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The Most Riotous Music Festival of the Year Will Be Hosted by None Other Than John Waters

John Waters comic art, highlighting what he loves about his punk festival Mosswood Meltdown.

Normally, I speed through ads on Instagram with the callous aggression of a household tabby. I don’t need anti-aging cream, thanks, I like looking like a person who’s lived in the world. But what I do need is “the future liberals want”: perversion, debauchery, and femmes who scream.

And I got all that in the one single ad that managed to catch my attention: a poster for Mosswood Meltdown, a riot grrrl fest hosted by none other than Captain Nasty himself, John Waters.

Oh my god!!! The more I looked at this poster, the more I felt the Happy Cells in my brain start kicking their heels and dancing. For anyone anywhere near my kind of wheelhouse, this is the penultimate festival to attend.

First of all, those first two headliners … wowowow. Le Tigre, fronted by Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, is one of the main figureheads of the modern riot grrrl scene, and they’ve got all the bombastics of Hanna’s rage combined with some really clever mixing. Observe, for reference, one of my all-time favorite songs that I have yet to get sick of:

Then there’s Bratmobile, one of the most important bands during riot grrrl’s heyday. With stripped-down vocals and instrumentality that seems to have inspired modern acts, like Girlpool, Bratmobile sang about how busted punk scenes in their area were. Who cares about how cool you are, or how you dress, when you don’t even know how to properly talk to girls?

Songs like “Cool Schmool” and “Gimme Brains” oughta be reintroduced to the modern teenage vocabulary, they did wonders to my self-esteem back in the day.

As for the rest of the lineup, I’ll be completely honest, in the last couple of years working and grinding in the COVID era I’ve lost my cred, so I’m excited for a chance to regain it. I saw people getting excited for Gravy Train!!! in particular, and seeing as they’re Oakland natives who’ve already toured with Le Tigre and Bratmobile, I’m looking forward to seeing them on their home turf.

Of course, we have to take a moment to thank mother for organizing and hosting this event. John Waters has been hosting Mosswood for a couple years now, on top of other “Meltdown” festivals, and he has this to say about it:

Mosswood Meltdown is like a July 4th musical pyrotechnic display that explodes all on its own with slamming human cherry bombs, moshing punk-rock roman candles and scary screaming sparklers of every race and gender. These are my people and I can’t wait to light the fuse on stage.

John Waters

Fuck yeah. I can’t wait to be with our people again.

In the meantime, I’m gonna treat this lineup like homework and reacquaint myself with The Scene. What I love is that, while the lineup seems like it’ll be mostly punk and riot grrrl type bands, they’ve also got groups like 80s hip-hop trio J.J. Fad. It’ll be a really fun, eclectic mix, with even more to be announced.

(Featured Image: via Mosswood Meltdown)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.