The resurrection of Furnace Fest was supposed to happen last year, in 2020. COVID19 changed that. In a way, it worked out better for me because I was able to go. If this pandemic hadn't happened, we would have traveled to Russia in the spring of 2020 and I don't see how we could have worked it out to go to Furnace Fest. When it got rescheduled, and travel out of the USA continued to be restricted, I decided to get a ticket. Elphie planned to stay in the hotel room. We ended up planning a southern road trip around the festival and it worked out to visit with quite a few friends as well and visiting five more states I had not yet visited. I am making this blog live now while I am working on the project still. I am posting the festival video footage now but the rest of the project may come later.
Furnace Fest XXI Promo
This promo is one that I made somewhat quickly and probably could have done a whole lot better. I captured some old Furnace Fest footage from YouTube of Norma Jean and Andrew WK...both clips that really made me want to go to experience Furnace Fest so I felt compelled to include them in the promo. I manipulated the footage a bit using both the Bad TV and Bad Film effects along with sepia tone to give it an old look. I doubled up on the Bad Film effect to make it even more degraded. I added clips from the present day from Norma Jean, Zao, Beloved, and Killswitch Engage. I used the logo from Furnace Fest XXI as well as the black and white and colored drawn maps. I used Bad TV effect as transitions between clips as well. I also included a couple clips from my arrival at the fest, the food court and merch area under the overpass and the fountain along with those music clips. Most of the editing I did using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini but the image files I used Motion 4 to make them zoom in. The soundtrack ended up just being the audio from the live tracks.
For each of the videos I captured, I decided I wanted to try something different as an intro clip. Instead of typing out information as I usually do, I decided to take the schedule and zoom into each artist using Motion 4. The effect didn't quite turn out as well as I would have liked. I added a text file which reads "filmed and edited by Joel A. Swanson" and "aTigerRAWkFilm" that is included with the artist intro clips.
Furnace Fest XXI Video Playlist
Furnace Fest XXI Video Playlist
This is a link to the full Furnace Fest XXI playlist. Each video and more description below.
After exploring a bit in Birmingham with Elphie, I headed to Iron City to catch what was left of the Official Furnace Fest XXI Pre-Show. I missed the first few bands. but made it in time for Remembering Never and Norma Jean. Both were not playing the festival which is why I chose that event and thankfully was able to get in. I captured a clip from each band. I also happened to find Bryan Gray! I ended up standing near him just by chance ha! It was a good show. I captured the partial performance of "The End Of All Things Will Be Televised" by Norma Jean and it seemed appropriate enough. After it was over, I went over to Saturn for the Emo Night DJ set from Josh Head and captured some footage of that while there of Josh spinning "Reinventing Your Exit" by Underoath. I also captured Brandon Ebel enjoying himself while there. Both were fun events. I thought I might find a few other friends along the way but I didn't end up connecting with anyone else. I went back to the hotel, moved as much stuff off my phone as I could in preparation for needing it at the festival the next day then went to bed around 2am.
Remembering Never LIVE during the Furnace Fest XXI Pre-Show @ Iron City (09.23.2021)
"The End Of All Things Will Be Televised" by Norma Jean LIVE during the Furnace Fest XXI Pre-Show @ Iron City (09.23.2021)
DJ Josh Head spinning "Reinventing Your Exit" by Underoath during Labeled Fest's Emo Night (a pre-show for Furnace Fest XXI) @ Saturn (09.23.2021)
I woke up, showered, drank a bit of coffee while eating breakfast then promptly ate a sandwich for lunch. I guess I figured I would load up on food before entering the festival since one was not permitted to bring in outside food or drink. I latched a water bottle to my belt then headed out to the festival. It turned out we had more festival neighbors! I think there were probably several others but both rooms on either side of us had festival attendees. I walked to Sloss Furnaces where the festival was taking place. As I went I saw a funny sign that read "we love Fridays like Kanye loves Kanye." I figured perhaps because it was Friday it was up for that reason but I noticed it again on Saturday. The walk was a little more than 2 miles. There were several people warning about the walk being dangerous and about "aggressive" homeless folks but it wasn't a bad walk. It was mostly flat. I chose to take the overpass and walk through the ditch into the parking lot across the street rather than take another road with a potential wait on a train or go down a treacherous staircase...other folks apparently felt brave enough to do that...not me. I included some of the promo video in the clips I captured on my way to the festival. I arrived and got in without much issue or incident. For as many people as were there and were coming, it was quite an efficient entry process. I didn't even get searched! The security guy seemed offended that I even submitted to the process ha! Once I got in, I headed to one of the UnoriginalVinyl scavenger hunt spots I spotted from the overpass. I also checked out the food options and other merch. I got lucky in that Jesse Hawley had the phone number of one of the guys behind UnoriginalVinyl so I was able to go with him and get my hands on one of the first copies of Norma Jean's "Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child." I ran into a couple other folks I knew as well.
I decided to head over to the Plug Your Holes stage and watch some of Across Five Aprils. Plug Your Holes stage was in a shed...it ended up being the spot I was at most of the festival. I wandered around a bit more then came back for the Narcissus set. I left after the set then realized it was where I wanted to be for the next set, As Cities Burn. It was a struggle to get anywhere that I could see well for this set. I had a pretty good spot during Narcissus. I captured "Terrible! How Terrible For The Great City."
Across Five Aprilshttps://youtu.be/DFPU9ODwAO8
"Terrible! How Terrible For The Great City!" by As Cities Burnhttps://youtu.be/C3yuXJsMbwk
I ended up leaving a bit early so I could see Silent Planet at the Level X stage and captured "Native Blood." I decided to capture the "no mosh" warning sign...I found it funny. I wandered over to the heartsupport stage to see some of Unwed Sailor's set. I noticed a turtle in the fountain pond as I headed over to the Plug Your Holes stage to see Few Left Standing. After they finished, I went back to Level X stage for the last half of Emery and captured "Walls."
"Native Blood" by Silent Planethttps://youtu.be/JPgH5xKoFZw
Few Left Standing
"Walls" by Emery
"Walls" by Emery
I decided that this was a good time to get dinner. I got in line for a truck that advertised a stuffed grilled cheese. It was stuffed with shrimp and crab. the truck was called Simone's Kitchen ATL. I saw Sean Huncherick and talked with him for a brief moment. When I got near the front of the line, I was informed that they were out of the stuffed grilled cheese. I ended up getting pizza instead from the Pazzo truck. While I ate the pizza, I realized I didn't have a way to connect my phone to the portable power supply I brought. I had 20% battery left and the entire evening to get through. I took measures to conserve power including going into airplane mode. I went to see Terror at Level X stage after finishing my pizza. I caught "Minute Man" by Stavesacre at heartsupport stage then watched Zao at Plug Your Holes stage.
"Stick Tight" by Terrorhttps://youtu.be/zOdndVuVV9E
"Minuteman" by Stavesacrehttps://youtu.be/57v3Wb8H0i8
I went back over to heartsupport stage, capturing the fountain which had been turned on along the way. I captured "A Day And A Thousand Years" from Walls of Jericho. I went back into Plug Your Holes stage to see some of Converge then went to Level X for the rest of the evening to see Underoath, capturing "Breathing In A New Mentality." At this point I was down to 3% and had captured at least a clip from each band I watched! That was the goal so I was pretty pleased with the result!
"A Day And A Thousand Years" by Walls Of Jerichohttps://youtu.be/xyhAVHxg9To
"Breathing In A New Mentality" by Underoath
As the festival closed for the night, I captured the people leaving along with the Sloss water tower. I captured some shots as I walked back to the hotel as well including city lights, a train passing by, and a colorful lit bridge. I somehow managed to keep the phone from dying! I made it back to the hotel with 1%! I moved the footage from the day onto a hard drive and made a social media post of photos from the day before going to sleep. I discovered I had a cut my leg somehow. My body was definitely tired from standing and in need of the rest.
Waking up, I essentially repeated the process of the day before...showering, eating breakfast and lunch and caffeinating. I broke a belt loop I had used for the water bottle so I had to figure out a new placement for it. I walked again to the Sloss Furnaces. Once on the grounds I got some similar shots entering again with clips from the bands playing as I went by on the overpass. I found that the UnoriginalVinyl scavenger hunt was He Is Legend's "I Am Hollywood" but I didn't get insider tips this time. Others who were seeking the previous day were less interested. I ran into Justin Filizola as he waited in the Beloved merch line. Later, after he got his merch we were talking then ran into Sean Huncherick and checked the status of his pit injured wrist. Next, I ran into Chris Smith from the Ollie Mob, Audiofeed, and Grand Rapids Michigan as he waited in the very long merch line for Stretch Arm Strong. We chatted a few minutes and he told me how he scored a great deal on a VIP pass. We both wanted to see Evergreen Terrace so we both made our way to Plug Your Holes stage...he by way of the VIP entrance and I through the regular way. I found the UnoriginalVinyl folks had set up behind Plug Your Holes stage so I watched a couple songs from Evergreen Terrace then got in the line expecting to be waiting quite a long time. Tim, the guy who I bought the vinyl from the day before came to the back of the line and allowed me and a couple other folks to get our copies! I was then free to wander!
"Gerald Did What?" by Evergreen Terracehttps://youtu.be/RKtxn4dQJPs
I decided to go to the food truck and get my stuffed grilled cheese from Simone's Kitchen ATL even though it was early and I wasn't hungry at all. I just didn't want to miss out on it! It was great! I ended up holding it for an hour but gave in and ate it, hoping I'd not feel extremely hungry later. Thankfully I didn't! I watched He Is Legend play at Level X stage, capturing "The Seduction.""The Seduction" by He Is Legend
I returned to the Plug Your Holes stage where I would remain much of the afternoon. I saw Hopesfall, Shai Hulud, and Living Sacrifice capturing "Reborn Empowered" before taking a risk of losing a good viewing spot to see a little bit of Mae's performance on Level X stage. I captured "Ocean."
"The Bending" by Hopesfallhttps://youtu.be/P9EWOxpf0u8
"Set Your Body Ablaze" by Shai Huludhttps://youtu.be/aWtf3kIzs0M
"Reborn Empowered" by Living Sacrifice
"Ocean" by Mae
I made it back to the Plug Your Holes stage as Deafheaven was getting started. I was able to maneuver back to where I had been earlier which was as good of a viewing spot as anywhere. I debated trying to get a spot on the walls but glad I didn't. As Beloved set up, it was said that the walls were unsafe to stand on and if people didn't get down the show would be shut down."From The Kettle Onto The Coil" by Deafheaven
Before Beloved played, a couple of the festival organizers spoke briefly, including Chad Johnson. I captured Chad's speech and prayer and included it in the video of Beloved's set. Because this was one of the longest inactive bands that I knew of playing the festival, I decided I wanted to capture the full set as best as I could using an iPhone. It's not the best but I did capture it! I hope I wasn't too annoying to the people behind me also trying to see. I stuck around and captured a song from Stretch Arm Strong and watched a good part of their set.Chad Johnson's speech and prayer then the full set by Beloved
I went over to heartsupport stage for the first time all day to see the end of Mineral's set. It was interesting. Some of the people seemed to be glaring toward the Plug Your Holes stage since it was so loud and had hardcore going on while Mineral played more quite emo music. Further Seems Forever ended the evening on heartsupport stage and I captured "Pride War" as well as a special surprise Strongarm performance with Joe Musten on vocals doing "Advent Of A Miracle." I thought I saw some friends, the Durbin's in the crowd but didn't get to connect with them, unfortunately."Palisades" by Mineral
"Advent Of A Miracle" by Strongarm (Further Seems Forever with Joe Musten of Beloved/Advent)
"Advent Of A Miracle" by Strongarm (Further Seems Forever with Joe Musten of Beloved/Advent)
I went to see a little bit of Glassjaw as they were finishing up then did the same with Taking Back Sunday but I didn't capture any video of that. I began to walk back to the hotel. I captured some footage of the people crazy enough to use the treacherous stairs with no railing up to the overpass. As I reached the area where the stairs exit to the overpass, a couple was climbing over the barrier. I waited to give them room then walked behind them. Their friend who had apparently made it up a while before them decided to do a dance and flash them...inadvertently also flashing me. That was certainly unexpected. No, it was not captured on video. I did a slightly different route back to the hotel trying to find food options for Elphie. It was near a park where I encountered the only homeless person who asked me for anything. I once again moved the footage off of my phone to a hard drive and made my social media posts for the day before going to sleep to rest up for the final day.
I more or less repeated my ritual of the previous two days...shower, caffiene, food. As I came down to begin my walk, the neighboring festival attendees offered a spot in their Uber. I offered to pay them something but they declined. It was nice to not have to walk. Once on sight, I confirmed that the rumors were true, the UnoriginalVinyl of the day was The Chariot's Wars And Rumors Of Wars. I met with Chris Smith and hung out with him for a bit then wandered around to see if I could find the UnoriginalVinyl guy again before he got set up behind Plug Your Holes stage. I decided to just get in line which was going into the Plug Your Holes stage. I captured footage of Holy+Gold while waiting. The line was maneuvered around a bit and so I watched Be Well while in line as well. I ended up meeting some RAD people while waiting in line...which was maneuvered again outside of the shed and down the steps preventing me from seeing the band playing. I only ended up missing one band though! I was able to purchase and complete my Furnace Fest vinyl collection!
I went over to the heartsupport stage and watched Bad Cop Bad Cop. This was the first punk band I got to see! I returned to Plug Your Holes stage and got to the spot I had been in the previous days to see Comeback Kid, Bury Your Dead, and Unearth.Bad Cop, Bad Cop
"Wayfarer" by Hot Water Music
Bury Your Deadhttps://youtu.be/KwgkQcpEnmU
I left to go see Face To Face on the Level X stage and watched the rest of their set. I then went to heartsupport stage again to see some of the Showbread set before returning to Level X stage to see some of the Hot Water Music set. It was time to find some dinner and so I looked for who had the shortest lines and what they were serving. I settled on "F-ing Great Tacos" from Tuff Love and they were quite good! Justin Filizola came by looking for what would be his dinner as well.
"No Authority" by Face To Facehttps://youtu.be/xnuaiez_WLo
"And The Smokers And Children Shall Be Cast Down" by Showbreadhttps://youtu.be/j_uSqzPejMc
"Wayfarer" by Hot Water Music
I made my way over to heartsupport stage and tried to get a better viewing spot that I previously had while at the stage. I settled for being next to the sound booth and I think it worked out alright. The Juliana Theory was playing through Emotion Is Dead in its entirety (though they did move one song out of order) and I captured "To The Tune Of 5,000 Screaming Children." I did watch the whole set but ended up moving due to the need to use a port-a-potty about half way through the set."To The Tune Of 5,000 Screaming Children" by Juliana Theory
I wanted to catch some of Knocked Loose due to all the talk about them but their set ended before I got over to Plug Your Holes stage possibly due to unruly activity, ha! I went to Level X stage instead and saw the last couple songs of August Burns Red. Though I had already seen it on social media, there was a sign announcing that the festival is planning to happen again next year!August Burns Red
I came back over to Plug Your Holes stage to see Turnstile and again it was packed so I hung around outside the area for a bit. Later in the set, it seemed people had left so I made my way into where I could see somewhat and captured some footage. I ran into Justin Filizola again for a minute after where he declared that Turnstile is the future of hardcore.Turnstile
I decided to go back over to Level X Stage to see the final set of the festival with Killswitch Engage. I captured the last song, "In Due Time" as well as the sign about the festival being back next year. I also captured the mass exodus of people again. I wandered around a bit then ran into Jonathan Magee who I met during the Electric Jesus screening in Chicago. He's from Georgia. I saw him briefly on the first day and throughout the fest. We talked a little bit then I was about to begin walking back after another restroom break and he offered a ride to the hotel!"In Due Time" by Killswitch Engage
Back at the hotel, Elphie thought I was bringing a party back with me. She waited outside the room. Sorry, Elphie! I once again moved footage off my phone into the hard drive and made my social media posts before resting up for the return to the road.
Footage filmed using an iPhone 8. Titles and other animations created using Motion 4 on a Macbook. Edited using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini. Filmed & edited by Joel A. Swanson