be in a local band(s)?

    Okay, I'm done with leaving comments from here on out. If you aren't aware, the festival is in 2 weeks and we have A LOT of prep work prior to this thing happening which means, I can't consume my time with what you or anyone else has to say about what HAS happened in the PAST with this festival. All I am concerned about right now is what it's going to be like in 2 weeks because time travel isn't available to us so I can't fix the past.


    ps. thanks for our ongoing support of DC bands. believe it or not, that means a lot to me.

  • alexander mackenzie

    dm is a straight up bama

  • Tyler

    I didn't say it's a "local only" festival. But guess what? Who do you think is going to be bringing people out to the shows? You are bringing a bunch of completely unknown bands from out of town to basically benefit from people going out to see their friend's bands (local bands). So you are building the festival on the back of the local scene. SXSW did the same thing. Many place based festivals did that. How do you show your appreciation to the DC scene's support? By saying local bands should expect nothing but "exposure." That is just backwards and disrespectful.

    Just because you are in a shitty local band doesn't mean you care about local bands. Clearly you don't care about bands enough to offer them priority or compensation. You aren't doing anything for the local scene. You've done nothing to improve the festival beyond just bringing more bands. Volume does not correlate to quality. Does quality matter to you?

    Again, I'm really not surprised by the way you've responded. It is clearly indicative of the way city paper profiled you.

    I'd also bet that at least 1/4 of the bands for this festival just don't show. Desperate bands would put up with your lackluster effort. Who else would?

    I'm not surprised you don't want to engage about the substance of your efforts. I wouldn't either if I was you.

  • Brian Moran

    Tyler - I really don't understand what motivates all this. This is an article about an event that is taking place in DC. How does that cause you to froth at the mouth so? From what you've written, you haven't even been directly affected by these festivals. Maybe you had to hear a friend bitch one time, and that really ruined your day or something? How is this coming festival going to impact you? And how will it really hurt the DC scene? It just sounds more to me like you have a personal vendetta against the guy.

    I see the festival more being about sharing music and networking and, as a few people have said above, just having a beautiful weekend walking around and enjoying live music, for free, all over the city. With 200 bands, there are sure to be some shitty ones, both local and from outside the city. But it gives local bands a chance to get in touch and swap shows with bands from other towns. Also, with this being on a weekend during the days, there are also going to be demographics walking around that would normally not go to shows for one reason or another. These people could be turned on to a band or even a whole scene they were unaware of. Why does that make you such an angry person?

    A musician doesn't need a huge stage or a huge sound system or even a huge crowd (or money for that matter) to have fun and play well and realize that they are doing what they love to be doing. Bands that are already making money at shows will come to the festival, play a free show for people, and then continue on making the tons and tons of money we all know bands here in DC make. Bands on the other side of that, with little exposure will show up and play for some people and get some stage experience at the very least. I don't quite see how disrespectful or terrible this is. I've seen a 3 band bill, including a touring band get paid out some $15 at the door. That's far more disrepectful than saying up front that there will be no payout.

    And as far as your venue comments - the venues this year are not some corporate named stadium, but Velvet Lounge and Comet Ping Pong are on the list. Perhaps they still don't have the best sound in the city, but as Dave said, it's all forward progress. And as far as personal preference goes, two of my favorite show experiences in the city have actually been at Desperado's and, during the first STPP fest, Ghion. They were loud, sweaty and energetic shows, fantastic times.

  • Lash

    @Tyler while you're busy being angry about music for some reason, I'm going to go meet Dave and the rest of the committee members in about an hour and nail down the specifics for sound techs, PA systems, and festival committee representation at all 12 venues that we have this year for STPPFest. Otherwise known as 'creating something'. Sorry if you had a bad experience at one of the fests last year but we're gonna keep on rolling, make it better this year, and even better in 2013 and beyond. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the STPPFest. But we're getting damn close...

    STPPFest Committee

  • piccardy third

    did no one read what I said before?? Dave mann is ACTUALLY working to expose the corruption in washington dc's music scene! if you read more about obvious things like how 9/11 was an inside job, or david Icke's exposure of the reptilian conspiracy destroying our world, you might understand and connect the dots that dave mann is actually WORKING SELFLESSLY to save this music scene!! wake up and smell the hummus

  • Matt

    My band played scapescape in Baltimore a few weeks ago. Similar to STTPfest, it was organized and implemented by a few individuals who love music around Baltimore and wanted to feature it, lots of it, during a four-day festival in a couple neighborhoods in the middle of the city. A lot of bands played and I have to admit, the task of organizing was way more than those working on the festival could handle. (I was not involved in the organizing)

    Initially, my local Baltimore band was smartly booked alongside some comparable bands with whom we share a fan-base, practice spaces and equipment. Then through the sheer complexity of the festival and a couple understandably missed communications, we ended up being booked on a day we couldn't actually play and had to ask to be reslotted into a remaining available day/stage/time. So next thing I know, we're playing on a Friday at 6:00pm, when no one would be home from work to see us, when we would have to leave our own jobs early to set up, and when we most likely would not make any money beyond merch sales. THESE THINGS HAPPEN.

    As a band, we could have approached this news in two ways: We could be whiny jerks about it, cancel our set, complain about how we were swept under the bus, attack the organizers for being disrespectful and insensitive to bands, arrogantly tell people how important we think we are compared to how important scapescape mistakenly thinks we are, etc. (And honestly, we were disappointed and bummed about the situation.)

    OR we could show up for our set, play our hearts out for the people that happen to be there (bartender, sound guy, bands loading in, curious passersby).

    So, we showed up for our set and KILLED. It was a lot of fun, and kind of liberating in a way. And by doing so, we respected the pure and honest love of music the people who put together scapescape had when they envisioned something bigger than they could actually pull off. We came off as a band that cares about the music in our town, willing to support something we believe in despite not having the most desirable spot in the festival schedule, and we made NO money. Now I don't want to say this is okay for all bands, but in our case, we don't play music to make a living. We live in Baltimore and playing a show is just a matter of loading a couple cars and traveling a mile or so down 83. We play music because we love playing music! And as a local band, filling out a bill at an event like scapescape is no skin off our backs, and in fact feels great to be a part of in any capacity.

    I'll just ignore the accusations of megalomania because I'm pretty sure Dave isn't making a dime off this, and he's obviously receiving more negative responses than positive from people for devoting his time and energy to this thing (as evidenced above).

    What exactly are the personal desires he's serving out of this? I don't know the man, but his treatment of local bands in the context of this festival seems very appropriate, and I don't think the majority of local bands booked are being put in a difficult position to play. If playing a sprawling rock festival on your doorstep constitutes a hardship because you need to make money or have a certain number of people watching you for it to be worth it, DON'T PLAY! Get on Virginfest or some other crap corporate event, where you will have guarantees and you will be told what to do. Or just keep plugging away at one-off local shows and book a tour or two for yourselves. That is completely fine. Yes, it would be awesome to make money, lots and lots of money, but that is not the goal here.

    What is the point in being so negative? If you think STTPfest isn't gonna play out the way you'd like, why not um… HELP? Get involved in the next one instead of being a whiny malcontent? It produces nothing.

    So Dave Mann wants to saturate a city with awesome rock bands in unlikely places? Count me in! I'll be in one of the shitty out of town bands invading your city.

  • dm

    Whoa....stop that train, y'all. Okay, I promise, this is my LAST reply. I'm just a dude. No more, no less. One of my biggest passions is music, whether that's making it, trying to help out bands with opportunities, etc...Def, not necessary to compare what is happening to conspiracy theories or whatever. This is just a music festival...yes, this IS a music festival. I appreciate you guys having my back but I wanted this to happen because no one else in DC was doing it. ANYONE can do this, y'all. Anyone!

    I just want to reiterate that I'm not trying to "save a music scene" or "connecting any dots"...I think that this thing has a lot of potential and so there you have it. I wish it was more deep than that, but it's not. I do believe that there are a lot of really great local bands here in DC and a lot of them want something to happen. Am I the guy to make that happen?!? No...not at all. I am NOT making ANYTHING happen. The bands that are playing the festivals are the ones making it happen, regardless if some are some hiccups along the way.

    Okay, that's it....continue to spread your love/hate for this festival.


    ps. @ piccardy third - thanks for backing me up but I am just a dude :)

  • Haiku Harry

    Good Intentions.

    Unorganized execution.

    Good shows? Yes Bad Shows? Yes

    One thing is that I think Dave Mann needs to understand the phrase "you are the company you keep". If you set up a show at a "venue" and was told by the "venue" that they would provide sound than someone without experience would go on that word.

    Someone with experience would make sure that that venue is going to have sound. Someone with experience would have an agreement with the "venue"/Ethiopian Restaurant who never throws shows stating what the venue is going to provide.

    If they don't provide the sound, yes Dave it is not your fault. But if you go tell the band that they will have sound and their is no sound than Dave it is your fault. That's why people have sponsorships/revenue streams/ticket sale projections... so that they have the money to pay for the sound.

    Dave, I mean this as constructive criticism. Organize. Have 5-10 "official" venues. Get sponsors. Hire sound. Hire Production.

    Then you can also set up unofficial shows as well. Right now your going to have a hard time getting sponsors because they want to see past work done right. They want someone representing their brand intelligently. Just like any investment people/business make.

    If you get a sponsor and the festival is a shit show. Your tying their brand to a shit show. Brands don't want this. Its not healthy for their PR.

    Slow your roll, dot your i's, cross your t's and start playing this game like a big boy.

  • Walking Zazen

    What a thread! Haters, lovers, jealousy, anger, accusation, defenders, antagonism all perpetrated by an effort to bring audience to original music? Whoa, god forbid anyone should be so foolish to think that bringing a few hundred bands together for an autumn weekend of creative expression would unearth such a shitstorm of negativity. Tyler or whomever you are, get some meds for that anger and leave the music and those who create it alone. Without a doubt STPP will be a fun opportunity for thousands of willing participants, there will be no regrets, no lasting scars or painful suffering required to make it so. In fact, there is a high likelihood that through the challenges of such a bold and contagious effort thousands of new friendships will ensue, new fans will find awe inspiring moments, alot of beer will be consumed and on Tuesday everyone will be back to the grindstone with some fond memories of a music filled adventurous weekend! Having already listened my way through most of the confirmed bands, I already know that it's going to be some great exercise to create and complete a personal map to enjoy the journey... So Tyler and clones please take your anger, criticisms and general negativity and have a long hard look in the mirror while the rest of us enjoy the ride!

  • confused for many reasons

    @ Harry

    I'm a friend of Dave's but don't worry, I'm not going to barrage you with reasons why I think he's awesome. I think the word "ambitious" sums him up, for better or for worse.

    But, I'd like to know, what venue(s) at last years festivals didn't have sound available for the bands? I attended both festivals and I don't remember a situation like that happening. If you are going to publicly accuse him of something, why not reference the name of the venue? Looking at a situation like that would surely piss off the 30 bands scheduled to play that venue over the weekend, no? I mean, not having sound at a venue for bands is like a HUGE mistake! That alone is going to cause a riot! So yeah, what venue lacked sound?

    @ Everyone

    Lastly, why is there dozens of comments on this thread that have absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of the story itself? Let's talk about the fact that fundraising is happening and it sounds like its something we could all get behind. If money is involved then it seems likely that bands will get paid and there will be money to make sure that venues are provided with what they need.

    So as much as we all (including his friends) think Dave might be doing too much, maybe we could all lend a hand to improve what is happening?

    Just my two cents.


  • Lash

    @Matt where/when is your band playing STPPFest and what's y'alls name? I was up in Baltimore this week playing Joe Squared, fun little venue. I'll try and get out to see your band, hopefully I'll have the chance. Thanks for the support and we're stoked that you're playing this year!


  • Matt

    @ Lash

    I was trying to avoid the personal plug, but since you asked:
    Balkan Falcon 10/7 @ Codmother 7pm

    Thanks! Glad to be a part of this!!!

  • Tyler

    First. I have no personal issue with Dave Mann. I don't even know him. All I had to go on was that profile of him last year in the City Paper, which was quite demeaning. It made me feel sorry for him.

    The reason I even responded to this article was the notion that local bands are only worthy of "exposure", which implies that the out of town bands will be bringing the crowds. Which we all know is bullshit. And yes, I have a bunch of friends in bands in DC, who were done dirty by Dave at at least one of his "festivals." At least one of them told me he reacted childishly when presented with constructive critique about past year's festivals. I will not mention those bands out of respect for my friends. They can speak for themselves. I'm simply a lover of DC music and feel like the local scene is being completely disrespected by STTP.

    Those of you who have responded negatively to me are clearly involved with the festival in some way so I'd expect you to call someone who is pointing out legitimate reasons why your festival has and will be a disaster a "hater." Are you kidding? Respond to my points instead of resorting to such childish retorts.

    1) Paying out of town bands and saying local bands should play for exposure is disrespectful to the local scene. Mann is hurting local music by treating local acts (my friends and the people I support) like shit. Without even enough respect to ensure basic stuff like sound is provided.

    2) In the past, the festival has been outrageously unorganized and incompetent. What has been done to correct that? For example, is there now a sound person at every venue?

    3) What has Dave Mann done with the money he has raised through various means? Has he secured sponsorships of any significance?

    Look, in the end, I only give a shit because I'm really tired of seeing the DC scene get the shaft by one overly ambitious person after another. Instead of focusing on the bands that make this town's music scene so rich, STTP has decided to put it's attention really bad out of town bands that have no following in the area. It's almost like an opportunity for Mann and STTP to showcase their favorite out of town bands (who also are not well known for a reason) to the audiences of DC bands. It's really bad form. I've been supporting this scene since I moved here 8 years ago. I plan on continuing to do that. I'm going to a few shows this weekend. If you are going to do it right then put on a festival. If you are going to do it half ass and with no clear organization prowess then just don't. You are doing more harm than good. Also, learn from other local folks like Trillectro who do it right. Folks who do a service to the DC music community not just promote their own undeserving egos.


  • confused for many reasons

    @ Tyler

    What are his "undeserving egos'? Is he getting paid thousands of dollars to put something like this on? Is he not putting any of his own time outside of his f/t job to make sure this festival is happening? Has he called this festival the "Dave Mann Show"? Is he sending out links to his various music projects to all of the bands as a means of exchanging shows with them in their home towns? Again, what are his "undeserving egos"???

    Also, have you not looked at the website ( as there are quite a few sponsors involved this year. Also, you mentioned that you read the article and you are basing that (and your friends crappy bands opinions on their experience) on who he is when in reality that article was written and put out a week before the 2nd festival happened. So yeah, of course that article seemed 'demeaning' because it have no foresight into how much better the 2nd festival would be nor the ones following that.

    "....I'm simply a lover of DC music and feel like the local scene is being completely disrespected by STTP."

    Why does this festival have to be about the local music scene anyway? Is SXSW about the Austin local music scene or is CMJ all about the local NYC scene? You continue to raise very foolish and ignorant points and you do this repeatedly without investigating anything at all post-the article from last year...again, that was written prior to the 2nd festival.

    PS. Your friends bands are in crappy because you don't have any friends in any of the local bands. You are obviously trolling this thread to make someone look bad. If you want to respect your friends bands, then let us know who they are....if they really cared half as much as you do (and they should, because they are the ones who were "screwed"...not YOU) then they should respect themselves enough to leave comments on this thread saying something like...

    "Hey guys, this is so-and-so from (insert band name here) and here's the situation that Dave put us in...etc.

    Quit trollin' loser.

  • confused for many reasons

    Oh, speaking of "crappy out-of-town bands"...

    I think many people would disagree after hearing some of the bands below that have been announced on the stppfest facebook page (just figured i'd copy and paste some links that have been posted on that page)


  • confused for many reasons

    I love Google! I just wanted to see how "crappy" these bands were and I just found out that Wayne (The Flaming Lips) really digs this deerpeople band.

    I always figured he was into really "crappy bands".


  • Mike


    No offense man, don't take my words to heart but you are being a dick.

    However, with that being said, I do like the fact that it seems like you have a lot of constructive criticism for the festival. Would you be willing to shoot it to them or post it here for @DM?

    I get where your coming from and I've read every comment on this thread so at this point all I can ask is, everyone that has any criticism and a fix to go with it, list it!

    This isn't the Republican convention and you should just be talking shit without real suggestions on improving the issues you have with STPPFest. So I'll start off with my list.

    1. Do a PR release
    2. Have all of your volunteers start tweeting out information, REQUIRE IT FROM THEM
    3. Reach out to every single local media organization immediately for coverage
    4. Give all of the profit, if any is even made, back to the bands
    5. Ask for a ton of feedback and criticism and help

    Tyler, you go next, maybe even jump on to volunteer with them because they are looking for volunteers according to the site.

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